IMAGE EXPO: Eric Stephenson's Keynote Address Set to Reveal New Projects
Okay, say you have a collection of Megos (not to far a stretch for a lot of you). You’ve had them since you were young and they now decorate your bookshelf or your computer desk, basically in a display of fond memories. Sure, you’ll pose them from time to time, dust off their cloth costumes with care, maybe even do some repair work, but they sit in a place to remind you of your childhood and the wonders of your imagination. Perhaps even some spare cash on eBay, but let’s go with the more touching idea about childhood and memories.
Now, add to this, say you have a younger brother. Or a little sister, or a son or daughter. Someone of the next generation set who is totally enthralled by your collection of figures. In great childlike wonder they ask you about each and every one, amazed by all the stories they represent. It’s great to see someone love something dear to you and it’s a great bond that helps me sell comics and connects us all through our fandoms. If you’ve never explained a comic book plotline that you love (no complaints now) to someone younger than you, please do so at your earliest convience. They’ll think you’re a genius for knowing the tale and you’ll be reminded of your own viceral reactions to the story at hand.
Anyhow, you have your Megos and your sister/brother/son/daughter/etc. seems to love them as much as you do, so you eventually relent and let them play with your figures. They very gently take each one from you, go off to the living room and then suddenly POW! BANG! BOOM! CRASH! They’re smacking them together as part of some terrible fight. Plastic clicks against plastic, some are catapulted off the couch, others are mauled by childlike enthusiasm and small, but dangerously strong hands. They’re having a ball, you’re cringing in the corner. Or ready to run and yell because those are YOUR toys! Play nice! Those are collector’s items! You’ll RUIN them!
But at the same time… you used to play like that with them.
(eventual SPOLIERS: for Siege #2 ahead, but really I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard by now. Bendis likes a good death in his event books!)
Oh, don’t give me that; everyone at one time or another has broken a toy in their lives. Whether on purpose, due to shoddy craftsmanship, due to an accident, everyone has gotten a little too rough and had a foot go missing. Or a rubber band snap. Or even just a figure not looking the same way anymore, some paint rubbed off, some scratch here and there. In your imagination, these figures have flown the surface of the sun, they’ve all be secret agents who’ve had to hide under seat cushons, they’ve had to war amongst themselves because you never got any villains or (for the ladies in the house) had to go on dates in a Barbie dream car. Toys were meant to be played with (unless they’re made by Todd MacFarlane) and to be put through the rigors of your imagination. Otherwise they just sit on a shelf, collect dust, pose from time to time and live small, sheltered, uninteresting lives.
As you watch this younger person in your life throw his or her arms into the air with a giant “Ka-POW!” and that back of throat rumble explosion noise that is given to every child at the age of five and you watch your figures burst forth to knock against furniture, have their uniforms or tunics pulled askew, maybe lose a boot under the couch, bonk into a window, you should be reminded of what toys can do, how they can live under the right imagination. But, most likely, you’re thinking of how much they’re losing in value, how much they need to be preserved and played with ‘correctly’.
What I’m trying to say is I’m tired of watching the Sentry rip things in half. It was cool once and now it’s so much a cliche that the story stops for me when I have to see it again. I groan, I roll my eyes. I get mad because that’s Ares! The GOD of WAR! That’s not fair or right!
But it’s the story. It’s the imagination to wonder what comes after that, what happens because of that and doesn’t that look totally awesome-rad-cool to see his guts spilling out all over the page like that and what can possibly defeat the Sentry now. It’s not the toys or how I want them to be, but how we use them to tell someone something else about anything our imaginations can devise. Playing with toys roughly is not a bad thing, as long as they are not broken and then discarded. Even broken toys can tell some amazing stories.
I betcha Hercules and Phobos are going to be making a trip sometime to Hades to get Ares back.