Death of a loved one
Hey little buddy.
Long time no see.
Or hang out with.
Or read new comic books with in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
So much has happened in the last decade (it’s hard to believe it has been nearly that long since I last saw you). A lot of it has been 31 flavors of awful, but not everything. There have been some bright spots. One of brightest of them has been the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It really sucks that you only got to see the big screen debut of Iron Man, back in 2008. Since then, wow, I really think you’d have been as excited as I have been, your inner comic book fan bursting at the seams. Scratch that. Your inner fan would have completely burst out of the seams and gone full scale cosplay (like you did for Where the Wild Things Are). I can easily picture you cosplaying as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy (a movie you probably would never have thought would get made, let alone be a financial and critical success) or even the Winter Soldier. Yeah, they made a GotG movie and incorporated Bucky Barnes into the MCU. They also made 3 Thor movies, 3 Captain America’s, 3 Iron Man’s, and multiple Avengers films. Hell, they even made a film about Ant-Man, which did well enough to get a sequel, Ant-Man & the Wasp. And that’s not all. Marvel got Spider-Man back (not completely, but enough so Marvel can use him in their movies). So he’s gotten incorporated into their fictional universe, with Tom Holland taking up the mantle of everyone’s favorite web-slinger in one movie thus far, with another coming this summer (in related news, following Disney’s acquisition of Fox Studios, the X-Men and Fantastic Four are back under the same house as the Avengers, though its gonna be a while before we see anything with them, according to Kevin Feige).
There are so many more surprises that you almost certainly would have loved. As a fan of animation, I think you’d have loved Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. You weren’t around to read about the debut of Miles Morales following the death of Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe. Let’s just say he gained a sizable following and eventually made the transition from the comic book page to the big screen (albeit in animated form, which I grumbled about at first, bc HEY LIVE ACTION, but after seeing it, I’m glad they went with animated, bc that shit looked amazing). Perhaps even more surprising, not only did the Black Panther make it to the big screen in his own movie, but it became a critical and financial juggernaut that went on to make over a billion dollars. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a Black Panther film would get made, let alone be top notch, and be such a successful movie. I could copy that last sentence almost verbatim to describe my thoughts on another movie that recently came out.
Can you believe Marvel made a movie with Carol Danvers aka the first Ms Marvel aka Binary aka Warbird aka Captain Marvel? Oh crap. I forgot you weren’t around for Carol stepping up to take the title. Well, she did, and she’s done the legacy of Mar-Vell proud. And that film she starred in? Like Black Panther, Captain Marvel broke a billion dollars (and counting). And just as Black Panther shattered long held beliefs about the viability of a movie with a Black lead (to say nothing of a virtually all Black cast), Captain Marvel showed Hollywood and the world that a movie with a woman as the lead character–a superhero movie at that–can be box office smash and receive acclaim around the world.
Living where I do now, it’s not easy to get out to see any movies. After wrecking my car back in 2013, I haven’t been in the financial position to get another one. I moved from Pensacola to a small town outside of Panama City, Florida. It’s one of those “wonderful” Southern cities that plasters confederate flags everywhere (as if a bunch of white supremacist, anti-American traitors deserve to be honored). I moved out here with my aunt and cousin (great aunt, technically) to get my bearings and try to get back on my feet. Thankfully, my cousin allows me to use her car on occasion, so I’m not stuck in this house. This city is verrrry small. There’s something like 3000+ people living here. We have 2 convenience stores (one just opened up a few weeks back), 2 dollar stores, and 2 small town supermarkets. Buncha churches too. No gym. No swimming pool. One small bar with weird hours and a dart machine that doesn’t work. There’s just really not much here. For the first few years, I worked in Panama City, driving 45 minutes to and from work 5-6 days a week. Things were on their way to stabilizing when BAM, last July, the restaurant I’d been bartending and managing at (Bennigans) closed down. We had a feeling it was coming, but it still sucked. As if to add to the suckery, the vehicle my cousin was letting me use–a 2003 Dodge Ram (with a HEMI)–started acting up and becoming unreliable, so using it to travel back and forth to Panama City on a regular basis became untenable. That left me struggling to figure out what to do for work in this town that has precious little available.
Then Mother Nature decided the least of my worries was finding a job. On October 10, Hurricane Michael hit. It was a catastrophic hurricane that straddled the line between a Category 4 and 5. We live 24 miles from Mexico Beach, which was ground zero. The hurricane decimated this region. By January of this year, the death toll in Florida was 47. The damage of course was in the billions. There were no deaths as far as I know in this town, but there was a metric fuckton of damage. We sustained surprisingly little damage. My aunt’s home lost some shingles off the roof and some vinyl siding. And some trees were uprooted, while others were nearly snapped in half by winds over 150 mph. But the structure of the home was fine. There were no leaks and no substantial damage. Of course the power was out. 17 days with no power really is not fun. Relief efforts came quickly, supplying food and water for the community. We had two generators so we could charge laptops and cell phones (though no carriers were up and running in the days immediately following the hurricane so we had no way to tell people were ok and vice versa). More importantly, we could keep our refrigerators cold. By the beginning of November, things slowly returned to normal, but the job situation hasn’t. There’s just not enough opportunities for anything in this town and without a reliable vehicle, I’m pretty much stuck.
But enough of that.
Last week, I had the opportunity to see Captain Marvel. The only movie theater left after the hurricane is almost exactly an hour and a half away from us (which is one reason I don’t go to the movies very often). I know this bc–and if you were here, you’d laugh, bc you know how I am–the movie played at 3:30 and I left the house at 2:05. I arrived at the ticket stand at 3:24. Of course, having been a manager in a movie theater, you know that I wouldn’t have missed the movie, since previews go for like 20 minutes. I grabbed my popcorn, a hot dog, and drink ($24–geez; but you always told me that theaters make their money on the concession stand items), found the seat I’d picked out (it’s still weird to me that we get to select our seats) and settled in. And by settled in, I mean, got reeeeeeeeeally comfortable. These weren’t the old school theater seats. They were the luxury seats. Very comfortable. Soft. Wide. No cramped spaces. Quite nice.
A few hours later, the movie finished and I rushed to my car. I had to get there before the waterworks came. I held them back during the movie with ease bc I was distracted by the film. With it over, the emotional turmoil that I’d kept a lid on was boiling over and I didn’t want to be a crying mess as I walked out of the theater. The walk to the car seemed to take forever. When I finally got there, the dam burst. In a million years, I never would have thought a Marvel movie would trigger me, but Captain Marvel certainly did.