My main thoughts were another author: John Eldredge or Brennan Manning; possibly John Piper, but it was really just his way of thinking “by enjoying Him forever” from the Shorter Catechism…
Second Main thought (really the first) was… BA ba ba ba: The Marvel Universe.
When I was 12 and 13 I read 9 comic books, and got what backdated copies I could find. I read Iron Man, Thor, the Amazing Spiderman (there were like 4 Spideys at the time, now there are like 51), XMEN, the Uncanny XMEN, XFORCE, XFACTOR… maybe it was 7 because that is all I can come up with. I have been saying 9 for 20 years now, but maybe it was 7.
I promise I will get back to real people, but I saw Iron Man 2 the day it came out and loved it – so I thought I would go ahead and write this post. Partly because War Machine was invented when I was reading the comics, but also because Tony Stark is a very real human – narcissistic, brilliant, but very dark and selfish also.
Mostly comic book folk solve their problems by punching someone or kissing someone. There are undertones, some good artwork, meta-themes (like oppression, the grand story of the unlikely hero, etc.), but as far as I can tell problems are solved by punching/kissing. I tried the second one to no avail throughout my teenagedom.
In all seriousness, I think I learned that ‘heroes’ have back stories, darkness doesn’t preclude light. Or something… Bad guys can become good guys by choice.
And, as a man, there was a pleasant amount of violence, speed, movement – of – story. It took me about 20 minutes to read a comic, and most of the time there was a good bit of closure.
As I get older I am less sure of what I know, but the world seems simpler. The Marvel Universe, without regard to the plots of villains, is a simple place. So, in addition to (literally) thousands of almost useless facts, the Marvel Universe presented a nice outlet, lots of explosions, and an appreciation of the real role of story in a heroes life – it is just a story, there are still choices and people on the other side.