Okay, okay - I promise this will be the last super hero comic book fangirl post.
This week.

Since this week's Coffee Chat Topic does concern the concept of "fandom;" I thought I would take a moment and try to explain exactly what this comic book/super hero fascination I have really is about.  It's more than just fangirling over buff actors and the love of a perfectly choreographed fight or stunt scene.

Also, "fandom" can cover a wide basis of genres.  Maybe you prefer Shakespearean insults.  I guarantee if you look hard enough you will find other like minded souls.  Maybe it's all the various incarnations of Law and Order, or Hospital related shows that have you transfixed.  Got news for ya: that's a fandom.  Of course, the degree to which you participate within that fandom will determine whether you're simply a Fan... or trip over into obsessive fanatic.   I promise you, I am not crazy.   I just like to play.

Grab your coffee.  Spare me a few moments, and I'll try to explain.
It's a love story.  Honest.

Time out for Mom

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

I will be seeing the latest Captain America movie this week. 
What movie are you looking forward to this summer?  
Do you consider yourself part of a particular "fandom?"

I wish to go back to the purity of falling in love with a story and its characters.  Back to the time when I sat in a tree fort, flipping the pages of the dog eared worn comic book, while my friends sat in similar poses on various branches.   How we laughed and exclaimed over the vibrant images on the pages; ink staining our fingertips.  A new story to act out!!   The entire backyard a setting only limited by our imaginations.   The tree fort could be a helicarrier.    The ditch by the train tracks a mud soaked battlefield trench.  Pick a story and make it come to life.   Then we would jump down from our lofty perch and as my feet touched the ground:   I am Scarlet Witch!

And three of my friends - boys - would fall prone onto the ground, writhing in imagined pain from the hexes I fired at them.   THIS is a good game, I think.  We are going to play this a lot.   Imagine the effect on a young girls mind and self image?

It didn’t matter that I didn’t look like Wanda.  I had no fancy red costume.  My hands did not actually manipulate mass or energy.   At 8 years old, I didn’t have massive breasts like her comic depiction.   I cared not.   Three boys lay prone at my feet - at my mercy; and in that moment I was unaware of “female representation/objectification.”   Maybe it wasn’t perfect.   But I was there.

I still got to play. 

Now, I sit in a packed movie theatre and watch the heroes I played as a young girl, with grass stained knees and an old towel my only costume, come to life on a giant screen in all their glory.   And there it is - before your very eyes and you’re transported back to another time and place: 

From panel… to screen.   Your childhood just came to life.

Is it perfect now?  No.  Is anything?  Time and newer experiences have shaped and sculpted your thoughts.  Maybe you see certain things a little differently with your new eyes.  Question other things with your expanded knowledge of the world.   Life is not so simple, or safe, as spending afternoons in tree limbs.   But you glance over at the wide eyed, open mouthed intent faces of your children… it’s the first for them.   They have no comparison to inked panels or Patriot Acts - only this larger than life spectacle unfolding in sound and fury before them.  And they are transfixed.   The smiles split their faces.   They cheer the hero and boo the bad guy: some things are just elementary.   You watch as their tender young hearts shift when they see maybe the bad guy, isn’t such a bad guy after all.  Seem them wince when the one you should trust, reveals another side.   They get it.  A first lesson learned.

And then you go home, fresh from the experience, dissecting it all in your grown up brain.  What was good; what could have better?   Meanwhile, your two daughters and son are running around the house playing “Winter Soldier.”  Your daughters are chasing their older brother - one minute they might be Black Widow and Sharon Carter…. but then they transform to Falcon and Hawkeye; swiping their brothers toy bow and arrow set as they run on by.   There is no discussion about gender roles or what’s “canon.”  The play happens fast on the fly and your only job is to keep up.   My son’s stern voice carries over their shrill laughter and screams  “  I recognize the council has made a decision, but given that it’s a stupid-ass decision, I’ve elected to ignore it.”  

Me - um, language!!   (yeah, that happened.)

My son is white and this does not occur to him as he raises himself a few inches taller and becomes Nick Fury.   My daughter with arms spread wide to swoop around the backyard, jumping off the picnic table and climbing onto the toy house only wants to fly like Falcon.  There are no rules of representation in the backyard.   And I remember the truth of long ago:  We All Get To Play. 

 And just like that, even in all it’s imperfections and a hundred ways I think I can make it better.  Bend it to my own new experiences and learning; make it more my own, the truth hits:  It’s not MY Own. It’s for all of us.  Did I really see any part of me in Scarlet Witch or Black Widow all those years ago?  Probably not.  I just played the part I saw on the pages.  And now I watch it come to life on screen, and I can’t help but be grateful that even though it’s not just For me, or accurately me; it’s still so very much a part of me.   Woven into the fabric of the women I have become.  Not exactly a true mirror, but I still see myself through the cracks.  And it’s enough.  I loved it then, and I love it still.

