On Earth as in Heaven

One-eyed monsters. Men turned into beasts. Overwhelming odds. All elements of The Odyssey by Homer. Gee, it’d make a great comic book.

Of course, in order to make it in today’s comic book market, Homer would have to disrobe most of the women, pump the men up with steroids, and arm them all to the teeth. You see, it’s not your father’s comics we’re talking about.

My introduction to comic books came when I was 5. My brother Robert took me to the local drug store. He collected comic book versions of literary works—Hamlet, Crime and Punishment, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. They were on the top rack. But there was another world entirely on the bottom rack. My eyes locked on a guy who was dressed in blue-black and gray with a cape like batwings. He was trapped inside a giant hourglass while this other guy who looked like a rabid clown laughed. I was hooked. I never looked at the top rack again.

Those were innocent days. Good guys were good guys, bad guys were bad. The world of what would come to be known as the Silver Age of the superhero comic had captured me. The relationship would last through the ’60s and ’70s. Comics would take up the issues of racism, drug abuse, and political corruption. Comics, produced by men mostly in their late 40s, were desperately trying to be "hip." They were corny beyond belief and years behind the times, but I loved them.

Then came the ’80s. As a college graduate, then a husband, I put the comics aside. It was time to put away "childish things." Comics were for kids, after all.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1997
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