Do You Accept This Comic As Your Lawfully Readed Entertainment?
Dear reader, now that spring is almost upon us, we can officially say that bonding season is about to begin. To start this new era of excessive pheromones and nature-forced feelings of love, we will get together and enjoy a nice imagination-based exercise in which you become the main character of a story. Don’t worry, reader. The stakes aren’t really that high considering everything. Worst-case scenario you die and are directly responsible for the lack of life of about two or three dozen people.
Are you ready? Let’s begin! All we need is a brain! Preferably yours, but if you are scientifically savvy enough to control the thought process of a second-party’s brain – whether alive or dead – don’t let me stop you from experimenting!
Now, I want you to imagine for a moment that you are an everyman, an everywoman or an everysomethinginbetween. I know that your mother or some other relatives have told you throughout your existence that you are, indeed, a very special young [insert gender here
. I also know that you have believed that statement for a moment, at least. But, depending on how far along you are on the ladder of adulthood, there are varying degrees of plausibility imbued on the “you’re special” statement. However, in order to advance with this exercise, let’s suppose you are not. Whether you fell from grace or you never actually were within its grasp is one of those details you’ll have to fill in on your own and depends entirely on how much of the “every-” aspect of the phrase you want to focus on.
With that in mind, let’s insert your ordinary existence into any job that requires you to use either your very basic creative abilities or the complete expanse of your brains prowess. Absolutely zero brawn necessary here, so jobs like carpenter, foreman, woodsman or Home Depot worker are out of the question. You ought to picture yourself as a teacher, an architect, a graphic designer or an internet-based comic book reviewer.
Any job that can be described as anything but “stable” and with “reliable income”. If you or the terrible economic environment we have been thrusted in has already forced you take any of those jobs, congratulations, the amount of imagining you’ll need for this exercise will almost instantly half itself up.
Die HardMan or Die Very EasilyDude?
With our pathetic alter-egos already in place, we will transport them inside a chapel in the middle of nowhere to become the +1 of a random wedding guest. Go wild with your companion’s description. They could be the heir of a hotel empire, they could be an influential Hollywood producer or, even, you aunt Bessie. It doesn’t matter since a group of terrorists will crash the wedding armed to their teeth and the person whose +1 you are will be one of the first ones to die.
I hope you didn’t form any meaningful attachment to them. There’s no time to mourn their death, though, since now that they’re gone and the bride and groom have been taken hostages, you have become the defacto action heroe in this situation.
Why you and not the muscly guy who can barely fit inside his Armani suit? Well, that’s life for you. It rarely makes much sense. As of now, the burden of overcoming the terrorists and saving as much of the guests as possible has fallen on your shoulders.
You have to act quick. What are you going to do? Will you recite mathematical formulas so complicated you’ll strain the brains of your attackers? Will you offer them all of the mobile plans you have been peddling for years in order to have them reconsider how they manage their communication expenses? Will you sketch the bad guys to death? Will you design a logo for their gang so foul it’d make them lose consciousness?
If it was you on that fateful Christmas eve, would Nakatomi Plaza be safe and sound come midnight thanks to you or would you be (in)directly responsible of the deaths of dozens of people?
You Can Run But You Can’t Bride!
Do you want to up the ante? Picture this: Now you’re not the guest, but it’s your wedding day. You are still caught inside a dead end non-standard job, but you managed to make someone like you enough to get married. And it’s not just anyone, she’s one of the wealthiest human beings in the country. In fact, someone that you are 170% sure you love. This is it, she’s the one. This is the beginning of the rest of your life. Happiness abounds. But it feels one-sided. It has been for longer than you’d like to admit She doesn’t appear to look forward to the marriage.
She said yes to you when you popped the question, you remember that day vividly – there’s even a video file of it in your phone’s memory. Besides, she had an entire year to change her mind, to postpone or outright cancel the event if she so desired to. But she never told you she wanted out. In fact, she followed through with the whole thing, planning, deciding, paying, hiring, contacting. And, yet, she looks unhappy. You chalk it up to pre-wedding jitters. After all, she is wearing one of the world’s most expensive precious stones around her neck.
It’s too much of a responsibility. But her father insisted – the same one that was adamant the wedding took place in a chapel in the middle of nowhere to ensure your safety. He paid for it, after all. You both will have to soldier through and let the elation sink in slowly. Maybe that’s how it works for everyone.
That’s when a gang of crooks decide to take your wedding hostage. Not only that, but the leader of the attackers is her ex – and not just any ex, but the ex that still manages to light up her eyes whenever he lays her sight on her. She never looks at you this way. Will you have what it takes to save everyone and reclaim the “rom” part of this rom-com and attain your happily ever after? And will you be able to do it within four issues?
