By CaptainMarvel4Ever 9 Comments
Happy New Years everybody, hope 2017 was good for all of you. As we move forward into 2018 I feel that I'm pretty much done with this site. In all honesty, I've been done with it for over a year (mostly hung around for PMs). It's not the best place, the code they use to make the forums, while buggy, is really great and useful, but other than that and the database on characters and comics, there's not much positive I can say about it. WIll it go under like some other sites did in 2017? who knows. I can at least say, positive or negative the people here have had a huge impact on me. I grew a lot as a comic fan here and met some interesting people, one group, in particular, being extra interesting of course, was this group of crazy futher muckers . One particular Viner I'll never forget was @impurestcheese, someone a majority of us knew and loved who was always very nice to me and an inspiration in her own right, who we very tragically lost last summer.
As some of you may know, I just made a large post on Captain Marvel's publication history with a list of reading recommendations.This is something I wanted to do before leaving, so I know fellow Vinders have a means to be better equipt to truly learn about the character. As part of both me leaving and honoring him as a character, I just want to touch on a little story about how Captain Marvel has touched my life, beyond just being a really moving character. It's more than a little personal, but I'll be gone anyways, so it makes no difference. The person I'll be referring to however, understandably asked not to be named, due to the personal nature of our story, and will only be recognized by those who were involved with what happened.
Back a few years ago on CV, in that group of futher muckers I mentioned, there was a new Viner who sent me a PM asking all about Captain Marvel. I gave him some recommendations and we talked, I learned not only was he new to comics, but also kind of new to socializing since he was homeschooled, and using social media in secret. We talked a lot, both in our PM, and in group PMs, having lots of fun as I told him about various characters, comics, writers, and artists from Marvel and DC while he told me about himself and his interests. I got him into anime and manga, started sharing some of my favorite series with him, like Hajime no Ippo, Pokemon Adventures, and Shaman King, which he loved so much he dubbed us "Shaman Bros." I name I gladly accepted. Eventually, in one of our group PMs he came out as bisexual, a bit of a surprise but ok good for him. We talked about that a bit in detail one day, and a few weeks later, late at night he sends me a message simply asking: "Can we talk, I think I might be gay" so we spent the night talking, I told him he didn't have to label himself and that he could feel how he feels, and he was good with that. Within a month after that talk, it was clear he was gay and as he told me, his parents were not only homophobic but also not mentally fit, they never let him or his sister leave the house, they didn't believe in seeing doctors or dentists, hated blacks and anyone of any religious orientation, and drank heavily. So we talked a lot more, and I just sorta tried to be a kind of big brother to him, being there for him... while also giving him a lotta sh!t and busting his balls teasing him just to make sure we felt we could say anything (and let me tell ya, when he came to terms with being gay, his sass gene kicked into overdrive). Kept my mind off my own problems too (I was going through one of the worst years of my life). It was just two people taking some time to talk about life through tough times. It was nice, and we made a lot of fond memories.
Eventually, as we got closer I felt like maybe I was doing more harm than good by being so close to him, and to be frank, aside from never having any interest in friends, I just didn't consider anyone I knew exclusively online anything more than an acquaintance, even for someone like him. I told him how he felt and it crushed him, then I just sort of gave him some distance and let him talk more with the members of a group of gay viners we assembled for him to talk with, since I felt not being a homosexual myself I couldn't talk to him with the perspective of somebody who's gone through the things he was going through. It hurt, but we sort of drifted apart. A few months later, I was in the process of leaving CV, and after leaving our group PM, I talked to him in our PM about how I was going, and we reflected a bit on our time together It got pretty emotional, and even though I was committed to leaving him be, letting the people I gathered be there for him, I just suddenly felt this overwhelming feeling of emotion come over me, thinking about how much he meant to me, and being crushed thinking of him being trapped in his home, hiding who he is, with people who barley cared for him as it was, let alone if they knew he was gay. I then thought about him being away from that, having a shot at a better life, the very American ideal both of my grandfathers fought for generations ago, and just decided even if it was next to impossible, I'd try and get him from where he was (Georga) to where I was (New Hampshire). I was moving out of my parent's place within a few months, I figured instead of buying a single living space, I could get him a job and get a two-person apartment. I had to convince my parents to let some stranger who was running away from his home and leaving his old life behind to come live with us for a few months and to help arrange travel up here. It took a while, but I spent a long time pitching ideas, working over how things could and would work out, and then got them to talk to him directly via emails, and they were ok with it. Problem was, aside from sneaking away from his parents, he had no ID other than a student ID from his community college, very little money and knowledge of how to use a phone or navigate. Eventually, we found out he could take a bus for cheap, and he'd only need a student ID. He and I spent a deal of time working out how he'd go about getting there, helped him memorize directions, what he'd need to bring, and how to slip out of his parent's house. It was hard, not just coming up with a plan, but knowing that even if they weren't treating him well, I'd be causing two parents to lose their son, and even worse, separating him from his sister who loved him dearly (thankfully she was very supportive of this). Eventually, it came to be the night when he'd leave, we exchanged a few messages, and I tried my best to fall asleep that night knowing what he'd have to be doing while I was there lying in bed.
