Friday, November 9, 2012

Addiction in Comic Books and in the Real World

by Aaron Myers

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Addiction in Comics

Comic books have explored superheroes battling addiction.

Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy was revealed to be a heroin addict in a Green Lantern comic book from 1971 (Albert). Although, Green Lantern and friends help him overcome his addiction, it is the first time we see hardcore drug addiction in a DC comic book (O’Neil 1971).

Marvel’s Spider-Man battled with addiction to power. Spider-Man bonds with intergalactic goo, an alien Symbiote. The Symbiote improves his superhuman powers, however the sentient alien changes his persona (Raimi 2007). He loses self control, acts on impulse, and becomes vengeful. He loses his personal identity. This specific story embodies addiction and the value of his life to quit using the Symbiote. A Spider-Man character, by the name of Eddie Brock, becomes the suit’s new host and the reader witnesses how his addiction to the Symbiote turns him into a homicidal shell with no self control (Raimi 2007).

More obviously - and probably the example that springs to most minds - Marvel’s Tony Stark, or Iron Man, battled an addiction to alcohol.

Real World Addiction

We frequently witness addiction in the lives of famous actors/actresses and musicians. We watch their lives being slowly torn away, losing the most precious thing every human being holds - his life.

Some of America’s greatest popular figures have been taken by the blight of their addiction. Chris Farley, River Phoenix, John Belushi, Kurt Cobain (contained lethal doses of heroin in his system before fatal self inflicted gunshot wound), DJ Screw, DJ AM (seen recently in Iron Man 2, before his death), Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, and many more have succumbed to death from drug addictions. Most of America has witnessed the warning signs of addiction from the living actor and actress, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. Addiction is an illness that challenges one’s value of life.

These examples demonstrate the horrors of letting addiction take over. Addiction will not necessarily turn a man into a murderous beast, but it will transform a man into something he is not, an entirely different person.

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About The Author

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Aaron Myers was born in Santa Clara, CA and currently lives in Sacramento. He is a student at Sacramento State University and plans to graduate next year with a Bachelors in Business Administration and History. Aaron has served as the RAW City Director for Sacramento. "RAW:natural born artists is an independent arts organization, for artists, by artists."

Myers says about himself: "I hope to use my Business knowledge to get into the Import/Export Business. This will hopefully grant me the opportunity to travel the world for work. I may use my History knowledge to teach, research trends for businesses, maybe do some journalism, or if nothing goes my way, there is always the option of diving head first into my favorite addiction, comic books. You may find me next to that barking Spiderman guy that we all know and love for his wackiness, wearing a second hand store's Green Lantern costume shouting obscenities at passing cars, while I slip ever more gently into a delusional disarray of comic proportions (comedic or dark).

I have a wonderful girlfriend, that treats me better than I deserve to be treated. I was afraid she may think ill of my comic book collection, however she embraces and encourages it. She is actually right by my side, most of the time, buying whatever graphic novel catches her eyes.

What Aaron is in to: Graphic novels (more interested in the darker comics, than superhero comics), gardening (don't laugh, it is relaxing), gaming on my Xbox 360, writing, and traveling, whenever possible. I usually put staying healthy or working out on that list, but I'm not going to BS you guys.