Monday, March 8, 2010

Spider-Man, Batman, Gar-Gar and Sniff

When I was a kid, like most kids, I loved reading comic books; particularly those about superheroes.

The Marvel comics were my favorites. I mostly enjoyed Spider-Man, Thor, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Captain America. I didn’t care as much for the D.C. comics although I did like Batman and the Flash.

One of my least favorite superheroes had to be the Green Lantern. This rather pedestrian hero's distinction was the fact that he dressed in green and had a lantern and a ring. Whoop-dee-do!

Besides, his name made no sense. He was the man holding the lantern, not the lantern itself. They should have called him the "Green Guardian" or the "Man in Green with a Lantern and a Ring". If you saw someone with a crimson pail, you wouldn’t call him the "Red Bucket" (Although that would make for an interesting superhero. He might have some magic elixir or putrid slime in his bucket that he could dispense to evildoers).

From the mediocre we now go to the ridiculous: Superman. This guy really bugged me (although I wouldn’t say that to his face). It wasn’t enough that he was stronger than anyone. No. Superman could do anything. He could even turn back time! His powers made all the other superheroes obsolete. What a showoff! I wouldn't be surprised if he could dance better than Fred Astaire, or theorize better than Albert Einstein, or cook better than Julia Child.

I remember Superdude once had a foot race with my favorite superhero, The Flash. This hasty hero was my favorite because I used to be a pretty fleet little runner myself, in my youth. The reason I was fast was due to the fact that I was quite skinny; my legs had very little weight to bear and I encountered no wind resistance when I ran (it was kind of like having my own superpower).

Anyway, Superjerk and my man, the Flash, face off in this titanic race of speedy champions. I figure it’s a foregone conclusion that the Scarlet Speedster would win. After all, velocity was his forte, his only claim to fame, and his reason for living. If someone were as fast or faster than he, then he would have to hang his head in shame and no longer call himself a superhero.

So how does the race end? It’s a stinkin' tie!!! My favorite superhero has become redundant. I hate Superman.

I remember my father telling me and my brothers about a character called Plastic Man. He described him as this elasticized contortionist who could bend into various shapes and stretch to unbelievable lengths. Us boys, being the comic book connoisseurs that we were, explained to him that he was thinking of Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic Four.

Dad, however, insisted there was such a character as Plastic Man. We kids chuckled about this on many occasions, thinking our father was either joking with us or losing his mind; until one day when he came home with a copy of Plastic Man.

Figuring we had to believe him now, he then proceeded to tell us about another lesser-known superhero by the name of Gar-Gar.

Gar-Gar had the uncanny ability to assume the form of any gas on the periodic table of elements. If necessary, he could fatally poison the bad guys or at least make them queasy by morphing himself into a foul odor.

He had a sidekick by the name of Sniff. Sniff had tremendous lung capacity and was immune to toxic gases and rancid smells. Thus, he was able to sniff up Gar-Gar whenever trouble arose.

Ol’ Dad had to be putting us on for sure this time. We weren’t going to fall for that one.

But all that's in the past. Now I'm a man. I've matured. I can see that the real heroes are the ones who make a difference in our lives: spouses, parents, family members, true friends, and reality TV stars.

Oh, and if someone should come across any issues of The Adventures of Gar-Gar and Sniff, let me know. I’d be interested in purchasing a copy.

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