As I grab my daughter’s Captain America shield and dash into the backyard, yelling “who’s Bucky” to my delighted children; I never have been more aware of the importance of first loves.  Even though they may shift and bend over the years, truths revealed when the age of awareness strikes:  if you hold tight to them - remember them in the purity of those first experiences; they stick with you.  And if you’re really, really lucky, you get to pass that legacy forward, and share them with the ones you love most.  Together you jump into the narrative, choose your adventure, and let imagination take you away.  Time and will slip away, and in the moment all that matters is that you still get to play

Honestly, I could do this all day. 

Sassy Steve Rogers has always been my aesthetic.

Is there a movie you are looking forward to seeing?   Or share something that you have been passionate about since you were young.  Others do not have to share your interest, for it to be important or valid.  As long as it inspires you, that's what matters.  There is inspiration in seeing someone get excited about something they love - so feel free to share Anything.

Next Week:  It's my birthday next weekend - I will be camping with Girl Guides.  What is your perfect "this is how I spoil myself" birthday plan?

There is so much to be thankful for every single day.
Taking the time to notice and then reflect on the things that we are grateful for,  not only brings you more positive emotions; but to those around you also.

Some days, I still need this reminder.
To just simply say thanks.  

The benefits are endless: you sleep better, you feel more energetic - Alive even!  It's easier to show kindness and compassion towards others.  It can even boost your immune system.
I am convinced living this as my daily practice is one of the main reasons I have not been terribly sick this past winter.

It just really increases your overall life satisfaction - trust me on this.
Believe me, I know all too well how negative and horrible the world can be.  I send my Left Brain out to battle those monsters every day.

And every day he returns home, is far more than gratitude for his safety.  So much more than a sigh of relief.   Though it's easy to forget the possible danger some days.  I still say a prayer of thanks; though how do you adequately thank someone who literally places the value of your life; above their own?

Do you know anyone who would put themselves in harms way - to save you?

Today is the Ontario Police Memorial Ceremony/March in Toronto, Ontario, where Left Brain has joined many other officers to remember their fallen comrades.    Please keep in mind today that there is a PERSON behind the badge.  A son, a husband, a father who just wants to make the world a little better for those he loves too.   I know there are those who bring dishonour: let's not think of those today, but of the ones who make the greatest sacrifice of all - for us.

Yeah, I do love my heroes.
I really have a knack for choosing well.    I can't contain myself sometimes, and had to tweet my side out like a good little bird.

But I really like it when they say thanks for being on their team too!

Be still my little fangirl heart!!  Thanks Chris.   It's my genuine pleasure.
Maybe we can't all be heroes.  Maybe I am a hero -- somewhere inside.

Maybe I was simply called to love a hero.
But at the very least, we call can stand on the curb and clap our thanks as they march by.

 #OneGoodThing is the amazing idea of a weekly link up celebrating the beauty and good that we take the time to notice, hosted by Suzi from Boca Frau.   I will be joining her each week on Mondays.  (Claudia from ImagesbyCW is currently on a break.) I hope you will join us here each week, or daily on your Instagram/Twitter//Facebook with a photo, a poem, a story, an inspiring quote: whatever good you find in your day - we want to share it with you.

OneGoodThing @ Ink <br>Interrupted

Forgive me.
It's been many weeks since my last fangirling post.
I know exactly what I do.

It's just that there comes a time in life when you can no longer stand back and watch the world burn.
You must choose a side.

Yes, the movie Captain America Civil War opens in a week time -- don't pretend y'all didn't know this was coming.
Yes, my tickets are already purchased and my Captain America shield t-shirt washed and ready to represent.
No - I won't be going in full cosplay.    I do have a limit.   Honest.

Is choosing a side hard?  I mean, just look at these two precious dorks having a thumb war.
How could you not love them?

Even their Lego persona's are adorable.

 Full marks for Marvel PR/Marketing campaign. 

Charismatic actors and their brick persona's aside, the heart of the matter at the core of Civil War is an important issue that has very modern implications.    What is the price of Freedom, and how far are we willing to go to protect it?  Who will pay the ultimate cost to ensure it's remains safely intact for the rest of us?

Well if you have read the Civil War comic, you know that Tony Stark, aka IronMan, descends into complete basement levels of asshat douchery.   The film is not likely to paint in him in such a negative light; given the fact that the entire success of the Marvel movie franchise is largely due to Robert Downey Jr. being the fan favourite.  I mean just look at the cool red suit and all the fun gadgets Tony has!!  (um yeah, but he built a murder bot with those?) These movies simply would not be happening if not for the overwhelming smash success of the Iron Man one that came first.   I mean, Iron Man just looks so cool, amiright?

