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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Wine Bloggers Off-Topic #2: Favorite Superheroes

It's the second Wine Bloggers Off-Topic, and this time it's about everybody's favorite superhero!

Not as many people were able to participate this month as last month, but I did recruit a comic blogger just for this one entry. Jim Werner runs the Weird Science DC Comics podcast and website, which I also write reviews for here and there.

Let's get nerdy!

Jim Lockard on WineJIM LOCKARD
Twitter: @JimLockardWine

Instagram: @JimLockard

I haven’t really been into superheroes as an adult. Oh, I’ve met a few wine industry superheroes, like Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, and Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe and J. Wilkes Wines. But they can’t fly and don’t fight crime.

As a young boy, Superman was my superhero of choice. I always like the richness of his life story, which included the Super Boy series of comics as well. His compliment of superpowers was perhaps the most impressive in any individual superhero – flying, invincible strength, X-Ray vision. And his susceptibility to Kryptonite, which was pieces of his home planet of Krypton made him just vulnerable enough.

George Reeves as Superman
His nemesis, Lex Luthor was a formidable foe, and the women in his life with the initials “LL” made for a bit of romantic intrigue as well. Aside from the comics, I had the original Superman TV series to watch in the 1950’s, starring George Reeves. The special effects weren’t all that special, but the show was entertaining to the crew cut and tennis shoes set in my day.

And, of course, Superman was about fighting for good. He even had good manners (except in the Bizzaro episodes where everything was opposite)! Those early days were filled with unambiguous good versus evil, with very few, if any gray areas. Superman was a good guy.

By the time the big movies came around I was passed caring much about Superman. I thought the Christopher Reeves movies were overblown – Superman was essentially a small-town guy (raised in Smallville) bringing good values to Metropolis. But time goes on.

Twitter: @FrankStero
Instagram: @FrankStero

Frankie wasn't able to write anything this month but he did give me an answer: Deadpool.

Lori Budd
Twitter: @DracaenaWines / @ExplorWineGlass
Instagram: @DracaenaWines / @ExploringTheWineGlass

A Super Hero by definition is a benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers. Is there anyone who didn’t grow up wishing they were a super hero? Or at least had super hero powers? I wouldn’t mind being super fast, or possessing super strength. And how awesome would it be to have your own private jet that was invisible! Life couldn’t get much better than that, could it?

As a kid, I loved watching the super hero cartoons. But I wasn’t ever a fan of the most popular ones. I watched Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, but they weren’t the reasons why I watched. It was the Wonder Twins, Space Ghost and the one I wanted to marry! Yep, I was head over heels in love with Aquaman!

I have always loved animals. I spent many a days sitting outside talking to the animals. I had “pet” squirrels, turkeys and robins. All animals that never saw a day in my home, but they would come to me when they saw me and I would feed them out of my hand. I even went to college and studied animals. I was had Marine Biology major and graduated with a dream job of working with dolphins, until I realized how little dolphin trainers get paid - (you seriously can’t live on that salary!)

Super Friends AquamanAquaman had it all. He could breathe underwater as well as while he was on the surface. His army were the marine life and he treated them well and they loved him. He would speak to them using sonar and they were always there for each other. His colors were even sort of close to the Miami Dolphins that are and has always been my favorite NFL team. I couldn’t ask for a better super hero to walk me down the aisle!

Needless to say, when they announced the live version of Aquaman was going to be released I was ecstatic! I only got happier when they announced who was going to play him. Jason Momoa, Khal Drogo of Game of Thrones, not quite the same cartoon image of my childhood Aquaman, but I was not complaining! Let the drool fest begin! I was thrown back to my childhood dream and once again I wanted to marry Aquaman. And to top it off, in the movie, just as he is about to jump out of a plane without a parachute he exclaims: “Red heads, you’ve got to love them!” So maybe my dream can still come true! (I think Mike will understand, don’t you?)

Batmobile 1966LORI SULLIVAN
Twitter: @LoriTwistedCork
Instagram: @LoriTwistedCork

Lori wasn't able to participate this month either but she did tell me she likes Batman because of his cool cars, especially the one from the 1989 movie.

