When i was younger i was fascinated by Super Heroes. I mean, who wouldn't be right?!? A being that looks like any other human, that is able to fly, or teleport, or shoot laser beams out of his eyes, or stretch to incredible lengths, or control the weather, etc. How awesome would that be! They always stopped the bad guys, and always made sure justice prevailed. I know it is trendy today for young adults, and even more... mature people, such as myself, to appreciate the comic genre, but it really has been a life long interest for me; although, i never did dive very deep into the various Marvel or DC universes. To be honest, i just couldn't afford to keep up with even a single title, let alone dozens. Especially when the story lines 'crossover' between the various titles.
The first superheroes i remember where Superman and the Flash. I was first introduced to them a neighborhood 7-Eleven (comics and Slurpees). It was a storyline where they raced each other, can't remember who won now though. There was then a huge gap from then (i was about seven or eight) until i was in my mid teens (about fifteen). I was given an X-Men comic. I don't remember the story, but i remember Angel, Cyclops, Phoenix, and Professor-X. I also remember Wolverine. I was immediately drawn to Angel and Cyclops. I had always wanted to fly, and since i have worn glasses for as long as i can remember, that power beam shooting out of Cyclops' eyes was awesome to me. From then on i went as often as i could, and especially when i was able to scrounge together the money to actually buy a comic book or two. While i still really liked Scott Summers, Angel wore off, and i began to like some of the others, like Storm and Kitty Pride. At first i was indifferent, but slowly the character Wolverine really began to 'speak to me'.
When i first saw him in the comic, his rough demeanor, and his hesitation to become a willing member of the team, grated against my own desires in life. I wanted to be around nice people, and be a part of something larger. Unfortunately, i was really a lot more like him than i wanted to admit. Often the other kids around me were not to my liking. Either they picked on me, or they did not think and act like i did - and that weirded me out. So, even though i didn't want to believe it, my life really was somewhat parallel to Logan's. I struggled with my own rage, my own struggle to find out who i really was. I know some may say that these next recollections are more akin to wanting to look back and see what i am seeing, but this is really how i was. Two instances readily come to mind.
The first one was when we were playing a game called 'Maul Ball'. Basically it is a gang-up game where everyone who does not have the ball (be it a dodge, basket, or football) tries to tackle - aka 'maul' - the one who does. In this case, it was a small game, maybe only four to seven players. I had the ball and was doing a decent job of keeping away from those who wanted to 'maul' me, when out of the corner of my eye i see my brother just get leveled. I have no idea why it happened, but i no didn't care. I dropped the ball and charged head long at this kid, who was about my size, but out weighed me by a good twenty pounds or more (i was a thin stick of a kid, it took me until i was thirteen to break 100 pounds). He never saw me coming. Picture an NFL receiver going across the middle who gets decked by a Free Safety. I laid him out, and proceeded to stand over him, challenging him to get up. Which, from what i remember, didn't happen (him getting up to challenge me).
The next one was when friends of mine and i were practicing a game called Dagorhir. It is in essence, a medieval reenactment group, with a fantasy element to it. Now, these were long time friends, guys i ate lunch with everyday, played Dungeons & Dragons with - everyday. I liked these guys. Well, i did something to really irritate a friend who i will call "Tynie", and he let me know it. I wasn't having it though. Things got heated and he threatened to shove my cushioned sword down my throat. That was it, i told him to come down from the stoop he was standing on, and try it. He took one step towards me and laid in to him. A single punch to his nose, and down he went. In my anger i shattered his nose in five places, and cracked it in three others.
While typing those two examples, quite a few others came to mind. I am not proud of any of them. I only share them to try and illustrate that i had a side to me that no longer cared about my own well being, that no longer cared about those around me. My world became so focused on the point of my rage that i was going to commit whatever act of aggression that i had on my mind at the time, come hell or high water. I am very glad to say that i am no longer this disconnected with the real world. For one thing... i never had Wolverine's incredible regenerative ability. The other, i really don't have his skills either. There was a very real danger that my actions would attempt to 'cash checks' that my body just would not be able to support.
Even as my mind was slowly awakened to the real world consequences around me, i found myself more and more drawn to the Wolverine character. As the writers and artists and Marvel slowly fleshed out his storyline, i liked him even more. With his sense of honor and martial prowess... it's weird - most likely - but, in a lot of ways he is a 'hero' to me. A fictional one, but one nonetheless. I liked what i saw in him, and i wanted to be him.
Well - it's been many a year since i last bought a true comic book. They've gotten even more expensive and i can afford them even less now. I have bought the occasional graphic novel - which is usually nothing more than a handful of issues compressed in to one volume, and the adverts removed. Which is much more preferred by me actually.
In the end, and this irks me to admit this, but Wolverine has been my overall favorite comic book character. It irks me because he is arguably the most liked Marvel character. I can't speak as to why other people like Logan, but for me it came down to all of the things i saw in him, that i also discovered in myself. I saw a man who felt lost in the world he was compelled to live in. I saw a man who struggled to know himself, a man who didn't think himself worthy to live among those with such ideals (his fellow X-Men), and yet he had a sense of duty to those very same people. He thought of himself more of an animal than a man, a creature who struggled to contain his own rage and was a threat to those closest to him, this is why he always kept others at arms distance. When he met Mariko and learned of honor and the ways of the samurai, he learned how to control the rage within, and a means of an outlet when needed. He found a purpose, a way to live his life if you will. For me i never did find a purpose within the way of Bushido, not completely. For me, my true purpose was only felt when i finally gave in to my Master's call, the Lord Jesus Christ. In that way we were different... well that, and the fact he was a completely fictional character.