When people talk about their love of Superman, it’s often talking about how he brings out the best of humanity and brings hope to the masses. I’ve been able to see that more about the character since I got out of my complete worship of Batman, but he’s never been able to stir inspiration in me. I’m not really sure why. Maybe because he often does seem infallible, or my view of him has been shifted due to things like Superman: At Earth’s End or The Death and Return of Superman.
It’s not just Supes though. I never really had a character in comic books that really made me want to fly. The closest I had was Batwoman, but she doesn’t fly. She fights. She soldiers on. You don’t look to the Batfamily for hope in others. You look to them to smile at the darkness. I came to love Supergirl when her and Stephanie Brown teamed up, but that was for stories of two teenagers fighting movie monsters come to life. I didn’t have my Superman and I think I was okay with that.
Until Captain Marvel, that is.
Marvel Comics was a bit of a slow burn for me. I started getting into the characters through the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1606, but then I started gaining an interest in 616. Weirdly enough, I finally bit the bullet on reading mainline Marvel comics through Sex Criminals (which I have expressed my love for on the website before). I fell head over heels with Matt Fraction’s writing that the minute Comixology put Hawkeye #1 up for free download as a Christmas gift, I grabbed it and finally understood the hype. It was my first taste of a superhero comic I wanted to keep reading.
Around the same time, I had been reading Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios. I had an interest in Captain Marvel, but no way to read it yet. Lucky for me, Comixology had put up the digital of In Pursuit of Flight right before Christmas. I took the chance and dropped $11 on it.
Best decision I had ever made. I even dropped the money on the two issues of Avenging Spider-Man that co-starred Captain Marvel because I had fallen so hard for her.
That day, I finally understood what it meant to have a Superman.
Carol Danvers came to me in a weird time in my life. I was suffering a crisis of confidence. It’s weird to explain without delving into too many personal details of my life, but starting in the summer, I felt myself on a slow drain of what made me me. I was undesirable. I was a threat. I was a waste. I was… nothing.
But then I had this fireball of a woman who was stubborn, hot-headed, funny, caring, and driven. She was complicated, and living day to day with her own struggles. Some extremely unique, but still weirdly universal. To the point where when Carol literally loses herself, a whole city rallies behind her and screams “I AM CAPTAIN MARVEL” to help take down a robot made by a woman that would rather see her dead than have a flawed hero take what she believed was her rightful place in the spotlight.
For the first time I could remember, I had a hero that made me feel like I could fly high. That I could break the sound barrier and punch holes in the sky. She wasn’t perfect or god-like, but she could still rally. She could fight in the face of losing herself and still remind the world that she was a captain, dammit. She didn’t replace Kate Kane in my heart, but rather began to work concurrently. Where Kate taught me to soldier on, Carol taught me to go for higher, faster, further, and more.
I thought I was nothing, but through Captain Marvel, I discovered I was everything.
And if you’re reading this and love her like I do, you probably caught all my stupid references to the comic. Congratulations!
If you didn’t, the entire run of the 2012 series is on Comixology as well as the 2014 series. Both are written by Deconnick and are worth reading. Carol is currently heading to space with the Guardians of the Galaxy and I cannot wait to see the next part of my favorite flygirl’s journey.