Whereas Captain Steven Rogers Grant, aka Captain America, is typically viewed as boring, vanilla hero dripping in all his patriotism and righteousness.   But thanks, in large part, to the extreme likeability (not to mention the smoking hot factor) of one Chris Evans perfectly portraying the very capable Captain; the tides of fandom loyalty have turned.

Marvel Civil War is about the Super Hero Registration Act:
a legislative bill which was passed into law, enforcing the mandatory registration of super-powered individuals with the government.  The destruction of several cities during battles waged between Earths' Mightiest Heroes and their foes; coupled with the emergence of the so called "mutant" powered; struck fear in the hearts of the people our heroes had pledged to protect.   Not to mention the governments of the world being afraid these super humans would/could turn all their powers against the established authority.   The Act would allow the powers that be to monitor all such individuals, who ultimately after much testing would be licensed to use their respective powers.  (Um, meaning none basically and also let's imprison or kill the most threatening ones.)

Thanks to September 11th, the United States of America now has the Patriot Act of 2001; which gives the President authority to use all tools necessary to thwart, intersect and obstruct Terrorism.   Yes, that does mean they have deemed it acceptable American citizens give up certain aspects of their freedom, in order to live in a secure, safe society.

Don't tell me comic books are not relevant -- fight me on this. 
We constantly live in a state of Freedom vs. Security these days.  It may not be an argument of who is right and who is wrong; it all depends on your personal point of view.

Captain America knows a thing or two about justice, truth and the American Way.  Except his is not simply an American tradition, but freedom for all.   He just hates bullies - no matter where they come from.  Cap thinks globally because he is from a different time where World War and murderous dictators that sought to cleanse the world of those who were different, were a Reality.    Captain America always acts selflessly, putting his life on the line for others time and time again.
Tony.... well, Tony Stark serves himself.  Mostly.   He may say he wants to protect the world, but due to his large ego, it will always swing back to his own interests.  Plus, there is that "my father loved you more" jealousy angle too.

Anyway, so that's a rough synopsis from my point of view as a comic reader.   The movie certainly will play out differently, as the friendship between Cap and his long time childhood friend (spoiler alert!!!)  James "Bucky" Barnes who was revealed in The Winter Soldier to in fact be alive.... and somewhat well.  Not really.   He's danger.   Unless, Cap can help him remember who he really is.  This seems to be the catalyst for the conflict between Tony and Steve in the movie version.

Still with me?
I don't want to give too much away about the Comic story line, and I can only speculate on the direction the movie will follow.   But those of you who have read the comic, you know a Big Hurt is coming.   I plan on taking a box of kleenex and my childhood teddy bear to the movie.

Regardless of whether you are a comic book or a super hero movie fan, I think this movie has great opportunity for some thoughtful discussion about the state of our modern world.   Both Tony and Steve are but players on a chess board, subject to the whim of organizations and powers above them.   Moved around like the tiny toy soldiers one played with when young.   Does anyone ever really win in War?

Which got me thinking of the words from an older song, and a great possible photo edit.
Yes, Art is coming.

Be patient - some times it's a long journey constructed of many layers to get to the heart of the matter.
(click to enlarge for full HQ effect)

Step by step
Heart to heart
Left, right, left
We all fall down
Like toy soldiers

Bit by bit
Torn apart
We never win
But the battle wages on
For toy soldiers

~ Martika "Toy Soldiers"

These images were created from various stills from the Avengers/Captain America movies, and layered over one another.  Then added the lyric text.   This means that I played the movie on my laptop and made screencaps of the specific images I wanted. 
Do not question my commitment.

Also, if you would like to have a discussion about how rude Mr Chris Evans is with those biceps:  I am listening.

But the importance is not a matter of strength of arms, but the strength of one's heart.  Steve Rogers has no secret identity - the world knows that he is Captain America.  He has been their beacon of Hope for generations.   Even as the very country he was created in a proganda fueled war to represent, has slipped far in its values.    His heroic essence remains, not in those strong arms and unbreakable shield; but because his true self is not just a good soldier; but a Good Man.   Inside is still the sickly, skinny little boy who hates bullies, and fights not just for himself but for all the underdogs.   He just consistently does what is right.   And personally I love that Marvel did not turn him into a dark and twisted version of himself in order to make him more interesting.   Although, I suspect if you hurt his BFF Bucky; he will bring the hurt.

Steve Rogers is more than just a cluster of old time values, with a healthy dose of old fashioned righteous anger.   He's the selfless hero we all deserve AND he could be your very best friend.

'Till the end of the line. 
And that's why I represent #TeamCap.

Whose side are you on?

Saturday Art @ ImagesByCW

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