Wednesday, September 17, 2008

From the Not-so-Smallville

I'd like to introduce myself to Superhero Babylon, my name is Michael Vardoulis and I am a (for lack of a better term) comics enthusiast. Like the evolution of comic mythology itself, my perspective of comic books and the heroes that emerge from their pages has evolved into adulthood. In a similar fashion comic book icons such as the ultimate 'prototype' example, Superman, has been re-envisioned and re-interpreted in a variety of positive ways; so too has followed my appreciation for comic books and their heroes: I look at my favorite heroes and what they represent differently now that I have long ago entered adulthood. I particularly like the re-tooling of the Superman mythology found in the recent television adaptation "Smallville" (which the new season starts very soon), in part because of the parallels I find in my own evolving appreciation of comics.

I remember spending much of childhood growing up in a California suburban "
smallville" of sorts, without the midwestern innocence, being ashamed of "childish" things. I enjoyed my childhood, but I distinctly remember wanting to appear more "grown up" and in turn following what I though to be more "grown up" interests. I recall associating comic books with being somewhat "below" even the picture books I was outgrowing in my early elementary school years. For many different reasons, I avoided comic books because of the stigma of immaturity I (and I believed others) placed on comic books. I did not start taking comic books seriously until the age of thirteen when I frankly broke down and read a friend's Uncanny X-Men, somewhere around issue #170.

Whenever I put something up on this site, I pledge to remember my initial personal journey into the medium of expression I so wrongfully discarded as childish and simple only to discover a rich, complex method of storytelling which just happened to be both literary and visual. I pledge to remember the giddy, angst-ridden young teenager eagerly awaiting the next set of issues to appear in my hands. I pledge to remember basking in the adventures of my favorite heroes while simultaneously discovering and drinking up what I saw as a similar romanticism in the
works of Salinger, Thoreau and Rand. I do not want to forget the most fundamental aspect of comics: the sheer joy of the adventure and the story, which is what not only drew me into comic books but keeps me inspired by and writing about comic books today.