365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

T-shirt #27: The Iron Fist: would you like to live in a hidden city?

T-shirt #27: The Iron Fist: would you like to live in a hidden city?

The Iron Fist debuted in Marvel Premiere in 1974 as the creation of two of my favorite comic creators: Roy Thomas (Avengers, Conan as already mentioned in T-shirt # 21) and Gil Kane, one of my top five all-time favorite comic artists, a list including George Perez, Alex Ross, Jack Kirby, and John Romita. Cashing in on a martial arts craze sweeping the nation in the Seventies, Marvel introduced Kung Fu heroes, including Iron Fist and Shang-Chi. Though Shang-Chi is also one of my favorite characters, the Iron Fist was infinitely cooler with a dragon tattoo on his chest, a bright costume with the flared collar, and his namesake, the power to generate the first of iron, which smoldered like molten metal.

From the age of nine, the Iron Fist, Daniel Rand, grew up in a hidden city in the mountains of Tibet known as K'un-L'un. The city only appears on earth every ten years. Daniel learns martial arts there after both of his parents were killed during a journey to the mystical city.

The idea of a hidden city is one of the great archetypes in mythology. It was a very attractive idea to a young boy who was bullied every day in school. Not only was it a great escape from the abuse of bullies, but it was a place to learn to defend one's self against the bullies.

Apparently, I am not the only one who sought refuge from bullies in comics. In the latest issue of Wolverine (it's latest incarnation issue #2, writer Paul Cornell states that "the Claremont/Smith run of X-MEN was all that made me able to face school the next day [as a severely bullied child]." Though Wolverine and the X-Men are not the same as the Iron Fist (and those issues Cornell cites were published in the early 1980s ten years after the Iron Fist issues), the concept is the same: comics provide a means to escape the bullies.

The Iron Fist has seen many incarnations since his origins in the early 1970s. Iron Fist teamed with Power Man (Luke Cage) for many years as Heroes for Hire. But some of the best work has been done recently in Iron Fist vol. 4 in 2004 by Jim Mullaney (famous action writer on the DESTROYER series) and drawn by Kevin Lau. Though that series was good, the real definitive recent work was done by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and David Aja on The Immortal Iron Fist starting in 2007. This series was superb.

More 1970s nostalgia to come, because that's obviously a seminal period for me, but for now, I am thinking of that hidden city, nestled in the mountains of Tibet that only appears on earth once every ten years. At times like this with bombings and wars and militarism and poor economies, it sounds like a great place to go.

-chris tower 1304.17
Photo courtesy of Liesel MK Tower

PS: This T-shirt was a gift from my parents for my birthday in 2012.