Many people tend to see comic books and superheroes as geeky or a waste of time and something that isn’t as valuable as any other hobby or interest. Pulling a Kayne West, I’m gonna have to interrupt those people and pull out my big ole’ BS meter. Exclusive thinking like that actually shuts off entire groups of people, interests and relationships. Not only are comic books good for the children’s learning (see here), they can enhance and create relationships between people.
During the last few weeks, my husband and I have had some major life stressors so we’ve been doing what we usually do to de-stress and relax, watch our favorite shows together, one of which happens to be the DC comic-book inspired Arrow. It might have been the two consecutive weekends at conventions (ECCC and Sakura-Con) but I had the urge to be a bit creative while we were watching and turned him into a comic book hero, the Blue Arrow.
The show that inspired this photo is one my husband started watching a few years ago as his interest in comic book to TV show titles started to happen. To be honest, I wasn’t interested at the beginning and couldn’t understand why people would want to watch it, especially when most shows of this nature couldn’t even pass the Bechdel Test. But, like anyone who resides in a small apartment knows, there are times you will catch a glimpse of whatever TV show, movie or video game your roommates or partners are involved with.
I would occasionally see what was happening on screen but it wasn’t until an episode in the third season entitled The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak (S3, E5) that I really got into the storyline and the characters, I mean who wouldn’t love an episode that starts out with a goth Emily Bett Rickards totally kicking ass in coding and hacking?
After that episode (which I actually saw three times in one week), I binged watched the entire show in about two weeks so I could catch up with what was happening. I couldn’t believe how excited I was getting over a comic book vigilante hero.
Knowing that my husband and I could share such nerdy interests without feeling ashamed helped us to appreciate each others hobbies more.
After realizing that I really enjoyed these shows, as did my husband, I had an epiphany. Why wasn’t I actively getting involved with these shows, movies, books and more with him? If it made us both so individually happy and excited, think of how geeked out we could get together if I started to engage him in one of his favorite pastimes. What other parts of our marriage was I missing because I simply didn’t get his interests or thought they they might be ‘silly’? And this is how it all started. From there we enjoy shows like The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, and Gotham — all of which are based off comic book characters.
During our nerd-out TV nights we often have conversations about what the characters are doing, why they are doing and perhaps what we would have done differently if we were in their shoes — learning more about each other. In addition to just watching the shows, we’ve jumped in headfirst to the comic book and graphic novel world. Even though we have different tastes in artwork and writing, we’ll often swap books so that we can share our favorites with each other.
One of our favorites is a newer series, and more independent than most comic books you will come across called Saga written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Without giving away too much of the plot, Saga is the story of two star-crossed (literally, it is set in space) lovers dealing with war, drama, marriage, children, politics and family while trying to live as normal of a life that they can together. Sounds pretty much like what most people (sans war) have to deal with everyday, right?
Comic books aren’t just for kids anymore, and adults can like superheroes. We shouldn’t exclude an interest or hobby just just because it seems less important than what our culture generally deems ‘important’. Take that risk, be a superhero to your partner and see what sort of comic books and superpowers they are. Tweet me @radicalgeekery with the hashtag #comicbookcouples