Christmas, innocense, and scary bad guys

I’ve mentioned my nephew before; he’s a great kid who I adore. Like most boys, he’s a pretty big fan of Spiderman and has spent more than a little time running around the back yard pretending to fling web from his wrists. Add to that leaping, tumbling, and hurtling over various objects and my old knees ache just looking at him.

With Christmas fast approaching I thought a stack of Spidey comics might be just the thing for him. As I spent quite a few hours lost in the artwork and storyboards of comics when I was a kid I thought they might be something he’d enjoy, too. I remember one particular cross-over issue with Spiderman and Wolverine that was absolutely phenomenal. 

There’s a comic book shop not too far from my office, so yesterday I spent my lunch hour (plus some) walking through the aisles. It was a trip. The same smell, the same lighting. The same odd guy behind the counter. One difference – back when I was a regular most shops had a life-size, Carbonite-entombed Han Solo somewhere. This one had a huge – I mean massive – replica of the Hulk. Easily ten feet tall, grimacing and green, standing in the middle of the shop. Very cool.  

venom1At any rate, after quite a bit of time sifting through issues I came to an unsettling conclusion: either I’m old, comics have changed significantly, or I don’t remember just how cazy-ass violent some of these things are. Holy cow.

I spent well over an hour going through comics and I couldn’t find one that didn’t have a really good chance of giving my nephew the kind of nightmares that would leave him scarred well into his twenties. Add to that a dash of budding sexual confusion from big-busted, doe-eyed females with quivering lips and longing gazes and I may as well start a savings account for his therapy.

If the idea was to mess with my brother and sister in law I just might have gone that way.

As it was, the odd-guy clerk managed to point me to some kid-friendly, old-school comics that should work a bit better as a Christmas gift. Ethan will no doubt discover the more intense stuff as he moves along, but hopefully that’ll wait until he’s in a place where he can handle it.

For now, I hope he has a good time when the bad guy gets punched, the artwork reads, “PoW!!” and everyone his home in time for dinner with the family.

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