My next memory of my addiction to nerd culture; the super hero.
To be fair, I can’t say that super heroes are anything “unaccepted” in popular culture, especially with the rise of Marvel today. Batman existed long before I did, and Buck Rogers before that. Still, there’s nothing like seeing your time periods heroes and villains bust out of those comic books or TV screen and you sit there dumbfounded by just how cool they were. We all had our poison, and we all had our gateway hero.
Me, it was X-Men. Mutants were my idols, my warriors, my bad guys, and everything I ever wanted to be when imagined myself playing as a kid.
My mother wasn’t a fan of television. Being a single parent, elementary school teacher and raw vegan, she wasn’t a fan of violence. Too bad for her, when you have two boys and gain another one in a new marriage, boys will get violent and will find ways to vent their suppressed urges. Hell, I had an older sister who was pretty tomboy because of all the testosterone and she could beat the hell out of me. She didn’t, but she totally could.
Anyway, we eventually found ourselves on the rise for a new outlet, and with my first step father came the joy of television (something my mother hated to begin with) and we found the usual shows. One big staple was Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, but my sister didn’t care for it. What we could all agree on was X-Men; good ol’ fashion 90’s cartoon X-Men, long before Hugh Jackman was even an actor and Fox didn’t grind their name into the ground with terrible sequel after sequel. You want to feel jacked up? the theme song is all you need to feel powerful.
So many characters to idolize, all with their own personalities and desires, drives to do what they want. Wolverine, the bad boy that was rough around the edges but still did the right thing. Cyclops, the steadfast leader who personified following the rules. The genius Beast, the ladies man Gambit, and so forth. My sister could be whoever she felt like being too, what with the valley girl Jubilee or the stoic warrior goddess Storm. Everyone had a favorite, and mine was always between Cyclops and Gambit. I was always straight laced and had big thick glasses, so the quartz spectacle-toting leader fit in with me, but Gambit had that suave personality that I didn’t have. Not to mention he made cards blow up, so that’s a plus.
But you know what’s the key thing with heroes? They’re only as good as their villains.
Right off that bat you have Magneto and the Brotherhood, but it only got better. Giant robot sentinels, The Hellfire Club, Mr Sinister (guess you couldn’t get that doctorate, pointy-teeth?), MOTHER FUCKING APOCALYPSE!!!! So many angles, so many arcs and stories, and those shows I would heat up like they were made of crack.
There would be more heroes to worship, more fandoms to obsess over, but X-Men, you will always be my tender first.
Who’s your favorite super hero? What about favorite villain? How old were you when they came into your life?