2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized

Christmas 2015

What a difference a year makes!

Last year at this time I had just resolved a year long “crisis of faith” started by the passing of my father on Christmas day 2014. I had recommitted myself to a new fitness regimen by simply walking more and I had been re-diagnosed with Crohn’s.  And, this blog was less than a month old. So much has happened since then…

First, and most importantly, I still have my faith. This has and continues to be sorely tested given all the horrible events that we have witnessed in 2015 both world wide and at home. But, I have an understanding that God provides us with the tools to be better human beings. It is not up to him to solve all our problems we are not his pets. We are his children and the best way sometimes for children to learn is to allow them to figure things out for themselves. I firmly believe that if we truly commit to our faith – without perverting it for our own selfish desires and the principles of faith, hope and charity – the world would be a better place, regardless of your religion.

Second, my health is pretty darn good thank you. I started Humira as my only treatment for Crohn’s and this, along with watching my diet better, has proven to be a very good move. I have not had a major flare up since starting the treatment (there have been very brief “upsets”) and my energy is better than it has been for years. I’m stronger in middle age than I was in my thirties and that’s a bit of a miracle right there!

Third, I may not have achieved all my fitness goals but I’ve clearly made progress. I’m back in the weight room and rebuilding some muscle that I lost in 2014 (the tape measure and my lifts prove it) and I now not only walk but actually run. I’m even planning on doing some mountain climbing this coming June (Long’s Peak). A feat I don’t think I could have even considered a year ago. Old age isn’t for sissies as they used to say and it isn’t for being bound to a bed or a wheel chair. Stay active, stay strong, and I’ll show those tight skinned whipper snappers that a few aches and pains aren’t going to keep me down. Heck, I don’t even miss the hair on the top of my head anymore…okay, maybe a little.

Fourthly, I’ve committed to expressing my creative side in different ways. I continue with tap dancing, I’m working on my play writing again (slowly but surely), and I find time to audition for plays that I want to act in.

Fifthly, I did have some challenges and disappointments professionally this past year. But, by staying true to my work ethic and with some good fortune I’m still happily employed. The reality is that none of us is guaranteed work in this day and age regardless of how well you do your job and sometimes you are viewed as just a number on a spreadsheet. It doesn’t help to worry about it, but be smart. Keep the resume up to date and keep sharpening your skills!

And lastly, I’m talking to more people. Which has turned out to be good for me (I don’t know how the people I’ve talked to feel about it). I made a goal to not be the wall flower anymore. This has lead me to some interesting conversations with strangers and to even adding a few new friends. And thanks to social media I’ve even reconnected with people who I thought were long in my past. The only difficult part of social media is learning to ignore the negative and argumentative people…of which there seems to be an endless supply.

So, to sum up, I’m looking forward to 2016. If it’s like the past year it will be a wild ride, but I’ll be better for it. I hope you will be better for it as well.

Onward!

 

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Posted in Faith, Fitness, Health, Ramblings, Religion, Self Image, Theatre, Working Out, Writing

Life Along the Recycling Center Route

So as I’m pulling out of my drive to go to work this morning I see a large box lying in my yard from Bodybuilding.com. My first thought was that perhaps it fell off a delivery truck or that maybe Santa just missed my chimney.  But no, it was empty so I’m sure it came out of the back of someone’s pickup as they headed to the recycling bins. There was also half a sleeve of raisin bagels lying nearby. Upon further inspection I also found an unopened sample size of some Cellucor pre-workout – score!

Because of this discovery I’ve learned some important lessons today (and a couple not so important):

  1. Roadkill bagels taste better than store bought bagels.
  2. Don’t mix pre-workout with Diet Coke.
  3. If you do mix pre-workout with Diet Coke it turns out that you can type up to 150 words per minute (my keyboard is starting to melt).
  4. Based on the size of the box someone in my town is trying to get jacked up to Hulk like proportions. Let’s hope he, or she, has only good intentions for their new found strength.
  5. If you are going to the recycle center you should really make sure that all your boxes are properly secured in the back of your pick up. At least I hope the box wasn’t just tossed out the window…

