When I was a five/six-year-old boy, the seeds to my superhero love were already being planted. I remember exactly where I was whenever I got to watch Batman Forever. I'm not sure if that was my first live-action superhero film I've seen, but it's definitely the earliest I can remember.
But I was always obsessed with superheroes, I'd watch all the '90s Batman, X-Men, and Spider-Man cartoons on Saturday mornings. Then five years later, I remember walking through Target and looking at the action figures in the toy section (right next to the video games where my brother was) and I was just checking out some cool figures when I saw a specific brand that looked new and interesting. I then began to look at the marvelous variety of these specific toys when I realized they were action figures advertising the first ever, live-action X-Men movie!
I remember becoming so excited by the fact that this movie was being made that I rushed to the video game section to tell my 15-year-old brother, and although he thought it was cool, he just didn't seem to grasp the excitement that I felt, at least not the way I perceived it then. Who knows, maybe he was excited.
The rest of that year I tried to get as many of those X-Men action figures as I could. I had Magneto, Logan, Civilian Clothes Cyclops, Winter Sabertooth, and Toad (I wasn't allowed to have any of the female figures considering their busty detail).
It was like pulling teeth though, trying to get to get my parents to actually allow me to watch that movie when it came out on DVD.
Considering that the film was a little more serious in its nature and tone than what I was used to seeing in the cartoons, it was somewhat understandable. The themes were more adult than what I was usually allowed to watch at the time.
But, under certain advisories, I was finally permitted to see the film. And I loved it, Cyclops was my favorite. Of course, I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the goggles.
That superhero-loving seed was growing rapidly.
One day, while on a vacation to see my family in another state during the Christmas season, I happened upon another finding: Spider-Man advertisements strewn all over Wal-Mart. It didn't make sense to me at first, just like the X-Men advertisements didn't either when I first saw them.
But once again, it donned on me, they were now going to bring Spider-Man, one of the more outrageously colorful superheroes to the big screen. I remember going and telling all my family about it, but once again, I was the only one who really cared. I couldn't understand why no one seem to care about these superheroes being brought to the big screen.
But regardless of everyone else's lack of enthusiasm, I remained on Cloud 9 of having my superhero dreams come true, especially when I saw the trailer for Spider-Man for the first time on the television:
What sucked about this was that I wasn't the internet junkie I am today, who could scrounge around for the trailer and show everyone, so everything was hearsay.
When we finally got the movie, it was my favorite movie of all time. It didn't matter to me at the age of 13, that other movies might have been better made as far as quality and story and acting, all that mattered to me was that Spider-Man was on screen in live-action (I had also developed a crush on Kirsten Dunst, that might have helped too).
But, I began to really start doing my internet hunting for all things superheroes, and what I found, was pretty cool. Marvel's official website allowed for people to go on there and read free issues of Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men, by then, the superhero-loving seed had already begun to flourish as a new seed was planted: comic books.
I devoured every panel of those two books but my favorite was the Ultimate Spider-Man, something about the way Brian Michael Bendis wrote Peter Parker just resonated well with me. I remember walking through my Charter School, thinking about how I was very much like Peter was in those book and the Raimi movies (even though I had friends and I was never bullied). I romanticized everything, I think mostly just because I wanted to "go-out" (whatever that means to a 13-year-old) with one of the girls who I likened to Kirsten Dunst (even though they looked nothing alike).
Point is, these stories of superheroes and comics were adapted to my everyday life, even when I wasn't reading or watching superheroes.
I had eventually found the true power of the internet and started looking for upcoming superhero movies. I was using poor resources like comics2film.com and movies.yahoo.com which had movies like Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Black Panther listed back then, even though all of that was very far away...actually, it still is. I've not visited these sites recently, but maybe they are more grounded than they were before and don't allow as much ridiculous speculation based on nothing to occur. But anyways, I did happen across some true rumors which turned into a bunch of other superhero films getting produced and I watched them all, good and bad.
