Tag: spider man

Spider-Man

I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I was fourteen years old and my parents had just paid for my first subscription to The Amazing Spider-Man comic book. Having grown tired of my whining for sixty cents every month and my pestering of the local drug store for the latest issue they gave in to my demands and sent in a check for $7.20.  I could hardly wait for the first issue of my favorite super-hero to arrive in my mailbox.

I was a Spider-Man from way back you see. As far as I could remember. Well, I’m guessing that my ability to recall things started at age five so at the time probably about nine years if you want to really get technical about it.

Regardless, if there was anything Spider-Man related, I wanted in on it. I loved the idea of  how a guy everyone considered a dork (like me) could become this superhero with all the abilities of a spider. The red and blue tights concealing his identity only added to my excitement.

Want to know how much I love Spider-Man? Here are just some of the highlights:

  • I remember literally running home from school to watch the old Spidey cartoons from the 1960’s. Although I must admit, I thought the people who created it must have been high on mushrooms or something because some of the crazy psychedelic scenes were a bit over the top.
  • My brother and I shared a room growing up and he used to wake me up in the middle of the night. He’d say I was dreaming that I was  Spider-Man and literally trying to climb the walls. I still haven’t forgiven him for rousing me. I mean, bro, I was Spider-Man!!!
  • My neighbor friend and I actually made our own Spider-Man movies with an 8mm camera complete with costumes.
  • I was laughed to scorn when the live action Spider-Man series was on television in the mid 1970’s. You definitely take your lumps when you’re a Spidey fan.

Back to my original point: I was so excited to be getting my first Spidey subscription that I eagerly checked the mail every day. Days turned into weeks but I knew my heart my boy Spidey would never let me down. He’d arrive, just in time, like the theme song from his cartoon said. Sure enough, one day I opened the mailbox and there was a comic book completely surrounded by a brown paper bag style wrapper. Spidey was HERE in all of his red and blue glory!!

I hastily tore open the paper in anticipation of what lay inside, being extra careful not to tear any pages. I could just picture Spidey beating the crap out of Dr. Octopus or The Green Goblin. Maybe the cover would have a picture of Spidey’s girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson, dangling from a building along with some villain laughing menacingly as Spidey was just out of reach of grabbing her. I could hardly wait.

Anticipation and excitement vanished immediately and my jaw dropped when I saw the cover of issue #252 looked like this:

What the? Who is this? Someone must have screwed up at the comic book department. My parents checked the wrong title when they ordered. NEW Spiderman? What effing’ rumors are you talking about? I never got that memo. Apparently though, some alien costume had replaced the red and blue tights my homey always wore and I was NOT a happy camper.

With a quick look insider this comic I determined there was no red and blue costume at all. This was NOT my Spider-Man so out of frustration this issue quickly went into the garbage. On a side note: today that issue, which cost sixty cents back in 1984, is now worth $55.

Looking back though, I still have good memories of my days with Spider-Man and we still see each other when ever a new movie comes out (the next one being next summer).

Sadly, my dreams of being Spidey and climbing the walls don’t seem to be happening any more (thanks Bro). I do, however; still have my comic book collection tucked away with a lot of good back issues (one of them NOT being issue #252 thank you very much). I’ve even transferred the 8mm movies onto DVD so I can enjoy all of the adventures again. I’ll be selling them for $9.99 an episode for anyone interested.

It sadly took four years of this dark costumed imposter posing as my boy until the red and blue suit returned but the damage had been done. I had spent the better part of my teen years suffering in silence as my favorite hero played dress up. But it all worked out. I’m just glad my Spidey came back!

Spidey and Me
Advertisements

My Imaginary Friend

At first I wasn’t sure if I should even tell you this story. Quite frankly, I was afraid that you might think I was crazy. I’m not talking “Oh, well we all have our moments” type crazy. No, I’m taking “put on the white straight jacket and throw me in the rubber room” crazy. But in the end I surmised that the notion of you thinking I was crazy pales in comparison to what actually happened to me and therapy hasn’t helped.

My doctor believes that writing this down might be cathartic for me since our sessions of late haven’t been going all that well. Sure, there have been some breakthroughs and revelations since my breakdown six months ago, although I’m still not even sure how I was able to suppress the memory of it for twenty years. He’s been wrong before, like the time he upped my medication and I slept for three days, but for the sake of my own sanity I’m willing to take his advice if it brings me closure.

You must understand that the thought of reliving events about my childhood and things that go bump in the night isn’t something that really appeals to me, but if it somehow brings me solace and gets me off of these meds I’m willing to take the chance. So here goes.

To tell this story properly requires a little explanation. Growing up, some children are prone to having imaginary friends. Some invisible person that comes to play with them, listens to their problems and talks to them in a voice only they can understand. A rite of passage some doctors believe may fill a void that exists in a child’s life. Something that’s very common and also quite healthy if you ask my shrink.

I too was one of those children who experienced the imaginary friend phenomenon growing up. But having the experience is where the similarities end. In those cases, the children all grew up to live normal lives. But in my case, the “friend” wasn’t invisible, didn’t come to play and surely didn’t give a damn about my problems. In reality (yeah, now there’s a funny word for it), my “friend” also wasn’t a person. Mine was actually a “thing” if you really want to know, and very far from imaginary.

When I was eight years old the visits started and they continued twice a week every summer for years. Always starting on the Summer Solstice, June 20th, and always the same way.

Deep in the night while tucked under the covers of my bed I could hear it. The scuffling from underneath. The sound that broke me out in sweat like a Pavlonian dog, making my heart race. Coming from the place I promised myself I’d never peek under for fear of what might come out and pull me down into darkness.

From the moment the sound began I quickly dismissed notion that it might be a mouse in the wall. Looking back, I wish it had been an army of rats. Anything would be better then what was coming.

I also quickly discovered that first summer that Spider Man wasn’t real either. The night light with the wall crawler on it that sat near my bedside, the one my Mom had bought me for Christmas, the one that religiously guarded me in my bed and vanquished all foes, would be of no help.

So I pulled the covers up to my nose and prayed to God to make it go away. Promising him that if he’d help me just this one time I’d be in church every Sunday for the rest of my life.

Telling myself that if I just close my eyes suddenly the sun would be shining and my mother would be yelling for me to come down for breakfast. I’d hear the sound of birds chirping outside my open window and the swaying of bed sheets hanging on the neighbor’s clothes line in the warm summer breeze. The smell of bacon would fill the air and I would reassure myself that last night was only just a bad dream.

But this wasn’t a dream. I was still under the covers in the middle of the night and could hear rain pelting the window outside. Worse still, I was too scared to call out for help as the shadow began to rise from under my bed.