Of Superheroes, Pizza, and Cocktails

The pine pollen is flying, and the mosquitoes are out in force. June has come to Maine, and it’s time to finish the spring gardening chores. Fortunately, today is a bright and beautiful day, and this afternoon Clif and I will be outside.

The last week of May, when our daughter Dee came to visit, was cool and rainy. Still, we had a good time. We are all movie buffs, and the rainy week was a perfect time to go to the cinema as well as watch films on Netflix. Our favorite was Avengers: Endgame. I know. Avengers is a blockbuster movie about comic-book heroes ranging from Spider Man to Thor. But it also addresses one of the most serious issues of our times—overpopulation—in a way that smaller movies seldom do. While Avengers has the usual mega fight at the end of the movie, it also gives the characters plenty of breathing room, allowing them to mourn the terrible loss of having half of Earth’s population wiped out by the supervillain Thanos. (For an economic discussion about Thanos and his plan, check out NPR’s Planet Money.)

I realize I’m going out on a limb here, but it seems to me that nowadays, comic books, fantasy, and science fiction are doing the best at addressing the major issues we face. On the surface, these stories seem to have a lot of folderol and fighting, but underneath they have a moral seriousness and scope missing in most mainstream or literary fiction. I’ve had this discussion in book group and on Facebook. Naturally, I’ve received push back, all of it thoughtful and respectful. The push back hasn’t exactly changed my mind—I continue to think that fantasy, comic books, and science fiction should be taken seriously. However, perhaps not all mainstream stories are entirely vapid, and I was too quick to dismiss an entire genre. Anyway, readers, if you have thoughts about this, please chime in.

Back to last week…

We went to the Kennebec River on a misty, cool day, and Clif took these pictures of the moody river and the bright chairs.

We also went to Cushnoc in Augusta, one of our favorite places to go for pizza.

We had cocktails and beer.

And, of course, pizza.

All in all, a good rainy week.



34 thoughts on “Of Superheroes, Pizza, and Cocktails”

  1. It sounds as if you’ve had a finest of times with your daughter Laurie and I love those bright coloured chairs by the river! 🙂💜 My personal impression is that we can find artists and writers across many genres addressing the serious issues of the day. I mainly read and write poetry and many poets, including myself, address these issues either directly or through metaphor on a regular basis 🙂💖✍ xxx

  2. Oh, that pizza looks good (I need to go make dinner before I’m tempted to order take-out!).
    Love those colorful chairs – they provide a bright spot on a cloudy day.

  3. I read a thoughtful commentary on the Marvel series of films which expressed some doubts about the level of collateral damage which seems to be needed to let the good guys win. Has no one heard of negotiation?

    1. Somehow, those supervillains never seem to want to negotiate. It’s all or nothing with them. And we can think of a few real-world examples without too much of a stretch. Europe was pretty blasted after World War II. In more recent times, Syria comes to mind. What awful destruction!

  4. Looks like a great week. Beautiful river! As for sci fi and comics–you may be right that there is a solid story and moral compass to them. I was put off sci fi way back in junior high and my comic books from childhood have cartoon characters in them. Still, I think we have different genres to reach different people. If it makes you think about your life or helps you understand the world, it’s a good read.

  5. Love the river shots, and for sure the pizza and beer look wonderful. 🙂 You asked so I’ll try and make an intelligent comment. I don’t read fantasy or science fiction. I don’t have a reason of any sort for not reading them, except I’m stuck on mysteries. I’ve had my share of political discussions but must admit they’ve never included overpopulation. You keep us informed, Laurie, because I always read what you have to say. :-0

  6. Interesting topic. While I was teaching I used to review books, (Young Adult) for a magazine aimed at High School and College students. Although I don’t read science fiction myself, I found most SF books were excellent …some were definitely looking at the bigger problems and issues in the world. ..and they were often the ones I recommended…and the stories have stayed with me.

  7. I don’t do the comic book stuff – not that I have anything against it – it just doesn’t interest me. However, I trust your judgement, and would expect you to be right.

    1. Understood. There are genres, such as mystery, that don’t interest me, but I don’t have anything against them. I just find it fascinating that supposedly escapist fiction is actually addressing today’s issues in ways that other form of fiction do not.

  8. I admit I don’t read contemporary fantasy or most sci-fi but it seems to me that they are, in part, an extension of what I think of as fairy tales, myth, and legend, where the bottom line has always been grappling with timeless issues of human relationships and epic battles of good and evil. Have you read Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces? I think it applies . . .

    1. I have read “A Hero with a Thousand Faces.” I agree with the timeless aspect of fantasy, etc. but I would argue that today’s fantasy and science fiction are addressing today’s issues as well, in ways that other forms of fiction are not. I find this fascinating. Maybe it’s easier to look at things at a slant?

  9. Shame about the weather but it sounds as if you still had a wonderful time with your daughter.
    Both of my daughters love sci-fi and fantasy films, novels, games, everything. They think the stuff I read and watch is too depressing and they’re probably right 😊

  10. I love the colourful chairs and the pizza has made me feel hungry.

    I agree with you that fantasy and science fiction is underrated. I always wonder what Shakespeare would be writing if he were alive now, whether he’d be appreciated and whether he’d have the power to change our ideas of what is worthwhile.

  11. I love everything about this post Laurie. The photos are fun…those chairs! The pizza set out on a tomato can stand! The thoughtful part about the Avengers endgame movie resonates with me. I am a Quaker with pacifist beliefs. I would never go to movies like the Avengers but I have a very dear 10 year old great nephew. He is my sister’s grandson and after she died of cancer 2 years ago I have reached out to him in ways that matter to him. So I go to movies I would have scoffed at as violent mass culture. He sits next to me at the movies and comforts me through the over the top violence. I have to say I love the Avengers movies. I can relate to the bonds these unique people share and their sense of being outsiders that care about justice not only on earth but in the universe. This has opened up new pathways of sharing with this very special boy who lives in Colorado. He has become my favorite movie date when he visits!

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