Sometimes a man just feels compelled to expand his repertoire.

But respectfully.



More below!



Time To Strap On The Cape


There’s probably a lot of jobs that people enter with an idealized fantasy of what the job is going to entail. They may have been warned that the job isn’t really like that; they may even know it, at least in their frontal lobes. But in the secret depths of their imagination, they still cling to that fantasy of their “dream job.” Lawyers picturing themselves bringing evil criminal masterminds to justice. Veterinarians healing so many animals that they basically become Dr. Dolittle. Policemen becoming one-man crusades for law and order. Webcomic creators igniting the world with their brilliance and becoming fabulously successful.

But then the actual job begins and reality begins its inevitable grind into soul-crushing despair and dismay, followed by the gradual decline into a dull but tolerable ache of rationalization and acceptance. Bills to pay, family to support. Lawyers end up defending the scumbags they would have preferred to put away. (Somebody has to.) Veterinarians finding themselves putting down more unwanted pets than saving them. (Well, at least they can do it humanely.) Policemen discovering that their job is mostly paperwork, resentment, and hassle. (You’re not allowed to play Wyatt Earp these days.) Webcomic creators discovering that igniting the world takes work. Lots of work. (And keep your day job.)

But every once in a while, if fate permits, there can come a moment when opportunity arises to live the dream. To be the hero. To step up, no matter what the challenge may be.

There was a time a few years back when the artist of this comic came to me complaining of dizziness and weakness. He’d had a flu recently, but that couldn’t be it. Besides, he kept passing out. And his belly was swollen. And he was yellow.

I had no idea what was wrong or what to do, so I took him to our medical center. Since my wife and I work in animation, we’re covered under the union plan at Motion Picture Hospital. This is primarily a hospital where aged film crew types go to decline gently away. You can also get flu shots. They have excellent facilities, but their focus these days is mostly palliative care.

When I escorted in a 23-year-old who could barely stand, the staid, solemn facility erupted in a startled flurry of activity. Tests and X-rays quickly determined that he had ruptured his spleen while trying to work out during the flu and was bleeding internally; had been for some time in fact. Actually, he was about to die.

Surgeons and medics were summoned from the far reaches of the facility. And they arrived running. I remember seeing the head surgeon (who I swear looked exactly like George Reeves as Clark Kent from the old Superman series) striding heroically through the middle of the waiting room, holding up X-rays to the fluorescents as he did so. His expression was one of both grim determination and absolute confidence. You could almost see the “S” glowing through his shirt.

It was bad, but he knew what to do, and he knew he could do it. You could sense that after years and years of assisting elderly people to mostly just do as well as possible until they passed, here was suddenly the real reason he had become a surgeon. A young man was dying — and he was going to save him.

And he did. It took over a week of hospitalization, but as you can see from the artwork above, the artist recovered just fine (minus a spleen.)

Oh sure, there were the usual hassles with Blue Cross afterward, but they were all resolved eventually. And you may be sure the staff and surgeons heard our gratitude many many times.

So life may have its grinds, but sometimes a lawyer does get to convict a scumbag or free an innocent man. A veterinarian does get a chance to restore a beloved injured pet to health. A policeman does get to nail a serial killer. A fictional hero can realize that in all the world, he is the one man who has any chance of reaching the trapped victims in a high-rise inferno.

And just for that moment — they all get to wear capes.

— Bob out


Oh, and the webcomic creator? …well, maybe they can get an upvote on TWC.