Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Shining Some Light
It's no secret that I think that we have come into some pretty dark times. We have a new administration that seems to be using the Nazi playbook. In just a couple of weeks, orders and bans have come down from on high that make no sense at all to any right-thinking American. The defenders of the new regime call those of us who are concerned "snowflakes" and worse. And I won't lie; I have been hideously depressed, all the while on hold for my senator's voice mail, but hideously depressed nonetheless. It has been enough to affect my health, which has suffered a rapid and surprising decline. There are days when it's all I can do to go about my normal business.
One aspect of that "normal business" is what I do on Thursday mornings. Y'see, new comics are published and available every Wednesday. I give the hustle and mayhem of New Comics Day a miss, and instead I pick up my books on the following day, Thursday. There are less people in the store and a better chance of a nice conversation with the person or persons behind the counter, most of whom I am proud to call my friends.
I'm blessed in that I am able to really indulge my comic book habit. I usually leave with a good-sized stack, and sometimes I don't get through them all before the next Thursday. That happened to me this past week. Now like any collector/reader of comics, there are favorite books that I have to read right away (hello, Walking Dead!) and there are some that I save for the "right moment" (whatever that might mean.) Two that I usually save for later are Green Lanterns and Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. This past week the latter title, issue #13, really saved me. As Green Lantern so often has throughout my life.
I don't know when it was written, or if it was put together as a subtle response to the election, or if it was just fortunate happenstance. The story is called "Heroes" and it was written by Robert Venditti. It's on newsstands now, if you're interested.
At first I thought it was just what comics readers know as a "fill-in" issue. It doesn't advance the current storyline, and it stands alone as a story -- in short, it fills in a gap while the regular creators get caught up with their work. There is one quote from the issue that really got me:
" The evils of the universe are many. Threats old and forgotten worm their way back. Threats new and fearsome arise and stake their claim.... Evil occurs, and it's evil things that do it. They want you to be afraid there are too many of them. That there is more evil than good. Many people think that way. Because fear is easy. It's instinctual. You don't have to think about fear.
"I could've done what was easy...lived the rest of my life afraid. Instead...I made the far more difficult decision. I pushed my fears away.
"It's called will. Will isn't instinctual. It's never easy. But will chases away fear and rage and greed. It inspires. Illuminates. Shines through the dark where evil things hide. But will needs help. You have to choose it.
"Keep it your hearts and evil can never win. You can be a hero."
Nothing has given me as much comfort since this whole nightmare began as this little graphic story has. Not even knowing that we tightened our belts here at home as much as we could to donate to refugee and ACLU and NAACP causes.
We can all be heroes.
But we're going to have to choose to make it so.