Weird Science DC ComicsJIM WERNER
Podcast: Weird Science DC Comics
Twitter: @WeirdScienceDC

When I'm asked who my favorite superhero is, there has only been one answer...Dick Grayson.  When I tell people that, I often get the follow-up questions, Do you mean Robin? Nightwing? Even the occasional Grant Morrison fan smiling because I certainly must be talking about when he took up the Cape and Cowl for Batman back in the day.  To all of them, I just smile back and repeat myself...Dick Grayson.

I do concede that every iteration Dick has gone through are part of my love of the character, but it goes deeper than that.  As a kid watching Batman '66 reruns, I wanted to be Dick Grayson.  As a smaller than normal little boy whose parents didn't pay much attention to, I'd dream about how great it would be to be adopted by a millionaire and a superhero to boot!  Yea, I had to work around the whole circus death thing, but I made it work in my head.

Years later, when I finally made the jump into comics, I went to the familiar and picked up a Nightwing issue and fell back in love with the character.  This is where I finally get to my main point...loving Dick Grayson.  You see, after reading some Nightwing, then some Teen Titans, then some Batman and Robin and so on, one thing became clear to me...Dick Grayson is the best superhero because his power is being a good guy.  Actually, his power is being a great guy.

Sure, he's a smart acrobatic snazzy looking guy, but through story after story, if someone needed help, they called Dick.  Batman, Superman, Batgirl...they all would call Dick and the best part is, he would always help!  I bet you if I had to move to a new apartment this weekend, he would help me AND bring the pizza and beer!

When all is said and done, the idea of having the superpower of being a great guy is more and more needed in comics in these dark days and more selfishly, by myself in particular.  I can also mention that his secondary power of causing and ultimately escaping the ire of Dan Didio is pretty cool too, but that seems like it should be in a totally different article!

Twitter: @TheWineStalker
Instagram: @TheWineStalker

First of all, THANK YOU TO ALL THAT PARTICIPATED! I've got a real good one for next month, so let's keep this going!

It was reruns of the ‘66 Batman in the ‘80’s that got me in to super heroes. Adam West was my childhood idol. But it was Spider-Man that got me into actually reading comics. I mean, what’s not to love about Spider-Man? He won’t shut up and is constantly coming up with clever quips, his power set is awesome, and his suit is cool as hell.

But outside of Spidey and Moon Knight, I was always more of a DC guy than Marvel. That’s not to say that I don’t like Marvel, because I do. DC just creates a reaction that injects dopamine into my brain; that chemical we all equate to love. I legit love that universe and the characters in it.

I’m a huge Batman fan. The guy was an enormous part of my childhood. Bats and his villains, and let’s be honest he has the best rogues gallery ever, are the focus of most of my superhero / comic memorabilia. I even have Batman logo decals  over the Ford emblems on my truck.  Wally West was my Flash, so he’s one of my favorites as well as Barry Allen. Kyle Rayner was my Green Lantern and he’s a favorite too. (Although, my favorite Green Lantern now is Jessica Cruz.)

SupermanBut growing up I never thought that I would love Superman so much later in life. There's a reason why the very first superhero has lasted this long: he's always been the greatest of all time. Many dislike him because he’s over-powered or “the big blue boy scout” but that’s the point! He could destroy everything and everyone and just find a new home, and even states that like a boss to the earth elementals in For Tomorrow (my favorite Supes story).

When he needs to be badass he’s absolutely badass, no doubt. But even then he needs to hold back. And it’s because of this that the most important character in perhaps superhero history is Jonathan Kent, because he instilled Clark’s values into him. Superman could absolutely be Brightburn, but he’s just a genuinely good guy. And sometimes kind of a stubborn idiot.

A year or two ago an issue of Action Comics written by Dan Jurgens caused a stir when Superman protected illegal immigrants from an American would-be mass shooter who just lost his job. The message was clear: Superman is for everybody, regardless of who they are and where they're from, and that got a group of people on one side of politics a bit angry.

As I get older and watch my children grow up the more I appreciate what Superman stands for and how his parents effected who he is. Superman is for everybody, as we all should be, and the Kents are who we all should be as parents. Superman is my favorite superhero because he truly is the greatest of all time. And regardless of the political climate, he will always do the right thing.

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