My dad bought me my first comic book when I was around 4 or 5 years old. It was an Action Comics, starring Superman. I could not get enough of “The Man of Steel.” I was later introduced to Detective comics, starring Batman. Months later I was thrilled to discover World’s Finest Comics, which teamed Superman and Batman. Then I discovered the whole D.C. universe: The Flash, Green Lantern, Aqua Man, Wonder Woman, The Atom, and a host of others! I started collecting them. My D.C. comic collection was my pride and joy. I could not imagine comics getting any better.
I was wrong. I was around the age of 10 when one of my friends showed me a comic book I had never even heard of. It was The Fantastic Four No. 26, where The Avengers joined the F.F. to fight the Hulk! Nothing I had read prepared me for this wonder-filled introduction into the Marvel universe. There were at least nine superheroes on the cover that I had never even seen or heard of! All of them battling this shirtless, muscular, green man to no avail. I could not take my eyes off of every drawing on every page. Superheroes were fighting Superheroes. They were making mistakes. They were in each other’s way! This was insane. I was enchanted. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was instantly addicted and I loved it.
Discovering The Amazing Spider-Man was like reading about my own life — an unpopular youth who felt like an outcast, bullied, riddled with self-doubt — that was me! I believe comic books tapped into my sense of justice and my desire to have someone protect me and my loved ones. They were about good versus evil and good always won in the end. That’s what I wanted out of life. Comic books offered me an escape from reality and an outlet for my frustrations.
Growing up as a poor black child, I didn’t see any heroes in my neighborhood. I didn’t read about them in real life. I was surrounded by crime and violence, hopelessness and despair. So I found comfort and hope in my comics. I must admit, however, that for me, this had become as close to an alternate reality as you could imagine. It had become a form of idolatry, because I thought too highly of my collection of mint condition comic books and the peace of mind they brought me.
I was in the 11th grade when I connected the dots that released me from this fantasy realm. Reading and studying the Bible helped me appreciate that the true God is more powerful than any hero or villain I read about in comic books! Isaiah 13:6 calls Him the Almighty. There is nothing He cannot accomplish and no one is smarter or wiser than He, as expressed in Psalms 147:5.
All of my life I had been taught to ask God to, “Deliver us from evil.” But in my heart-of-hearts I was secretly finding more satisfaction in the illusion of superheroes doing what only the Almighty can do — stop evildoers forever! The real avengers are coming and it will be far more spectacular than anything imagined in comic books.
Deuteronomy 32:43 says, “Rejoice, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants.” — New International Version.
Regarding the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, Psalms 78:35 said, "And they began to remember that God ... the Most High was their Avenger." — New World Translation.
2Thessalonians 1:7-9, tells us of a time when real avengers will rid the earth of all badness and “grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction.” — English Standard Version.
I followed the example set in Acts 19:19 and burned my valuable comic collection in a backyard fire. For me, it was the right thing to do, because I had lost my balance and didn’t want anyone else to fall into that idolatrous snare. Was it a mere coincidence that Superman was sent to earth by his father to save mankind? Superman also died to save the world and came back to life. Who is this paralleling? Why not teach your child about the real hope for salvation? Parents can take an interest in their children’s need for heroes and point them to the real deal. Not that all comics are bad, but using discretion can prevent the imbalance I experienced early on.
Just imagine — a world with no bad guys — not because the imagination of humans created superheroes. Almighty God has promised it! Psalm 37:10-11 says, “For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” — New King James Version.
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