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.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

T-shirt #239 - Superman - Classic Logo

T-shirt #239 - Superman - Classic Logo

Welcome to Comic Book Friday. Though the new comics go out for sale each week on Wednesday, my schedule does not allow me to stop by Fanfare and purchase them until Thursday or Friday of each week, either way I have been consistently sharing my weekly comics lists on Fridays for many weeks in a row. I am not going to count. If you really want a number, check out the Lists-Weekly Comics Stack category. Okay, it's twenty-one weeks.

I bought this shirt a few weeks ago (T-shirt #218). I realized that I did not have a traditional Superman logo T-shirt, and I needed one. I wanted to feature the traditional symbol shirt. But I really do not have new Superman content to share. If interested in past Superman content, I have created a Superman Related category, which, once this shirt joins the group, contains seven posts. However, I will endeavor to share some Superman content, at least in regards to recent Superman comic books.

I am hoping to feel renewed Superman love before my blog is over. I already wrote about the Superman movie (in T-shirt #110), and though not included in the Superman related category, I wrote about the Superman Unchained comic book in past weekly comics roundups. Superman Unchained started out well but did not sustain the punch of the first three issues in the fourth issue (as I reported last week in T-shirt #232). Recently, the other two main Superman books (Action Comics and Superman) have been dreadful.

I am shocked that a comic book company can have a moderately decent blockbuster summer movie and run out issue after issue of total dreck in its wake, when capitalizing on sales should be paramount.

I discuss Superman issues frequently at Fanfare with one of the managers, Bill Artis, who is a HUGE Superman fan. Even he admits that the recent Superman comics have been horribly bad. And then last week Action Comics #25 came out. It was quite refreshing. Though there were some flaws, it was a good story from Superman's earliest years as part of DC's current ZERO YEAR theme. I am hoping this comic signals better Superman content to come.

"Everyone is the age of his/her heart." Guatemalan Proverb

Today, Liesel and I took the puppy for a walk. This is something of a special occasion, though it really should not be. We got on the subject of Jung's Process of Individuation because of some comment Liesel made about people she knows and my recent teaching experiences last week both at University of Phoenix and WMU. I remarked that many people remain stuck in the earliest stages in the Process of Individuation because not everyone lives at a deeper level; a lot of people live a surface existence (though I would suspect that no one reading these sentences fits that description).

Liesel made a very true comment that nailed the issue (as she so often does): "people are afraid to individuate." 

I seized on this remark immediately. As the "Bene Gesserit" said in the book Dune, which I just finished reading, "fear is the mind killer."

Fear shuts down the system. There's no growth in the grip of fear. As I have written before, this blog came to be in the face of fear. My initial dismissal of the idea was based on fear of being labeled narcissistic or overly self-involved. I doubted that people would care, which is a kind of self-immolating fear.

But then my attitude changed after I learned I had cancer, and so I went forward with the blog, dismissing the fear. So what? So what if people labeled me a narcissist or worse? Writing makes me happy. Thus, I realized that writing the blog would make me happy, and so far, it has been a rousing success.

Liesel and I veered into a discussion of conformity next. Why do we live in a world that encourages conformity rather than difference? We assessed that some of those people who are encouraged to chart their own course, to blaze a new trail through new territory, do not have the courage to sustain the new course and surrender to the social pressures to conform. Here's the second part of the fear. A person afraid of being different projects that fear as loathing on to other people for being different. Those so threatened may take an easy route and simply avoid what makes them afraid, but others will actively judge or seek to eradicate the difference. This enforcement of normal is best seen in the microcosm of most pre-college schools, in which conformity is the highest value, and those who are different are bullied into submission. Those trying to be individuals are faced with either being social outcasts on the fringe with the others so bullied (which is often a lonely and solitary place depending how the bullying is perpetrated and if the fringe accepts the bullied one) or the individual tries to conform and fit into the dominant social group. For some, "fitting in" is impossible due to physical appearance or something else that's unalterable. Others simply do not wish to conform and prefer to be outcast, whether they can find other outcasts to form a fringe group or whether they have to go on their own way, alone, it does not matter.

