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#1 Posted by RobertG (95 posts) - - Show Bio

Hello all, 
   I've been thinking about how I got to be the person I am today, how challenging my childhood was and how I still, in my opinion, turned out to be a decent person.  I am now 38 years old.  I discovered super heroes like most children do, watching TV and movies.  My earliest memories were the Super-Friends, The old Spider-Man and Marvel cartoons and the Superman movies.  Of course I cannot forget the 80's TV shows like Wonder Woman and Incredible Hulk.    
   I've been thinking about getting this off my mind and could not think of a better place to say than Comicvine.  I do not know anybody else who is really in comics.
   My parents divorced when I was 4, my little brother was not even 1 yet.  My mom moved us to California and we moved in with her friend and her two clhildren, who became my greatest and closest friends until my young adult years.  My mother's friend was not the best influence, and my mom quickly became addicted to crystal meth.  She met a man who was also a crystal meth user, they later married.  He was abusive, both physically and verbally, my mother was too far gone to really notice to protect us.  Life became Hell for both my brother and myself. 
   In the mid-eighties, I was given and old box of comics from from my step-fathers friend, who was also a user.  Superman, Batman, Thor and Silver Surfer are some of the books I can remember being in the box.  They became my escape from my reality, new heroes to look up to.  I started using my weely allowence of two dollars to buy comics every week.  I knew they weren't real, but looking back, they were much better role models than the people that surronded me.   Comics became an obsession for me.  I studied them, got all the "Who's Who of the DC Universe" and the Marvel Handbooks.  I would say by the time I got out of middle school, I new just as much about the comic world as the writers themselves. 
   It was their morals that looked up to, I realize now that I'm all grown up and looking back.  Superman always did the right thing, no matter how hard it was to accomplish.  Maybe he could have taken the easy way out, just killed his enemies, taken over the planet and make sure people were "good".  Who could have stopped him?  But morals came first.  Doing the right thing.   
   Spider-Man knew that with Great power came great responsibilies.  Someone our governments, religious establishments and corporations could take a lesson from.  Not to mention the rest of us. 
   Sometime in my late teens through my young adult life I let "supers-heroes" fall by the wayside.  I discovered smoking pot, drinking and dropping acid were also a lot of fun, made me popular with the cool kids (who I now realize most of these people were not really friends, just party buddies), and also was an escape out of reality. 
   This went on until about my mid-twenties, I had already grown bored with the acid, but still smoked pot and drank regularly. I do not have a personal problem with people drinking or smoking a doobie once an awhile, but is probably not the best idea for everyday.  I was living with my girlfriend at the time (now ex).  She knew of my comic book love as a child, and one day she came home with the Secret Wars trade as a gift.  I remembered this story.  I though it was great!  I soon went out and bought the Crisis on Infinite Earths trade, which was my favorite story ever, at the time, from my childhood.  The spark was back!! 
   Soon after me and my girlfriend broke up, within a year I had a new girlfriend.  (She is now my wife, we have been together for 10 years and have a daughter who is 7.)  Drinking became less important  after getting back into comics, something for evenings out or having a beer or two while BBQ-ing in the back yard.  Smoking pot slowly went away.  I became more focused, excelled in my jobs, got several promotions.  Then I had my own family. 
   I know there were man varibles in my life that shaped the person who that I now am, comics were not the only infuence in my life.  I do think these imaginary characters had a huge influence on my morals.  Even though these super-heroes were not real, they were real to me as a child.  I think they are still real to me, now that I think about it.  
  My brother turned out well, is married with 4 children.  Many of the people I know, including my family members, say he turned out well because I was a good influence on him.  I'm not sure I can take credit for that, but if I helped in anyway becoming the wonderful person he is today, then I am proud to have helped.  I know he was a positive influence on me and my best friend to this day. 
   My mother stayed addicted to drugs my whole life until recently, she has been clean for about 4 years.  She divorced my step-father when I was 20. 
   My step-father became addicted to heroin, had many serious health issues.  I never saw him again, I would be really suprised if he were still alive. 

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#2 Posted by gravitypress (2102 posts) - - Show Bio

What a great story! Well done on not becoming swallowed in the darkness. You were truly saved by a Superhero to become one.

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#3 Posted by harleyquinn12 (1853 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow. This just shows you how amazing comics can be.
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#4 Posted by RobertG (95 posts) - - Show Bio

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#5 Posted by Kal'smahboi (3976 posts) - - Show Bio

Terrific story. It's great that you've taken the lessons that these stories taught you and applied them and passed them on.
Keep fighting the good fight, brother. The world needs real heroic people like you to overcome adversity and help others do the same.

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#6 Posted by The_Warlord (1831 posts) - - Show Bio

This inspired me, thank you

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#7 Posted by Primmaster64 (21668 posts) - - Show Bio

This is nice dude. :D It seems in certain ways Superman does save/help people.

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#8 Posted by the_tree (8608 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice! Now you can be a Superman for your family! :)

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#9 Posted by SlimJ87D (12797 posts) - - Show Bio
@RobertG: I have a very similar story to share with you. 
My parents left me when I was around 12 to work aorund the country. Even though they still supported my sister and I, she was only 12 years older than me. She raised me the best she could. I mostly grew up on the streets and a lot of my childhood friends grew up to be taggers and gangsters. 
Also, the harsh environment I grew up in, and not knowing English I learned my ABCs when I was in 2nd grade... All the signs were showing that my life was going down hill but I discovered Spider-man. I saw how much he struggled even though people doubted him and it made me want to do the same. I failed a few of my classes in middle school but decided if Peter could find a way to be Spider-man even though JJ makes the media see him as a menace I could succeed. 
Today I made it as a Mechanical Engineer and obtained a dual BS in ME and MSE because of Peter Parker and later all marvel super heroes. 
My childhood friends have ended up in jail. Imagine if I didn't see the messages in comic books. I would be one of them. 
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#10 Posted by Stuka69 (130 posts) - - Show Bio
@RobertG: Good story, thanks for sharing. Comics are a good thing to have in this crazy world.