That morning I waited to see if he had sent a message, he planned on bringing a Nintendo DSI, which has internet connection, so he could send me a message. No message. I went to work that day, trying to focus on what I was doing, while checking my phone every few minutes. Nothing. Eventually, my mom sent me a text, telling me that we'd need to talk at some point and that she had something very important to tell me. I told her I'd go somewhere I can be alone, and that she could call. She called and told me he had been caught, and missed his bus. I went home immediately, and we sent him an email, he got back to me saying he was locked in his room, he met a preacher on his way to the bus station who had a gay son of his own, and convinced him to give his folks a chance, which did not go well. They chased the preacher off, then took away his stuff and kept him in his room (they were unaware his DS had internet). He told me he thought things would get better, thanked me for being there for him, and said goodbye. I didn't believe that things would get better, I was sure things would only get worse. Anytime in the past it seemed like his parents may support him, they'd do something to squash that idea and empress some form of intolerance. He sounded like he had Stockholm syndrome. I tried talking to my parents, they said he could use that pass to get on another bus that day, but he didn't go, and my parents who were very angry at the time told me to just give up, and let it be. I couldn't accept that though, I convinced them to give me another week, and I went back to our group of friends in the PM where we met after being gone a month, told everyone about it, and they all messaged him asking him to go. Over the next few days, all of us were treating our group PM like a panic room, going back and forth on ideas, talking to him about it. His parents had locked him in his room and were keeping surveillance on him, it was clear things were not going to get better. I tried calling his town police, GLAAD, and the ACLU, but none of them got back to me. It was a tough time, I didn't sleep or eat very often, and while I knew he had no future staying there, especially now that they knew he was gay, it was crushing me to try and convince him to do this, to put this much pressure on a 19 year old and know I'd be changing the course of multiple human being's lives to such an extent. I also knew that if I hesitated, it'd all fall apart, and while I knew I wasn't any expert on what life should be, I knew it didn't feel right to leave him there and that any of the superheroes we love and admire wouldn't hesitate for a moment. So I kept at it, and so did our group of companions. We hit a snag along the way through, his parents started going into his accounts, telling him I was a 45-year-old man from Kentucky who was planning on kidnapping him. I was mad that he believed him, but it wasn't a time to be petty, so I sent a bunch of photos of my IDs and proof of who I was to one of his gay friends who was trying to convince him to leave, he called my mom to see if she was real, and he convinced him that they were lying to him. It seemed like he was convinced they were manipulating him, and we were closer to him coming to a decision, but ultimately it never came down to his choice.
About a day after confirming we were real, I was getting ready to go to work (I had too many obligations to take extended time off), as I was leaving, I saw I had just missed a call from Georgia. I figured his crazy mom tried to call me since she had already called my mom twice to verbally assault her, and tell her own lies to us (like that he was actually 17, even though that wasn't the case). It was bothersome, but I didn't want to run away, so I called the number back. The voice that answered was strange, didn't quite sound like a woman. I was confused, but then the voice said "It's me, it's [His name]" I almost couldn't believe it, I was at a loss for words, then he said, "We're Shaman Bros" and suddenly I freaked out, and called my parents over.
