It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a comic book education!
Burt's Eye View
A kid can learn a lot about life from reading comic books.
To this day, I avoid gamma rays and radioactive spiders. I know full well that the first would transform me into an angry, green guy, and ruin all my shirts. I would literally climb walls if bitten by the latter. These are good survival skills to know.
Without a comic book education, at this very minute, I could be a snarling green mass of muscle trying to tear through a tangle of webs of my own making.
I still read comic books — because I am dedicated to constantly improving my mind. I’ve checked out every collection of Donald Duck, Pogo, classic (funny) Archie, Tintin and Little Lulu that I could find at the local library to do just that.
Skip the graphic novels shelves — everyday life hands me all the grownup trauma and drama that I can stand. Good old-fashioned comic books are fun, funny and informative.
A fellow comic book scholar once noted that he knew the speed of light was 186,000 miles per second because of his studies of Flash comics and that the altitude of stationary satellites is about 22,300 miles, as covered in Justice League tales. Comics not only teach life lessons, but they improve your science grades.
Here are some of the other lessons I’ve learned in the funny pages:
● Fussing over fashion is foolish.
Most comic book characters wear the same outfit on every page. Dennis the Menace only changed for church and birthday parties — and he wasn’t happy about it. Why Fred Flintstone wore a tie to work in the rock quarry, I don’t know, but Fred never changed out of that same orange, black-spotted covering with the ragged tie.
● But if you’re a duck, you don’t need to wear pants, just a shirt.
● Capes power flight.
I figured out later that that one wasn’t true. At least, an old blanket with a torn lining that I could slip over my head didn’t help when I leaped off the front porch.
● Superhero masks have superpowers.
Anytime I pulled on my Lone Ranger mask as a kid, Mom still knew who I was. But when Robin slapped on a little mask with white blanks where the eyeholes should be, NOBODY could figure out that he was Dick Grayson.
● The same with superhero glasses.
Once Clark Kent slipped off his specs and let a little curl fall over his forehead, NO ONE, not even the super smart Lois Lane, could tell that Supes and Clark were the same buff guy. Yet, when I take off my glasses at home to hide from some chore, Terry always knows it’s me parked in the easy chair.
● Never stand on an X painted on the ground. A coyote lurks somewhere above ready to drop an Acme product on your head.
● Never buy anything from Acme. The company has everything you can imagine and terrific delivery service, but none of their products work.
● Gravity doesn’t work until you look down. Once you look down, you’re going down. Also, legs must churn for a couple beats before you actually move.
● “Eatsin’ me spinach” supercharges me muscles.
Apparently, Mom bought the wrong brand because my arms never popped like Popeye’s. M&M’s didn’t work as well as Underdog’s super energy pills, either — but they tasted worlds better than spinach!
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