Okay, so maybe I really didn’t eat the bagels or take the pre-workout. However, I’ve been toying with the idea of adding back some protein supplement into my diet and maybe trying a pre-workout again. So I’ll take today’s finding as a sign from the universe. I happen to have some sample packs that I have never used and should still be good (I’ll check the expiration dates first of course). I’ve never been a big fan of supplements but think that they do have their place. In the past pre-workouts have left me a little too jittery so I’ll be trying things slowly. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

By the way, a quick update on my Crohn’s – everything is still going well with the Humira. I’ve had some mild digestive “upset” here and there, but nothing that could not also be from normal indigestion/heart burn. I’m getting stronger from my workouts and except for the usual aches and pains of middle age feeling pretty darn good.

Onward!

P.S. – Please don’t eat bagels found along side the road!

 

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Posted in Bodybuilding, Crohn's, Diet, Fitness, Health, Humor, Ramblings, Working Out

Talking to Strangers

As children we were all told by our parents or guardians “don’t talk to strangers.” This warning was practical advice for children, because there is danger out there for all of us and a particular evil that preys on the young. However, this warning – right or wrong – also goes against our natural human curiosity and trains us to become more guarded in the information we share. Again, this may all be well and good, but as adults I think that we need to be re-trained to do the opposite. To reach out and on occasion at least, talk to strangers.

I consider myself an introvert. Those who know me may find it hard to believe, and probably think I never shut up, but I find it difficult to strike up a conversation with people I know well and nearly terrifying to speak to someone I haven’t met. If they approach me I don’t have much of a problem (though I’ve been told I can come off as cold and aloof). But to start the conversation…well, let’s say that there are many a times when I pull the tactic of just hanging back and waiting for someone else to notice me in both social and professional situations. Like most wallflowers, taking the risk of making a new connection is a learned and forced behavior.

However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I need to talk more to strangers. We live in an ever increasingly complex world and to navigate this world we need to be able to draw upon a wider range of knowledge and experiences both professionally and personally. Google is great, but it doesn’t replace the first hand experiences of someone who has lived through something.

So, I’ve started ignoring my mother’s advice and am trying to talk to at least one “stranger” each day. This may be as simple as a quick “hello” to someone in passing and with the holidays on us I can certainly greet more folks with best wishes for the season. Sometimes, it’s more involved, like noticing an interesting article of clothing or someone doing an activity and making a comment on it and striking up a conversation. Sometimes the conversation is brief and you never see that person again. However, sometimes you “hit it off” and find yourself with a new friend. More often than not, I’ve discovered that the results are somewhere in between.

For example, recently while traveling I noticed a young man at the airport with an athletic bag and a college sports team. I approached him and asked if he played for that team and this began a conversation as we walked through the airport and I learned about his business, which happened to be in a field I’m interested in but outside of my usual work. We exchanged names and a quick Google search later (surprisingly easy to do and not at all stalker-like…) and an invite on LinkedIn and I have a new connection. Will be lifelong friends and best buddies hanging out at the mall after work? Not likely, but I have no doubt we’ll stay in touch and who knows? The old me would have just walked on without taking the chance. But because I reached out, maybe we’ll one day share information that will benefit one or both of us in some way.

And speaking of Google and LinkedIn, what a marvelous world we live in with the advantage of social media. I know that social media has taken a beating in the news and among some circles as an outlet for bullying, pornography, etc. However, used properly it’s power for sharing and making connections cannot be denied and for those of us who are inherently shy it is a “safe” way of making and maintaining contacts we would otherwise never have.

Don’t get me wrong. There is no – I repeat, no – substitute for good old fashioned face to face human contact. We need to meet other people, be friends with other people, love other people, to thrive as humans. Even our rivals and enemies have the potential to make us better. But for those who find it difficult to talk in person and/or are shut in, social media provides at least the semblance of human interaction. Thanks to social media I now have friends, followers, connections, etc. with people I never otherwise would have any contact with. I communicate regularly with people throughout the USA, Canada and much of Europe. Our bond may be as simple as we all have the same disease (Crohn’s), are interested in the same things, or maybe met once in an airport, hotel, amusement park, or hiking in the woods (all places I’ve met people who are now friends).

My point is that, as we say in NACAS, make “connections that count.” Why don’t you go out and make a couple new ones today.

