Sunday, January 20, 2008


"If a superhero can be such a powerful and effective metaphor for male adolescence, then what else can you do with them? Could you build a superhero story around a metaphor for female adolescence? Around mid-life crisis? Around the changes adults go through when they become parents? Sure, why not? And if a superhero can exemplify America's self-image at the dawn of World War II, could a superhero exemplify America's self-image during the less-confident 1970s? How about the emerging national identity of a newly-independent African nation? Or a non-national culture, like the drug culture, or the "greed-is-good" business culture of the go-go Eighties? Of course. If it can do one, it can do the others."
-Kurt Busiek, in his introduction to "Astro City: Life in the Big City"

I've been asked before, by family, by my girlfriend, by friends, why I read comics, and even more geekily, why I invest so much time, money, and passion into the Vs. System card game. It's hard to explain, but I think Kurt Busiek does a pretty good job. Superheroes have a metaphorical, a symbolic power, almost by their very nature, both in their own fictional world but also, more importantly, in ours. A superhero can emulate the angsts and needs of his time, but he can also reflect the bygone values of a lost age, or the emerging hopes of a potential new one. In a way, the genre of 'superhero fiction' - not really a genre, I know - is among the most modern and versatile genres there are.

Vs captures some of that passion for me, some of that screaming power. Don't get me wrong, I don't play it just because of the superheroes - I play it because it's the best damn game out there. But without that initial push, I might never have learned about it.

I don't know where you're coming to this blog from, if you're coming at all. Some of the posts - obviously! - are extremely Vs-centric, and some are very comic-book-y. Sometimes I'll talk about movies, and sometimes music, and sometimes I'll tell you what my favorite novels are, or what I love in role-playing games. Whatever. I guess this post was a little post-intro-explanatroduction, and as such, I'll keep it succinct.

Go out and try something new. If you're a Vs. fan who never picked up a comic book, or never strayed from the Big Guys (Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, etc...) give something else a shot. Try out Blue Beetle, by John Rogers, or Grant Morrison's Animal Man, or Seven Soldiers. Or go way out there, and hit up something like Lucifer, or Y: The Last Man.

If you're a comic book fan, give Vs. a shot. You can build decks and play them for free online, and if you want me to teach you with a game or two, let me know. It's a great game, it really is, and it has one of the best player-bases I've ever had the pleasure to interact with.

And, if you don't like either Vs OR comics...well, you've got a whole helluva lot of things to try out, don't you? Enjoy them!

Download for the program to play Vs free online:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I had been missing out on this absolutely brilliant blog. No more. You are now on my blogroll, and in the article on Feb. 12th on the mothership. This post is solid gold.