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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:


I just finished watching one of the best films I’ve seen in quite some time.

It’s called MAN ON WIRE, and it’s a documentary about how Frenchman Phillipe Petit, aided by friends, strung a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers in 1974 and spent 45 minutes walking back and forth between them. It’s an astonishing tale, made ven more so by the fact that it’s all true, and you can’t help but be captivated by it. You even feel tension throughout the film, though you know he succeeded and survived. That’s a hallmark of excellent storytelling.

But the movie also scared the hell out of me.

You see, I’m afraid of heights. Deathly so. And the still photographs and footage of Petit’s exploits are on screen for you to see in all their glory. And that means that at several points in the film I was unconsciously cringing, holding my breath, and trying not to feel vertigo wash over me. And here’s the weird part:

When I was finished watching, not only was I blown away by the film itself, I also had a greater understanding of my relationship to comicbooks as a kid.

My fear of heights kicked in at an early age- before I was ten as I remember it. And it was about that point that my true “taste” in comics manifested itself. I was addicted to Spider-Man, and my second favorite hero was Thor. Eventually I’d adopt Wolverine as my favorite character. But thinking about what I truly liked about those characters at this point in my life, I realize that their common denominator wasn’t just that they were published by Marvel.

No, it was all about the sky.

Sure, Spider-Man was a nerd like me, but what I really loved about him was the way he swung through the skyscrapers, completely unafraid of falling, loving his ability to glide through the air. He had no fear, and he had that wonderful webbing to carry him along. Plus: he could stick to the buildings, for Pete’s sake!

Thor? Thor swung his hammer and followed it as it pulled him through the sky. As he approached the ground, he twirled it around like a helicopter, helping him alight gently on the ground. And he couldn’t be injured or fall by losing the hammer- it always flew back to his hand!

And Wolverine- he could fall off the World Trade Center and his healing factor would repair him.

My taste in superheroes was dictated by the ones who had the ability I envied most: to not be afraid of heights.

I had never really put that together before, but now I know something a little more about myself. The movies, they do truly teach us about ourselves, eh? 

Marc Mason   

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