Onward!

 

 

 

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Posted in Management and Leadership, Mental Health, Ramblings, Self Image, Society

A Year of Blogging

WordPress has told me that I’ve now been posting this blog for a year (since November 19, 2015). So I thought maybe I should reflect just a little on what’s been going on with the blog.

First and foremost, I enjoy keeping the blog. For me it is a little bit of a journal of my life and a way to occasionally vent and/or muse about things. I started out focusing only on my fitness journey but soon changed things up to cover a wide variety of topics including my life with Crohn’s disease, comic books, leadership and management, and whatever else strikes my fancy at the moment.

Here are a few stats I find interesting:

I’ve made 68 posts so far.  33 in 2014, 28 in 2015 and the rest are dated 2013 or earlier and were imported from another site.

Over 1,000 visitors (I’m sure many are repeat) have been to the site and looked at things 1,680 times.

The most views on one day occurred on December 2, 2014 with 49. The blog entry was “Peter K. Vaughn – Profile in Crohn’s Courage” from the day before.

The most popular time to read my blog is on Sundays at midnight.

I have 35 regular followers (thank you).

I’m read from all over the world now (sort of). With most views coming from the USA.  Followed by Italy (where I have a friend), then Ireland (another friend), Italy (yep, I know a guy there too), Germany, the UK, Russia, India, Switzerland, Portugal, Singapore, Pakistan, France, Croatia, Denmark, Bangladesh, Australia, Netherlands, Greece and Argentina.

In 2014 the top 5 blogs where:  “Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – a New Wrinkle (115 views),” “Peter K. Vaughn – Profile in Crohn’s Courage (58),” “Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – Step One Completed (45),” “The Day After…Thanksgiving (39),” and “A Day in the Life of a Crohn’s Flare Up (39).”

So far in 2015 they are: “A Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes (56),” “Early Inspirations (43),” “Crohn’s Update: Humira (31),” “January 25, 2015 Update (30),” and “When is an Arm Considered Big? (23).”

Overall Top 5 Posts:

Peter K. Vaughn – Profile in Courage (59 tie)
Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – A New Wrinkle (59 tie)
A Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes (56)
Reflections on A Visit With a Doctor (47)
Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – Step One Completed (45)

Not surprisingly, most of the most read posts have been in regards to my Crohn’s disease. Not the direction that I had intended for this blog, but it seems to be the one that people are interested in.  After Crohn’s fitness/bodybuilding has the most reads, social issues, and then coming in last my thoughts on management and leadership. To be fair, all the stats are not kept in WordPress as my blog is cross posted to other social media sites. So, for example, my posts on management do much better over on LinkedIn than on the site here.

So, as interesting as this all is what will I do? I’ll keep posting things as I like and hope some folks have enough interest to follow along and even comment on occasion. Watch for more about Crohn’s and fitness and I’ll be talking more about roller coasters and my play writing pretty soon.

If you’d like to see me post on a particular topic just let me know. Chances are I’ll be glad to share my thoughts and opinions (of which I have many).

Onward!

Posted in Ramblings, Uncategorized, Writing

Fitness Quest: Weight Loss, Running, Weights, and Crohn’s

Rockwell Bodybuilder

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new blog so I figured at the very least I should update everyone on my continuing quest for greater fitness as I move through middle age (better than the alternative, right?).

The good news is that there is no news. My Crohn’s has been pretty calm since I’ve started taking Humira several months ago. Sure, I have a grumble here a little constipation and/or diarrhea there but no days long bouts of intense pain and lack of energy and overall “pushing” just to get started for and through the day. I have a CT Scan on Monday and hopefully it will show that there has been no significant progress of the disease putting off the day I’ll need surgery for a little longer.

On a tangent – I attended an IBD Patient Update hosted by the University of Michigan IBD team and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with participants from Henry Ford Hospitals and Baylor University. A lot of good information from this session. I finally learned that my medicine may costs about $40,000 a year for those who don’t have insurance (yikes!). No cure is on the horizon but several potentially game changing treatments are in clinical trials. It also reaffirmed that given what could have been that I’ve been very, very fortunate with my Crohn’s. It turns out that 44% of patients with Crohn’s have required surgery by 9 years after diagnoses. Me, I’ve gone about 30 so far. Surgery, if it goes well, often does provide relief. But too often it is temporary and then there are a host of potential complications. Most that I don’t even want to think about but may discuss later.

