The Meaning of Maturity: Comic books and the nudity of ‘Equus’ “HULK SMASH!”
Maturity is a word that was invented to keep the adult population dormant from the dreams of their youth. Maturity is designed to be a concession to mediocrity. When someone says that a person is mature, they mean it as an insult. They intend it to mean that one knows their place, takes orders well and won’t rock the boat. In essence, maturity is the bolts that hold machine politics together. When young people put away the things of childhood to embrace the realism of adulthood, we call them “mature,” or say that they have “grown up.”
Well, more than once, I have been referred to as “immature” by my peers because as a man in my 40’s I still love video games and comic books, just as I did when I was younger. I also still hold to an idealistic state of justice that only exists in the world of comic books. Contemporaries insist that my youthful views have no place in the political arena, and it is for that reason that I write books instead of hold any public office. The characters in my novels are often reflections of events I’ve personally witnessed in actual confrontations with members of the established political arena, and my reluctance to play ball the way they learned to play the game makes them very, very angry. That’s typically when the word “immature” is used.
I grew up with comic books, and I have never left them. Comic book stores were some of the first places I took my children and they learned to read by getting comic books and looking at the pictures and trying to figure out what the words meant. I see comic books as works of art that emit modern mythology that is very much needed. The definitions of right and wrong are very apparent in the comic book universe of youth, which the adult likes to call unrealistic. To the “mature” adult compromises must be made, and the world is shades of gray. That is in essence an incorrect view of life that opens the world to evil.
I can say such things about comic books because I have the context of advanced literature behind me. I have read and enjoyed many of the most complicated literary classics there are, particularly Shakespeare, and can report that the comic book wins over the characters of advanced literature in most every case. For instance, Bruce Wayne as a character is superior to Titus Andronicus because he does not collapse into madness finding himself a victim to a corrupt regime of Roman superiority as Titus did. Wayne took the fight to the corrupt instead of letting the corrupt bring the fight to him, leaving the only measure of redemption available in making a pie out of the dead bodies of the Empresses’ two sons who raped and maimed Titus’s daughter. Batman is better, by far than not only Titus, but Henry the Fifth, Hamlet, and Othello. That’s not to take anything away from Shakespeare but if he were alive today, he would probably write comic books.
I have been to live stage plays of Equus where the characters act with fully nudity on the stage and had sex in front of thousands of people, and I can say that the message of Captain America has more meaning, Superman is more profound, Iron Man is more realistic, and The Hulk much more sophisticated. In fact I thought of The Hulk while watching the nude woman on stage in Equus attempting to seduce the naked Alan Strang. Alan in his confused obsession with horses had nothing on Bruce Banner in fighting off the rage that dwells within him. The Hulk is far better theater than Equus, yet it is Equus that gets all the praise in our “mature” society. In fact when Daniel Radcliffe made famous by the Harry Potter films decided to play the part of Alan Strang in a London, and a Broadway rendition of Equus he received a lot of positive media attention because the hero of the Harry Potter films appeared nude, and vulnerable on stage, which was highly commended in the high brow society of maturity. Such performances say to the world that Radcliffe does not plan to be a superhuman hero in all his future acting roles, but is mature enough to play a “vulnerable” parasite who murders horses because he loves them. Natilie Portman received the same kind of praise for her role in The Black Swan for much the same reason. Anne Hathaway was very naked in Love and Other Drugs, which was designed to show she could be a sophisticated actress and not just a fairy princess. See Anne Hathaway very nude at the link below for context.
However the chances are, more people in society could name off their favorite comic book characters in their favorite Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, or DC Comics than even know that their icon of fantasy in Harry Potter took off his cloths for a Broadway play at 17 years old. That is because it is more important to strive for perfection in the human heart than to yield to human weakness as Alan Strang did in Equus when he cut out the eyes of the horses that witnessed him having sex with a woman seeking to blind them so they couldn’t see his sins.
This comic book morality of mine is frowned down upon by those who give Equus favorable reviews. To me, Equus is just an excuse to get people naked on stage and call it art, when it’s simple pornography. The theme is one of human weakness and I instead find comic books much more honest emotionally. Over the years comic books have kept my moral compass pointed in the right direction. I have had many offers from machine politics in the realm of the “mature” to take bags of looted gold placed at my feet which I rejected many times over in favor of honesty which is the theme of many comic books. If I had taken the gold I may never have had to worry about money, I probably wouldn’t have had the fire to write novels and participate in political reforms. Instead I might be on a golf course patting myself on the back talking about the hot chick that was naked on stage in the Equus stage play and discouraging my children from buying comic books as symbols of childhood.
When I practice with whips in the yard and work to keep myself in shape I am working to give to the youth in my own family something to look up to, because young people need that. It is a sad situation when all they have to idolize are drawn characters on a printed page and stories told out of deep human desire not rooted in sexual tension, but in a sense of justice. The whips shown in the pictures here are the new whips that David Crain is making for me. At the heart of a lot of people who want lessons on how to crack a whip is a person enchanted by Zorro, Indiana Jones, or even the Jedi Knights of Star Wars. In fact David specializes in making very special whips that mimic the light sabers from Star Wars which allows handlers of those weapons to get the feel of using a weapon that is very similar to the sophisticated management of an art form of the Jedi against the Sith in a fight for philosophic control over an entire galaxy.
Comic books and the heroes that come from them are about big ideas, and for that they are called immature by the adult population that has already given up. Most people when gold is laid at their feet take it without question, even if the intention was to purchase their silence and cooperation. They yield to the hero that dwells within them nurtured by the fantasies of youth and justify their weakness by sophisticated stage plays like Equus, which confirms in their weakened state that they are not as corrupt as the poor, deranged Alan Strang. Those poor souls pulled into the depths of maturity would have seen the folly of their actions if they had only read more comic books and seen the intentions behind the bags of money contextually written by artists who still look forward to the greatness of man.
As for my favorite comic book character of all time, it is The Incredible Hulk. I have always identified most with The Hulk since my temper is legendary and has always been something I have had to work on to keep under control. Every now and then it is fun to let my inner Hulk go, but it always seems to get me into a lot of trouble. When they can’t beat you mentally, or physically, they simply call you “immature.” The cry for maturity comes from those who are too lazy to match the lofty minds that reach for the stars and have the muscle to get there. Rather, they hope to keep their enemies at stage plays kneeling before their nudity, their delusion, and their apathy.
Puny gods of theater and guardians of maturity. HULK SMASH!!!!!!
“With Tale of the Dragon, Rich Hoffman combines NASCAR, Rebel Without a Cause, and Smokey and the Bandit. If you like fast cars, and hate speed traps, this is the book for you. And just every once in a while, any real American wishes he had a Firebird like the one in Tale of the Dragon.“