27 10 / 2012

So the Marvel Movie Universe kind of broke my brain.

Lets back up. At the start of summer I had finally finished my part of this big huge graphic novel that had taken the better part of two years to finish. It was the only thing I thought about, cared, about, it was super stressful and thrilling and enraging and then it was just OVER. And I had nothing left to do but wait. I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I had gained quite a bit of weight working on it (beer, pizza, sitting), my endurance was shot, and I was left in a “Is That All There Is?” kind of funk. I wouldn’t leave the house for days, I played video games for hours or re-read books I had read a hundred times before, just kind of in that not-quite-yet-a-problem-twlight.

Then Marvel’s The Avengers was slated to come out so in prep I watched all the previous movies to catch up.I Watched Captain America a few times. Like …eight times. During one dark 3am of the soul I was looking at all my half-finished and failed plans and out of nowhere the thought hit me.

"Captain America wouldn’t put up with this."

And then without thinking, I knew what I had to do. Halloween was coming up in a few months. I was going be Captain America. But if I wanted to look at least halfway decent, man I’d have to start making some serious changes right now.

So I started to work out. And diet. Like a lot. I also started to do all those little daily habits that are supposed to break the insidious cycle of Feeling Awful All The Time. I brushed my teeth! I drank milk! I straightened my posture and opened doors for people and said “Thank you” and “Ma’am.” I had outsourced my Super-Ego to fictional characters who would be totally disappointed in me if I missed a day. I, on more than one occasion, said “Golly.”  I could say it’s a bit like Alan Moore worshiping a snake sock puppet, getting all the benefits of a religious mania but knowing full well you can always put the sock back in the box, but really I’m just kind of crazy. 

But crazy worked. I lost 25 pounds in 2 months. I got my running endurance back. I woke up at 6am to do calisthenics and remembered to smile more. And I began to put together the outfit. I didn’t want to do the superhero uniform, I wanted something that subtler, more every day. I kept going back to the movie.  Man, those SSR officers have sharp uniforms. Man Steve looks good in the bar in his dress uniform, why you could even use some of it in everyday clothing….

So weeks on eBay and etsy and wikipedia and scrolling through recreation and cosplay forums got me an authentic Ike jacket, SSR pins, a recreation wool shirt, period khaki slacks and modern chukka boots on a last second sale. It had to be perfect, or at least as perfect as I could get it in a few weeks without spending literally thousands of dollars (for the record, the final total was less then I have spent on whole outfits before, but if you count man-hours tracking stuff down ….well I don’t want to think about that too hard).

I think I did a pretty good job. And in trying for it, I think I actually became a better person. A little bit.

And finally, to everyone whose had to put up with me talking about this ON AND ON ENDLESSLY FOR MONTHS, don’t worry. I am DONE. I will find something new to rabbit on about while you politely nod. But I’m still going to do morning calisthenics and remember to eat my vegetables and make the bed and mutter “Stalwart and steady and true” under my breath if I’m feeling stressed and panicky.

Because the Marvel Movie Universe kinda broke my brain.

-JL

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