I haven’t been running lately, trying to rest my shins and recondition them before running again. The pain was getting pretty bad. However, I am keeping up with my walking and watching my diet. I need to move from just counting calories to better tracking my “macros” though. I think if I up my nutrition that I’ll make better gains in the weight room and with fat loss.

Speaking of the weight room, it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve started lifting again regularly. I was pretty sore after the first couple workouts but I’m doing better and my lifts are getting heavier. I’m also working out about once a week with my brother-in-law again and he helps to push me simply by staying ahead of me in his bench press. Though this should not stop you from trying. Friendly competition never hurts as long as you don’t get hung up on the fact that some people will always be better than you at something. In fact, I’m still “competing” with a couple friends to see who can do better over the course of time in terms of fitness goals. Celebrate other peoples success and you’ll be happier in the long run (trust me).

So, overall, I’m down in weight about 15 pounds since this time last year. I’m stronger, faster, and feeling pretty good overall. Not where I want to be, who is after all, but getting a little closer each day.

Onward!

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Posted in Bodybuilding, Crohn's, Diet, Fitness, Working Out

My First Comic Con: Monroe 2015

It might surprise some of you to know that even though I’ve been reading comics for just about as long as I can remember and have been a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy for at least the same length of time that I have never been to an actual comic book convention. So, this year I decided to make a short trip to Monroe, Michigan (where I hang out a lot actually) and go to the 3rd annual Monroe Comic Con.

I knew that it would not be as big or as glitzy as some of the larger cons out there and certainly nothing to compare to the San Diego Comic Con, but I’m glad to say that this local show met my expectations and more.

The first thing I had to decide was what to wear. I first put on my official San Diego Comic Con t-shirt from the National Cartoonist Society that was given to me as a gift and then put on a pullover with the Superman “S” shield on it (it was a cold day). The Superman pullover proved to be popular as three people stopped to ask me where I got it from. Unfortunately, I’ve had it so long that I can’t remember. My best guess is that it was a gift and purchased at one of the now defunct Warner Bros. stores.

I did not go to participate in the events or dress up for the costume contest (aka cosplay) – however, a friend of mine took “honorable mention” in the cosplay contest – but just to get the feel of the event. I walked around the vendor floor several times (got to get the steps in, too) and chatted with some people whose work I’ve enjoyed over the years such as writer Bill Messner-Loebs (Flash, Wonder Woman and artist Arvell Jones (All-Star Squadron), met an independent “local” comic book creator, Dominic Riggio of Mess Bucket Comics who it turns out also has ties to Necroland by the way (which I act in)!

I also found out that the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranges are on average shorter than you might expect and that actor, romance cover model, former English teacher and Monroe native Mike Foster is literally a “giant among men.” Very tall and super-heroic looking…and part of the reasons that the Rangers looked so small now that I think of it. I also bumped into a several friends from around the county as well.

I saw one of the modified DeLoreans used in the “Back to the Future” movies (I had also seen one in California, but I got to get closer to this one). Several Star Wars robot models and a mock up of Iron Man’s “Hulkbuster” armor by Monroe native Rob Miller.

Did I have a good time? Definitely. Will I go again? Most likely, depending on time and my availability. Will I dress up like my favorite super-hero and walk around. Unlikely…

Onward!

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Posted in Comic Books

Fitness Quest: A Run in the Woods

So Monday, in my continuing quest for greater fitness (and overall looking good) I decided to mix things up a bit and stop for a run along a trail after work Monday. Of course I’m using the term “run” loosely but thought it would be interesting to see how I did off a track and on a trail. So I stopped by one of my favorite Toledo Metroparks (Wildwood) which I had not been to in far too long, laced up my running shoes, turned on my running app and took off.

The course I selected was about 2.3 miles long and I planned to run 1/5th of a mile followed by walking 1/5th of a mile. This lasted for about half a mile then I fell into a 1/10th run…jog…waddle and 1/10th walk. I cleverly timed the running portion to always go uphill…yeah, I totally planned that part.