Again, I connected these discussion ideas to Jung and my own recent teaching. I am still working on what The Blog Journey means. This exercise is surely part of my own Process of Individuation. I am not only assessing the work I have done previously in the Process, but acknowledging the work I have left to do. I am accepting the aspects of my personality that relate to one of the most important things in my life: the world of ideas. As I take this Blog Journey (purposeful capitals as I just made a category and wish to distinguish this idea as a proper name), I can move forward by carrying my past and my present with me. I can revel in nostalgia, but I can also frame the memories and the fondness for things past into whom I want to be now and in the future. Most importantly, I can strive to achieve balance. Deeply rooted in Gnosticism and Buddhism and other ideologies, Jung wrote frequently of dualities: the Shadow and the Ego or the Anima and the Animus. By making conscious that which has been made unconscious, Jung says, is the path of growth for the individual and the achievement of "self," the central and unifying principle of individuation, of life.

I love comic books, but I also love fine art, music, and Asian food. All things in balance. Moderation. Deep breaths. There's the framework. Now, I have a great amount of detail to fill in during the weeks to come (exactly 18 weeks today).

And so, FORWARD.

Thank you for reading.

And now today's feature.


Last week was a good week for comics and reading comics. With the exception of one comic, the last on the list, I read the entire list of comic books from last week. Unlike last week, I am not working ahead, and so I have not read a single comic from this week's list.

Looking back on the week, there are several excellent comics, but one of the greatest standouts (maybe the greatest) was Detective Comics #25. The Zero Year story of an incident early in the career of Jim  Gordon (and consequently Batman), which supplied him with the idea for the signal light, was deftly written and beautifully illustrated by Jason Fabok. Though I have been critical of the Earth Two comic, last week's issue with a new creative team was very well done, and I felt for the first time in months that it was worth my money. I already mentioned Action Comics. I felt that Uber was a bit of a let down, but Cataclysm was well done, and I liked Captain America very much.

This week, The Walking Dead takes its top spot as usual. Batman earns a higher rank based on the strength of the last issue, which I reviewed in T-shirt #217. Justice League always rates highly, but Cataclysm jumps from tenth last week to fourth this week based on the strength of the last issue, earning a place over The All-New X-Men, which is often in the top group (#16 was second in its week and #17 was fifth).

Lastly, I am excited about the Uber hard cover. I did not order it, but after reading Gillen's description of what it contained in the back matter for last week's issue #7, I had to snag it. Gillen is single-handedly re-kindling my interest in World War Two. I already plan to read one of the books he recommends, and I may need to delve more deeply into his research. In this volume, there are issue notes that Gillen had published online, there is an interview with Gillen (which looks to be at least three dozen pages long), and there's an article originally published at Multiversity about the process and pitfalls of writing fiction about Nazis. There's also more juicy back matter with designs, creator bios, script pages, and more. It is one of the best volumes I have ever seen in what it offers readers to enrich their experience beyond the collection of original issues themselves. I cannot wait to sink in my teeth in an extended reading session.

COMICS FOR 1311.13

Walking Dead #116
Batman #25
Justice League #9
Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #001
The All-New X-Men #018
Thor: God of Thunder #015
The Superior Spider-Man #021
Batgirl #25
Superman/Wonder Woman #2
Nightwing #25
Avengers Arena #017
The Fearless Defenders #011
Suicide Squad #25
World's Finest: Power Girl and Huntress #17
The Shaolin Cowboy #2

Astro City #6
CodeName Action #3
Wolverine #011
Rocket Girl #2


Uber - Collected Hardcover Edition Vol. 1
Locus vol. 71 #5


- chris tower - 1311.15 - 19:05