Fox News are going to think Christmas has come early with this one. In a short story by David S. Goyer in the landmark Action Comics #900, Superman finally realises that fighting for "Truth, Justice and The American Way" sounds more than a bit silly nowadays - even for comics. I like to think that most Americans have matured somewhat since the phrase was originally coined and realise that "The American Way" is a morally and politically confused idea. I'm pretty sure a quick poll of Americans' ideas about the American way would reveal a number of divides.
I had an epiphany this weekend. That is, I am a fraud here in the online world. It all started on an unseasonally hot and sunny Saturday in London - the Saturday just gone, to be precise. It was the inaugral Kapow! Comic Con in Islington and, as any mediocre comic blogger, I'd intended on getting all the goss, breaking a few exclusives and I'd announced earlier that I'd be "live tweeting" the whole event. None of this happened but that's not what makes me a fraud.
As with the last comic convention I went to (the London MCM Expo), I went with equal measures of curiosity and trepidation. This time, however, I'd bought my tickets in advance so there was the added sense that I could have just wasted £75 (the price of three weekend tickets).
It was there, surrounded by the hordes of comic fans at 11am on a beautiful day that it struck me. Mark Millar had described Kapow! as the Geek Glastonbury. He was right - I was packed in sweaty crowds, didn't see anything I liked and, look, I'm not going to reinforce the stereotype of geeks and hygiene but it crossed my mind. There I was, completely unimpressed, like I had just paid to get into an oversized, overcrowded comic shop and the Sun was beaming outside. And then it all started hitting me at once. What was I doing here? What had my life become since I started this blog and what was I dragging my girlfriend and good friend through with me that day?
I like reading comic books because I like a good story, I like art, I like fantasy, I like familiar characters and I like the struggle between good and evil. I have plenty of other books (the kind without pictures) and, at the time of writing, they still outnumber the comics. I also have plenty of DVDs and the majority don't involve superheroes. So why, I asked myself, were comics taking over my life? I really am not bothered about going out of my way to see clips from the Thor or Green Lantern movies. Yeah, if they're on the net, I'll have a watch and if they're interesting, I'll stick them on the blog to share. I'm not even interested in queuing up so I can see a film before it's out at theatres (the secret premiere was Super by the way). You know what? I don't even care about comics enough to buy them unless they're Marvel or DC or they're related to a film I like.
Somehow, an event that was supposed to bring people together and demonstrate solidarity in shared enjoyment had alienated me. I realised that, although I like comics, I am not a comic geek. Sure, I'm a geek in a lot of ways - even my job involves maths and the Internet - but the good people at Kapow! Comic Con were comic geeks. I'm just a bit of a geek who likes comics.
In case you haven't worked it out, what makes me a fraud about all of this is that I write a comics blog, which is something that should be done by someone with an incredible passion for everything comic-related, who will tirelessly inform you of every new development, debate who's stronger out of the Hulk and Thor and buy new comics for review every Wednesday. Maybe there are more people like me out there who will find Must... use... POWERS! and be drawn to that angle or perhaps I'll continue to attract thousands to pictures of Jennifer Love Hewitt as Wonder Woman or Alice Eve as Emma Frost. I enjoy writing about things I've read and comics continue to be a great source of interest but, unless I get a co-author who's more passionate than I am, you're still not going to get articles that get ridiculously detailed about even the superficial side of comics.