Traffic on the trail was heavy, as anticipated since Wildwood is one of the most popular parks, and everyone from a grade school class of runners (who only lapped me once), teens, young adults, middle aged folks and even a few elderly folks. The day was hot and humid.

I realized that runners, and walkers, have a sort of code when encountering each other on the trail. Often just a nod of the head, or a quick wave to sort of say “hey, I see you kindred spirit – just can’t talk now.” Other gestures are more complex. For example there’s one with the little finger and index finger extended, like surfers use, which seems to say “I see you. Keep going, if you don’t make it back I’ll help identify your body,” and another less popular gesture using the middle finger which seems to be for “dear sir, perhaps you don’t notice that I am behind you and cannot get around your <expletive deleted> FAT <colorful colloquialism for buttocks>!” or am I the only one who gets that? My favorite signal is from other gentlemen, like myself, of a certain age who smile knowingly while breathing hard. A gentle nod and slight wave that says, “me too brother, me too…”

At one point I spotted a man dressed in yellow who appeared to be on a trail which ran perpendicular to mine and then parallel with me until he disappeared silently into the forest. I never found the intersection of the trail he was one with my trail nor did I see his trail on a map. So, I can only presume that he was some sort of modern version of a Will o’ the Wisp and there to encourage me to continue further along my path. Such a waste of supernatural energies as it only served to freak me out (perhaps the lack of oxygen to my brain at this point had something to do with my line of thinking at the time).

Going up and down hills, or what pass for hills in Northwest Ohio, was different and I did feel it in my thighs the next day. However, running through nature has a charm and attraction all it’s own. It is difficult to hear the sounds of the woods over the loud breathing and beating heart, but the sights are there. The changing of the light as it filters through the green canopy above, the rustle of smaller wildlife getting out of your way. All reminders that we (i.e. humans) used to be one with this environment. It’s where we came from and in many ways it’s were we need to return to. A slower pace that reminds us that life is bigger than any one of us and should be preserved.

Though I didn’t do as well as hoped, I was pleased that I was able to actually run much of the trail and I followed my 2.3 miles with another mile or so “cool down” walk along the Ottawa River where I saw a couple deer and a Great Blue Heron…and a couple runners from the other trail who were still at it…good for them. Maybe that will be me one day. Though I won’t resort to the one fingered gesture.

There’s no glory in victory if you can’t be humble about it after all.

Onward!

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Posted in Fitness, Health

Fitness Quest Update

Rockwell Bodybuilder

Well, my quest for fitness is still ongoing – as I suppose it should be for the rest of my life when I think about it – and the good news is that I’m starting to notice some progress. I’ve entered into a pact of sorts with my sister and niece and we are all working on the Couch 2 5K program. Not doing it strictly by the book but I’m surprising myself each week that I’m going a little farther and faster each time. In addition I’m also walking during lunch at work and am up to 2 miles. The heat makes it a little difficult as I do get a little sweaty now so I’m taking a fresh shirt with me to use while walking so I don’t make the rest of the office suffer from my presence when I get back. Again, I’m seeing progress in my speed and distance.

Not seeing much progress on the weight loss though which is frustrating as according to MyFitnessPal I’m staying under my calorie goals each day, plus all the extra cardio. However, I’ve noticed that my “macros” are still off and I’m not getting enough protein and worse still I seem to be substituting the protein with fat. I’m going to have to do a better job on my meal prep I think, especially for dinner.

I’m also a little surprised at the number of fitness apps I’m using now: MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun, MapMyWalk, and my Jawbone UP2. Plus, I’ve put together a small group of like minded Facebook friends (which I really appreciate and enjoy), have a fitness board or two on Pinterest and still check out Bodybuilding.com on occasion. I think I have actually crossed the line from dabbling in fitness to starting to live a fitter lifestyle. Now if I could only get the biceps to grow again. I mean, a low heart rate is great and all, but you can’t flex your heart (or at least you shouldn’t)!

I wonder if it’s too late in life to have abs?

Onward!

P.S. the Humira seems to still be doing the trick for my Crohn’s. I’ve only had one significant flare up in the past couple months. It lasted for a while but was never to the point that I was incapacitated more than one morning.

