Saturday, December 23, 2006

Metrics of Adulthood

This time of year, the media conspire to establish Belief in Santa Claus as the universal cultural metric of the transition from Childhood to Adulthood.

They have to push it, because it's not a very good yardstick. In the days before the modern mass media, children were more sheltered from the evidence of the commercial underpinnings of our winter holiday. Nowadays, only the smallest of tots could be unaware that their parents are responsible for their holiday gifts.

But what are better indicators, more rooted in our modern culture, that one has made or is making the transition from childhood to adulthood? Mine own is quite clear: I was certain I was an adult when I realized that Mr. Banks is right about the tuppence and Mary Poppins is wrong.

But that's just me. What other useful measures can we think of, especially focusing on those with roots in our common comic book culture?

You Know You're An Adult When...

  • You send your She-Hulk poster to be framed.
  • You start wondering why Batman allows a child to fight armed gangsters.
  • Your empathy for Peter Parker turns to contempt.
  • Superman starts to impress not because of what he does, but because of what he doesn't do.
  • You stop caring whether people think Aquaman is lame.
  • It occurs to you that visiting Paradise Island might be more fun than visiting the Batcave.
  • You first say, "Oh, they finally brought that character back, eh?"

Your suggestions?


Anonymous said...

Oh, good. I can pretend to be smart and mature again.

*Green Lanterns start to interest you with what they do instead of what they don't do.

(...Sure, go ahead and pelt me with ceiling tiles if you want, but I find a figure whose "superpower" is ultimately their will and creativity to be inspiring.)

*Your superhero comic book discussions sound more like philosophical debates than chats about pro-wrestling grudge matches.

Anonymous said...

Secret Identities would never work. Nice domino mask Dick...oops, I mean Robin, Green Arrow, Green Lantern etc..
Nice glasses Superman.
Peter, is that your whiny voice I hear under that mask?
*sniff* Gosh I guess Tony Stark's bodyguard is just as much a boozer as he is.
Lucky we were fighting in yet another building that was set to be demolished, abandoned, evacuated, etc..

Despite my sarcasm I actually do enjoy my comic habit. (-;

Great site btw, I am a regular visitor.

Zaratustra said...

In general: You might be an adult if you realize superheroes are silly. You are an adult if you don't care.

Jon K said...

OK, my first one is entirely non-comics related...

You're definitely an adult when... go to bed because you want to, not because someone else tells you to. appreciate fishnet stockings on Zatanna and Black Canary. actually figure out when all the stores in your city restock the action figures so you can be the first to get the latest relase for your collection. get that new action figure for your collection, bring it home, and rip open the package and display it on your shelf because, dammit, it just looks too cool to be kept in the package, resale value be dammed!

Love the blog, dude, read it daily!


CalvinPitt said...

- The point at which you keep your comics in plastic bags, not because they might be worth something someday, but because you want it in good condition the next time you feel like reading it.

- Is the point where you start to wonder why Batman hasn't killed the Joker one?

Scipio said...

No, but the point where you stop wondering that is.

Anonymous said...

- when you understand why Conan keeps all those women who can't fight around.

- when you read graphic novels while sitting in a restaurant on your lunch break and don't care if anyone sees you.

- when your reasons for dropping a book involve the quality of the creative team and not the lack of alternate covers.

And this last one is for every man-child who practically lived in my old comic shop...

- when you start realizing girls wanting to read your comics is a good thing.

rob! said...

>>You stop caring whether people think Aquaman is lame.<<

absolutely. my aquaman blog is entirely dedicated to this concept:

Jim said...

Superman starts to impress not because of what he does, but because of what he doesn't do.

Very True

paperghost said...

You know you're an adult when...the words "Dan Didio" make you cry.

Jack Norris said...

One that really struck me when it happened was when the neighbor's dog had just had a litter of puppies and let me reach into the pen and pet them, but snarled at any kid that tried to do so. I immediately flashed back to being a little kid getting snarled at by a mother dog in the same situation and my mom telling me "she'll only let grownups touch them."
I realized the dog had some sense of me being an adult unrelated to whether I was socially a mature, responsible person (I wasn't, really).

Comic-wise, I just know it freaked me out when Marvel Tales started reprinting Spider-Man stories from issues that I had bought when they first came out (starting, I think, with the introduction of the Grizzly).

Anonymous said...

When you are on your fourth or fifth Crisis but as far as you're concerned the JSA is still and has always been on Earth 2.

Anonymous said...

You know when you're an adult when Green Arrow stops being "a modern-day Robin Hood who stands up for the little guy and sticks it to THE MAN!" and becomes, "that loudmouth jerk that cheated on his girlfriend."

Anonymous said...

When you realize that all those writers, artists, and editors that work to bring you your comic book are real people trying to do a job rather than minions of Beelzebub who killed off Favorite Childhood Superhero XYZ.

Happy holidays, Absorbasconeers!

Anonymous said...

Kids only want to eat things that taste good; grownups frequently enjoy taste sensations that are, by any reasonable definition, awful.

Adults are interested in the historical roadside plaque: "Gee, imagine that, three hundred years ago next week, this whole place was underwater!" Meanwhile kids despise roadside plaques because they interfere with the all-important business of getting to McDonald's.

And in comics: when you realize Wolverine's brown costume signalled the death of his character, when you miss the big "G" on Galactus' chest, when you realize that maybe Batman isn't insane but HE'S SO SANE I JUST BLEW YOUR MIND DIDN'T I...

When you realize a comic full of your favourite superheroes just hanging around and "relating" would be really boring?

When you realize Robin is a cool idea for a character?

When you realize Two-Face is better when he doesn't have MPD?

I dunno...

Anonymous said...

K26dp said...
When you realize that all those writers, artists, and editors that work to bring you your comic book are real people trying to do a job rather than minions of Beelzebub who killed off Favorite Childhood Superhero XYZ.

actually it's when you realize they're both.

Tobias said...

In my opinion everyone may browse on this.
Erin homes

Redforce said...

When you stop reading Marvel and start reading DC.