You remember when I said that at the age of 12/13, I was reading Ultimate Spider-Man comics online on Marvel's official website? Well, I remembered that too at the age of 15 when I decided to go to a Half-Price Books and purchase the first volume of the collected Ultimate Spider-Man in trade-paperback form. It became my hobby at that point that I had to go and get every single issue of anything that was under the "Ultimate" brand of Marvel. For five years, I collected the complete run of all of the Ultimate books in trade-paperback form. I thought I was a true comic-collector for this reason.
I also had witnessed a new era of superhero movies, an era which ushered in movies like Batman Begins, Iron Man, The Dark Knight, and more! It was becoming an even more thrilling time to be a superhero fan as Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy was in full swing and Marvel's Cinematic Universe was beginning.
It was so exciting to me, but what sucked was that I was feeling a little "uneducated" in the nerd-world as I watched certain movies without entirely understanding what all the cameos and easter-eggs meant. I had only read Ultimate comics up to this point, never reading anything in the Marvel 616 (Marvel's main continuity in comics) and I never even touched anything DC, despite my supposed "love" for Batman and Superman.
Now that I was beginning to understand just how vast and deep superheroes were going on film, I felt that I need to do an equivalent amount of research.
Comicbookmovie.com became go-to source for comic book movie information and upcoming news, comicvine.com and wikipedia.org became my go-to sources for information on characters I didn't know or understand, and best of all, I discovered that I could actually order stuff from the library through the internet. Needless to say, I did lots of reading.
Ages 21-25 (Now)
In 2011, I began to see that collecting trade-paperbacks, was not true comic collecting and I had a desire for the real deal so that I wouldn't fall behind on events. At this time as well, I began to have a greater interest in all things DC (prior to this I was Marvel-only comic reader) and I had luckily discovered that DC was releasing their New 52 relaunch. What did that mean to me? A jumping on point!
I went crazy and purchased all the books I could (now realizing that wasn't so smart financially), read all the library books I could of both Marvel and DC to get old story information so as to be caught up, and somewhere along the way, I became this comic-book obsessed maniac.
I don't claim to know everything about comic books or superheroes, there are still superheroes I don't know too much about (i.e. Black Panther, Doctor Strange), but I can guarantee that I will find out everything I can before their films come out.
And as far as movies go, I've loved just about everything that's come out, minus a a few disappointments or movies that I boycotted completely (Punisher: War-Zone and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance). I'm in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite going through a time where I ridiculed it to no end, I'm in love with the prospects of DC's Cinematic Universe despite what others' expectations may be, and I collect both Marvel and DC comics now.
Wrapping It Up
Why did I share all this information? How does the title match the article? Well, think about it, I've just chronicled my nerd-journey through life. As a kid I enjoyed superheroes, as a teenager I enjoyed superheroes, and now I'm an adult, and I love superheroes more than I ever did before! And what irritates me to no end is when my hobbies, my interests, and my favorite things are categorized as childish. Take a look at the comic book/superhero movies over the past five years: Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, etc. Do these movies market themselves as childish movies? No. Some may have the ability to entertain a child, the way X-Men movies entertained me, but the concept and storylines of some of these films go way above their heads and are really created for adults just as well, if not more so, than children.
The thing is, I don't really understand why superhero movies have a bad rep with general audiences who call them childish when they can go watch other sci-fi/fantasy movies with no problem and call them intelligent filming and whatnot.
Comics and superheroes have some of the best stories ever told if people would be willing to open their minds. There's just as much emotion, tragedy, and epic events as there are in any other non-comic story whether it be a movie or a book.
I guess what I'm trying to say overall is that just because something has superheroes in it, doesn't make it childish. Superheroes and comic books have come a long way, likewise, superhero movies have come a long way as well. So whatever it is that you are into, whether it's superheroes, gaming, or movies, just like what you like if it makes you happy. It's all supposed to be fun and just because something is fun, doesn't make it childish.
As usual, feel free to comment in the comments section below and don't forget to vote.