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Posted in Bodybuilding, Crohn's, Diet, Fitness, Working Out

Superman and Supergirl: Observations on Character

If you are a fan of comic book super heroes it is a good time to be alive. After decades of being relegated to comic book stores and garage sales, comic book characters have hit the big time: movies, television, toys. No matter where you look there’s an Avenger, a Justice Leaguer, or some comic book themed movie or show you didn’t even realize was from a comic book (“Walking Dead” anyone?). Yep, it’s a good time to be alive…

Except when it isn’t.

One of the frequent complaints from fanboys and girls) is that whenever a character makes the leap from the printed page to the silver or small screen is that the character isn’t treated properly (just listen to the amount of complaining, grumbling, and skepticism surrounding the new Fantastic Four movie – much of it, in my opinion, justified). However, I think that there is a bigger problem and that’s when writers in the characters home medium (comic books) don’t seem to understand the characters that they are writing about either.

Now, some difference in interpretation of character is to be expected in comics. Most characters are handled by multiple writers and artists over many years, if not decades for the most popular, and let’s face it – times and expectations of the audience change. However, in some cases, the mishandling of the characters actually happens from the beginning. For example, let’s look at the last survivors of Krypton – Kal-El and Kara Zor-El aka Superman and Supergirl.

I’d be willing to wager that Superman’s origin is well known to the vast majority of the western, and possibly the rest, of the world. Rocketed as a baby by his parents, Jor-El and Lara, from the doomed planet Krypton, he was found by a kindly couple, the Kents, and raised as their own son in America’s midwest and grew up to be a reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper fighting for truth, justice and the American way.

Now a lot of this makes sense (in a comic book way). If Superman was raised on Earth in America’s heartland (Smallville, Kansas for those who don’t know) of course he has good old fashioned American values. And for several decades he was portrayed as pining away for the planet he never knew. Presumably, like the adopted child who never knew his parents he searched and did everything he could to embrace their culture without ever knowing it. This was sometime’s taken to extremes though and even dealt with in a wonderful story by Gerry Conway (I think) where Supergirl and the Kandorians (more survivors of Krypton…for a time there it appeared that only Jor-El and Lara actually died when Krypton exploded) go so far as to try and convince him that he is not actually Kryptonian and needed to stop obsessing about it. This plot was undone in part because they never came up with an explanation for Krypto (Superman’s dog) and other small loose ends. Okay, I can go with that…mostly. I actually prefer John Byrne’s interpretation that though Superman learned about Krypton’s society later in life he never really missed it – because he didn’t live it. Heck, for most of his formative years he didn’t even know where he was from!

My real issue is that Supergirl (Kara Zor-El by the way, not one of the other similar characters to be named Supergirl over the years, including a clone of Lana Lang who later was merged with a human being and became and angel…yeah, it’s complicated) has usually been portrayed as completely accepting her lot, loving people, and rarely if ever misses Krypton. The problem? To my memory every version of Kara Zor-El, including presumably the version who will be seen on CBS this fall, actually spent her formative years on Krypton! She was a teenager when sent to Earth by her father (Jor-El’s brother). She was not raised by humans, let alone in the American heartland. She is truly a stranger in a strange – and technologically primitive – land. Superman was the baby rescued when adopted. Supergirl is the refugee who’s world has been destroyed and thrown into a situation completely against her will.

To be fair, Supergirl was first created in what we would call a more innocent time when kids, not adults, actually were reading the comics. Her purpose was to not only expand the “Superman” brand (i.e. merchandising) but to draw in young girls to comic books so many of her early adventures involved romance (a trap that even Wonder Woman fell victim to, by the way).

My point in all this? Not sure I really have one. However, I think that as a writer it is important to pay attention to the origins of any character you might be writing about. Whether it is a play, a short story, novel or even comic book, you are better off if you don’t deviate from your core character without writing in a reason. And when it comes to movies about comic book characters it’s always my hope that the writers of the movie or television show remember what made a character popular for so many years. And for the writers in the comic book world to do the same,

Onward!

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Posted in Comic Books, Popular Culture, Ramblings, Writing
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