This is a stream of consciousness post. It won’t be polished, but it will be personal.
Some of you who are my friends, or follow me on Twitter know that I recently lost my uncle. He was an amazing man and one of the biggest reasons why I love the things I love. He took me to my first comic book convention. He introduced me to countless films, books and comics that I have grown to love and appreciate. I miss him terribly.
My Uncle Barry was the first major death I’ve experienced in my family. It was rough, and it still is. While watching The Dark Knight Rises (don’t worry, no spoilers), there was a scene that struck a chord with me. A character was talking to Bruce Wayne saying something like, “People can try to understand what’s it’s like to be an orphan, but only we know what it’s like.” Though I’m not an orphan, since my uncle’s death, I’ve been more sensitive to death in general. Whether it’s the death of a fictional character, or the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. Death seems to affect me more now because I don’t have to imagine what it feels like to lose someone you love. I know it. And unless you’ve experienced it, to quote that character again, you don’t understand what it’s like.
Now this post isn’t about death, or about TDKR, it’s about a realization I had during that scene. The reason why I love these “geek” things is because I can connect with them. All works of fiction are in some obscure or obvious way trying to tell us how to live, or not live, our life. I love geek things not because they are “geeky”, but because I can connect to them in a way I can’t with other fictional works. You, being a geek as well I assume, understand where that passion comes from.
We need these characters from tragic beginnings to show us that whatever troubles we have experienced, or are experiencing, we can overcome. We need to read and watch stories about the past, the future, the now and the never. We need heroes to believe in because we may not have them in our own lives. We need to lose ourselves in fantastic realms and outer space, because sometimes, we can’t deal with what’s going on in our own world. We need adventures and journeys to make our lives not as dull. We need villains to loath. We need something and someone to believe in. We need to laugh, love and cry. We need to understand why bad people do bad things. We need to know what to do when bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. We need to love people who can never die.
These stories, characters, worlds and adventures give us what we need. They give us what regular life may not, or cannot give. Yes, realistic fiction can give some of us that, but for whatever reason, we connect with these stories. And frankly we obsess about these stories, if nothing else, because they are damn good.