We ran around the house to our computers juggling the phone setting up travel arrangements for him while he told me what happened. His mom had hacked his email, saw what we were all saying, woke him up by throwing a trash bag full of clothes at him and told him "Get Out" he managed to swipe his birth certificate, student ID, and a little money on his way out. He spent a while wandering down a road on the highway when a cyclist pulled over and let him borrow his phone for 40$, he made a call to me (he managed to remember my number) but I didn't answer (missed by 1 minute) and so the cyclist rode off until I called back (scary to think what may have happened if I didn't call back). It was a messy couple of days, especially since he had no phone, barely any money, and no food, we even lost touch with him briefly, but thank the Lord he made it up here. I still vividly remember that first moment I saw him waiting at the bus station as my family picked him up. We went out to eat, and while my family was finishing his meal, he and I went to the comic & anime section of the bookstore next to where we were eating, and after a long ordeal, we just had some fun, like we would any other day of our PM, except in real life.
And now here we are, sharing an apartment, both employed, currently attempting to attend community college part-time while we earn some money for higher education. Things haven't been perfect, there have been some truly awful times, and we still struggle, but we did it, we're together, he's free to be himself, and it's pretty nice. He's made friends, has a boyfriend, has gotten in contact with his extended family (his mother cut off contact from them as her mental state decayed), gotten the chance to travel, and we both have fun together every day, reading comics, watching anime, playing records, it's a wonderful wonderful life (most of the time I've been typing this, he's been lying on the couch next to me, sick home from work, while I play "The Cure" for him as he watches Sailor Moon). I don't ever want to act like I didn't anything extraordinary, all I did was talk to another person, then help move them from one location to another, but it still means a lot to me. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, and something I just felt I couldn't accept not happening, and every day I'm thankful I pushed through, I don't think any accomplishment I ever make in my life will top this. I'm thankful to him, to my parents, to our friends who helped me when everyone else was telling me to give up, and to Captain Marvel, a heroic character who brought us together, who always reminded me when the two of us were talking that no matter the situation human kindness was all that was necessary to talk through something, and for pushing me to be bold and keep pushing when things were falling apart. I truly believe these heroes we know and love are more than just characters, they're ideals, collections of thoughts and ideas that push us to be better, to keep our chins up, and to push us to do what's right and that they serve a purpose. Maybe the Captain Marvel I know and love will never make a return in comics, it'll be sad if that's true, but having him have this kind of impact on both my life and my friends means more to me than anything else. Even to this day, the greatest hero of the Golden Age still shines bright, and I couldn't be happier.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, even if the experiences were mixed, the time I've had on this site has meant a lot to me and very clearly had a big impact on my life. Not sure if I'll come back at some point or not, but unless it's on the PMs I doubt it, this site really has very little to offer, especially with the loss of Impy (God rest her beautiful soul).
Since I want to end things on a more optimistic, and progressive note, 2018 brings upon us the 20th anniversary of my all time favorite comic book, Shaman King. To say this series means a lot to me doesn't even scratch the surface of how much of an impact it's had on me as an individual. It's a wonderful story that changed the way I see the world, and like Captain Marvel became a crucial part of my relationship with my friend/roommate. With the 20th Aniversary, it seems that some big plans may be in the works for the franchise, so I encourage you all to treat yourself and read this amazing series. Be it on a fan supported reader site, via Amazon orders or whatever, do yourself a favor and dig into this. I'd feel better knowing I'm leaving is less an end to something, and more a beginning for many other people, especially if it involves something I hold so so close to my heart (plus it's not like I was that close to anyone here outside the PMs, so you may as well have that as a take away from this message).
P.S. If you're curious, this blog's title is a reference to a scene from my favorite anime, Hajime no Ippo. I won't say what it was due to spoilers, but I will leave this image so those of you who have seen the series (which should be everyone, since it's amazing) will know what I'm talking about.