This post has nothing to do with work.
I went out today and bought my comic books from Cheryl's. My kid brother was nice enough to give me a lift, and it was nice time out. It was also nice to pick up my books -- a stack of Green Lantern comics the size of my head, all the Blackest Night reading I hadn't done, and a few other non-GL related things, like "The Boys," "Gen13," "Ex Machina," and "Runaways." It cost sixty of the last hundred dollars I have in the bank, but today I'm not really worried about that [liar].
As I've written here before, and will probably write here again, comic books were something I did with my dad. It was the way we bonded after the divorce. Spandex-clad muscle men, giant robots, aliens, power rings, and unbelievable female anatomy were the common ground of a lonely introvert and his pot-smoking father, and it kept us together. He started out as a DC guy -- Superman, Supergirl, and Justice League, while I was all Marvel -- Spider-Man, X-Men, and Generation X. He would eventually come around, using Thor and Silver Surfer as some kind of crazy-gateway book to make him an even bigger X-Men and Captain America fan than I was. But I had a cross-over too, and we both came to love the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. I think between us [I guess just between myself, now], we owned every issue he ever appeared in.
Dad would have loved "Blackest Night." I try not to think about the weirdness of remembering my dead dad in the same breath as a story about the tragically deceased returning to life. He liked Kyle. He really liked Guy, and he, like me, was coming around to the idea that Hal Jordan and Adolf Hitler were not the same guy, even though we'd really started reading hardcore during DC's "Zero Hour," and Jordan had been the heavy throughout that. But it was also defiance. Everyone said the Jordan character deserved the green uniform more. We respectfully disagreed [fuck you], and skipped some of the early stuff a year or two back when Hal came back to prominence.
But as I said. We were coming around.
Dad was interested. But he'd gotten spoiled, and behind, and hadn't caught up on his Green Lantern reading in awhile. And he wanted to do it right, and in order, so he had just finished "Green Lantern: Rebirth," and I'd promised to get him "Sinestro Corps War" for his birthday. I don't know why I didn't just gather the issues I had up, maybe partly because they were split between here and my old house, maybe I just wanted to make sure I had an idea for gift, when a gift-giving holiday came around, and I wanted to get Dad a new trade.
Dad actually had his eye on another trade paperback before he died. Marvel had just put "Red Hulk" out in hardcover, and he always sort... paused over it. Picked it up at the top [hand to spine would have been a commitment], looked back at me, and smiled. I knew it was crap -- but I also knew he liked the Hulk character, had loved both movies, and that he'd be far more into watching a Red Hulk and Green Hulk slug it out in the style of Ed McGuinness. Be damned the story, he wanted to start getting into the character again, buying the books, and that hardcover would have been a nice start.
Last time we were out for comics was in Cheryl's. He picked it up again, someone had ordered it, and not made the buy. Same look. I had the money in my pocket. It would have been one less night out with friends at the IHOP. But he'd have enjoyed it. Stupid, selfish. Not that he was asking. But it crossed my mind. And I could have gotten it for him. Didn't.
He'd have liked "Blackest Night." It's one of those things that reminds you why you got started on comics. Maybe that's where all this came from. Why it's on my mind. It feels like something he's missing, that I'd have wanted to share with him. We could have gotten excited about it, and talked about how cool it was for a change, rather than all that shit that had been stirred up with family and injuries and bad luck.
Feels like he missed a lot of things. Glad he caught "The Dark Knight." He got to see Mickey Rourke make his big comeback in "The Wrestler." That meant something to him, I think. He'll miss "Iron Man 2," which is such a drag because he thought the first one was so damn cool. He was like me, he really liked Tarantino. About a week before he died, we talked about "Inglorious Basterds."
And he took me to "Clerks 2" when everything in life just sucked, and I loved it so much and it felt so good that when the movie ended tears were running down my cheeks, and for a moment in one of the worst summers of my life I felt like I was home. He never said a word. I like to think he got it, like when I handed him that "Nailz" lighter for Christmas that one year. We were such fucking nerds.
I remember one year at Bennington, thanking Louise Simonson for her work on "Steel." The black Superman. First book dad and I ever fought over every month to see who would read first. That seemed to mean something to her. Meant a lot to me, just having someone to thank for that. It could have went bad. Wouldn't have had all this to reflect on, or this stack of comics and a vague sense of longing to share them with someone.
This is... so hokey, but I wanted to put it here. I'm sorry if no one gets it. But it was an issue that I know both me and dad read, a last page we paused on, because the last page is what you always pause on. It's what you work so hard to get to, it's the last thing in the book you'll probably see, and it's the page you're not quite ready to let go of yet, because that means you have to wait a month for another issue. And it's also something... I guess I wish I could do. So forgive me.