In my case, I know I would be a terrible choice for an action star. I don’t have the brain, the brawn, nor the facial hair to fit the part. I’m a rubber band ball of anxiety and self-doubt. The idea that a gun exists within my immediate perimeter can blue-screen-of-death my brain in a second, the sight of real blood urges me to attain the status of fainted. If, for some unfathomable reason, the terrorists attacking my office had set up tasks where the only way to save yourself is by pointing out every typo and misused comma within a text, I’m the one to call. Otherwise, I’m happy to play the part of hostage #81 – so long as I don’t get promoted to collateral damage, that is.
Everybody be Cool, This Is A Robbery!
I won’t even entertain the idea that all these years consuming media featuring impressive feats made by so-called regular people when faced with immediate danger has prepared me for such an occurrence. The opposite, in fact. Countless movies, books and video games that choose “action film clichés” as the vehicle to tell their stories have shown me how far removed I am to possessing the abilities needed to save myself from evil men with guns, let alone save someone else.
Simply put, I’d be the person at the corner screaming in tears about how “we’re all gonna die!” or something similar. No acrobatic exploits, no hidden strength, no driving expertise, no executable RTS knowledge that can be applied to any real-life situation; just tears, tears and fears. And dead people. Lots of dead people. That would definitely be my legacy:
“That one person who could have saved a wedding but was too busy crying in the corner so now everybody is dead.” I just hope Clint Eastwood takes enough interest in my case to make an Oscar-worthy biopic.
What I can say with utmost certainty is that, whether you think you’ll be able to pull through or are realistic enough to know you wouldn’t, the people behind the Going To The Chapel mini-series did explore this very scenario in an amazing way. This is not only a great read, with phenomenal pacing and a top notch sense of humor, they manages to imbue every single character with enough personality to be memorable – even though I could not for the life of me remember their particular names. The art style is great, the colors are fun, and most of the jokes are on point. But, best of all, it ends. It’s a complete story with an actual arch and finite acts.
I like stories that have an ending. They’re one of my favorite genres, the “knowing that the whole journey has an actual point to it” genre. The idea that I can start reading a story and being absolutely sure that I’ll be able to reach its ending without having to wait something between ten years and seven generations of human beings enthralls me. Comics rarely provide this experience, though.
Most of them seem tailor made to provide an ordeal that lasts for two centuries at the minimum. I mean, yeah, sure, one of the appeals of creatives entering the comic book industry is the possibility of generating your very own media empire based on that one weird character you doodled inside a high school notebook when chemistry class was extra boring, but that’s not suppose to be the rule of thumb. It’s an option, not the default.
There are times when one barely has time to lay down and read for precisely an hour, clock in hand, alarm at the ready to notify the exact moment lunch break’s over and it’s necessary to rejoin the workforce once again. Whenever destiny bestows this sad occurrence onto us, there’s no time to think about what happened in the third issue 56 that was published in 1974 exclusively in Chinese territories, there’s no time to reminisce about the connected universe of the movie franchise.
You barely have enough life to breathe and gulp down an exceedingly cold turkey sandwich. The only thing you can – and should – consume is a story with an ending. Something that can keep your mind occupied long enough to forget about your daily life, but short enough to allow you to fantasize about its plot and what you’d do if it were you in that situation.
However, I can concede people sometimes need to swim in the vast ocean that is an epic seven thousand-pages story to unwind, to forget about every aspect of their soul-crushing 9 to 5, to lose oneself in decade’s old lore that has to explain in a serious tone why ideas created in the 40’s might’ve looked goofy when in actuality they were really supposed to be grim and edgy. Such is the plight of being an adult.
Despite what they made us believe when we were kids, adulthood is such a terrible state of being that we need to escape from it as often as possible. Otherwise we’ll succumb inevitably to overdue bills below our front doors and the musings of the anxiety demon living in the outer rims of our ears, the one whispering all day long that we will never be good enough to achieve whatever our objective is. I named mine Carl. Carl is an asshole. I choke him by constantly playing video games into the early morning.
But if you only have a finite number of minutes before your significant other comes storming into the living room demanding some attention and starts planning the night out you promised you’d have last week, then you can’t go wrong with Going To The Chapel’s one hundred pages. There’s plenty of time to enjoy it and to know full well that you experienced the entire thing in one sitting without needing an encyclopedia to understand every single in-joke thrown your way.
I, for one, cannot wait for inevitable movie version. And, if no one is developing it, this is me asking Action Lab, the publisher, how much are the movie rights and how can we start this conversation?