Sunday, November 27, 2011

60 Stories By Cal - The Last Stand Of Cyclops And Phoenix

This is a moment that describes why I love comic so much. As a kid they were always the pressure release valve that I needed after a long day of negotiating all the crappy parts of 'life'.

When I read a comic I got into the character and often imagined myself as them as I eagerly followed each adventure. After losing my collection of comics after we moved back to Canada I gave up on comics and moved on to other things that young boys are supposed to move on to - cars, girls, Air Cadets, music, television and making my own radio programs.

In the summer of 82 I started working at Cadet Camp and the base store had a huge rack of comic books. Knowing I would need something to read while on night watch, I cleaned them out of their new issues. Just feeling the pages turn between my fingers brought back a flood of good childhood memories.

The girl I worked with was the last person you would expect to enjoy comics. She was too concerned with boys, her looks and her looks. She thought comics were for little kids. However, boredom caused her to relent and soon even she was talking X-Men and arguing with me about why Spider-Man isn't a mutant like some old school fan girl.

I never really knew the power of comics until the next summer when she returned to work at the base. This time she was armed with her collection of comics, all ready for our late night read and bitch sessions.

I never realized until much later how much I enjoyed those interactions with her. She gave me a lot of confidence and taught me things that everyman should know about a woman. Her greatest gift to me was the VALIDATION that she gave my comic book hobby. She made it cool and by extension that made me cool.

I remember once she was in town she came back to base all excited that the last issue of the 'Phoenix Saga' had just come out and she couldn't wait to show me. Yeh, I was pretty much is love right then and there.

The 'Phoenix Saga' which effectively ends with this last ditch stand of the two main characters in love - fighting for their lives on the dark side of the moon - where one character sacrifices themselves for the good of the Universe.

These were still the days were a dead character really stayed dead and to kill off Jean Grey is like killing off Batgirl.

That decision broke my heart and hers as we read the comic together, only turning the pages when we were both ready to move on. Cuddled together in that leather chair was one of my favorite young adult memories. The smell of leather today still takes me back there every time.

We had a great time that summer and wrote to each other for years afterwards before losing touch. I wonder if she makes sure that her kids have comics in their backpacks when they leave for school in the morning. I like to think that she does.

Her kids must have the best superhero related pajamas and Halloween costumes on the planet.

I also suspect that if I had married her that I would have twice the action figure collection that I do now. Sigh. In a perfect world.


Anonymous said...


Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

what does taht mean?

Belle said...

I have great memories of reading comics too. Lazy days of summer reading our collection all day until I got a headache. You need to google that girl and find out where she is!

david_b said...

A huge Marvellite, but never a big X-Men fan (I liked the old team better..), I would love to grab this issue. Jean and Scott were the only ones I liked.

Great cover art!

Shame this issue HAD to have the dreaded 'WIN THIS BIKE' banner at the top. That ruined SO MANY comics at that time.

Sarah said...

Love when you share these stories Cal!