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Elliott Serrano Presents:

A funny thing has been happening to me lately. People who I haven’t spoken to in years, some even decades, are suddenly e-mailing me and getting back in touch. In the span of just one week, a woman who I was once engaged to and yet another who I once had a childhood crush on both messaged me via that wondrous social networking site Facebook.

And it’s not like I’m a hard guy to find, mind you. If you Google my name you’ll find me all over the internet, both with CWR as well as the Chicago RedEye.

(Oh yeah, and there’s that entry on Amazon. Coolness!)

But for whatever reason, old friends are suddenly contacting me, asking me how things have gone as the years have passed, which makes me wonder if this is the way God tells you ‘son, get your affairs in order ‘cuz your clock’s almost run out.’


This caused me to reflect on a bunch of things, one of which is related to comics. It’s somewhat ironic when I consider that these two women I refer to were, in essence, the Lana Lang and Lois Lane of my life. My childhood crush was the one who I was convinced I would one day marry. In fact, there were many in my family who thought that my crush and I would get hitched, have kids and live happily ever after. But as anyone who reads the Superman books knows, Lana and Clark weren’t as ‘meant to be’ as many readers would have thought or even hoped for.

After a number of family problems, my ‘Lana’ and I would drift apart and go our separate ways. She would start making new friends, building a life and become a person somewhat different from the one I first became enamored with.

Then, the woman who’d be my Lois Lane entered my life. From the moment I saw her, I was smitten. She was attractive, funny and full of life and personality. When I tried to talk to her, my tongue grew to 3 times its normal size and I couldn’t speak. When I finally mustered up the courage to speak with her, she’d smile in a way that may my knees quiver and my heart would skip a beat. Oh yeah, she was the one.

And if I were living in a comic book existence, she probably would have been ‘the one’, but life has a way of reminding you that it’s no fantasy, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. My Lois and I would have a somewhat torrid relationship, full of passion and promises to ‘love each other forever,’ but the fires of young love soon cooled and complacency and apathy would set in. And unlike Lois and Clark’s, our relationship would fracture and split, leading to a massive breakup that approached the magnitude of the multiverse being torn asunder.

(Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but when you’re young and breaking up with a former model, that’s how it feels.)

Looking back, it all seems so silly and trivial, although it didn’t seem so then. Getting your heart broken is quite often a part of growing up and these days the idea of marrying my childhood sweetheart does seem pretty simplistic to my adult eyes. But it all speaks to a certain characteristic that fanboys and fangirls all seem to have: the reluctance to accept change.

There’s a reason Lana and Lois are the only two women that Clark Kent will ever love in his life: readers would never accept another woman. The idea of Superman having feelings for any other woman (or women) would be considered blasphemous!

Why do we never have stories of Superman after his days in Metropolis? He certainly outlives Lois, Jimmy Olsen and the whole Daily Planet crew in many narratives, so why no adventures in that distant future? And why is it, in those brief moments when we do get to see Superman outside of the context we’ve known him for so long (i.e., Batman Beyond) he’s pining for a woman he lost so long ago? Is it that the Man of Tomorrow is incapable of adapting? Is Kal-El unable to learn to let go of the past and love again?

And if so, why is that?

I’ll tell you why, because WE are incapable of adapting. WE are incapable of letting go of the past. WE, as readers, insist that these characters remain in a polybagged and boarded stasis that keeps them from evolving beyond the parameters of our expectations. We fear change and wish to keep our emotional environment frozen in temporal amber, never moving and never evolving.

And it’s times like this, when I have these realizations that life isn’t like in the comics, that life does change, that I’m truly, TRULY happy.

Because if I had run away with my Lana, or married my Lois, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have lived the life I have and become the person I am today. I wouldn’t have met the people I know how and made the friends I have. Can someone tell me why is it that Superman only has Lois and Jimmy to truly count on as friends? He can move planets but he can’t make emotional connections? Sheesh, the guy needs therapy if you ask me.

Now there are many lessons I’ve learned from reading comics that I’ve taken to heart: the heroes help and give to their fellow man, while the bad guys hurt and take from their fellow man.

And there’s one lesson I’ve learned to ignore: the only happiness you’ll ever know is with your childhood sweetheart or first love.

Happiness is where you find it and you can find it anywhere, but only if you’re willing to adapt and change when the situations call for it.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Oh, I almost forgot: Congratulations Jann! I wish you and James the very best, even as I add you to the long list of gals who’ve broken my heart. j/k!

Elliott Serrano is a writer and columnist who has learned to embrace change. And when he means ‘embrace change’ he’s not talking about the Skrulls in the Marvel Universe. And while he will embrace the idea of a new status quo in Marvel, he ain’t buying the idea that Norman Osborne is the new head of H.A.M.M.E.R., whatever that means. Check out his columns at the RedEye web site and the Comic Culture Warrior You Tube Channel. 

E.R. Serrano

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