This Creative Life

Welcome to the creative work of Alan White, head writer and producer of "FEEDBACK; A HERO'S CALLING," now at Broken Sea. The "Feedback" in question is Matthew Atherton, My Hero. He and other heroes of mine have links found down the left side of these pages. Enjoy!

Monday, August 28, 2006

New Mutant

My most recent incarnation is OutSource. He is a member of "Tech Support" which is shaping up to promote Feedback among the fan community. We still don't know if he is going to win this television show, but we've all come to find Matt Atherton as a hero-worthy guy from his website and his interaction with us, and so we'd like to help him make the idea of superheroism a reality.

A question was posed to "Tech Support" and it pops up every now and again as new subscribers answer it; "Why do YOU support Feedback?" In the thousands of words that I've written since I started watching the show, I think I may have answered that, but I've been thinking on it some more. At times I have thought I was obsessing too much, and then I learned to accept it for what it was. But now I think I know WHY I do it.

In the early days of Spring Valley when my mother moved me in with her, I was lonely and looking for friends. Eventually I found some, but I was damaged goods already and I was pretty confused through much of my childhood.

One day, I was at my mother's job. It was a psychiatric hospital and she worked as a psych aide, an attendant on the units. She had no degree or even a high school diploma, so to my knowledge she only served to give pills and baths and help maintain the units. Of all the memories I have of her, good and bad, the best were the way she handled her patients. She worked back in the bad ol' days of psychiatric care, which was generally to smack patients around until they stopped screaming. But my mother was not one of these. She would collect their money throughout a week by 'charging' them for coffee, then take them to the commissary to buy themselves stuff with the money she'd saved for them. The first time I ever saw my mother cry was when a patient of hers who she called "Morgenstern" had died.

When visiting her once (while I had no school I would sometimes have to go to her job. She couldn't afford a babysitter) I went to that commissary and found an X-Men comic book. I was hooked. It was either my first or second comicbook that I ever bought (it's a race between that one or FF #175. My research shows me they both came out in the same month in 1976. I was eleven or twelve).
I was already having friendship issues, life issues, parent issues. And here in this comicbook was the story of people who were different from birth, trying to fit in.

From that moment, I digested comicbooks like food. I learned how to read voraciously. This even added to my strangeness because I started using big words when I spoke (and still do so to this day, much to the chagrin of The Grim Jester). My mother may have been working all day, 5 days a week, and my father may have been in Manhattan, unresponsive, insincere, and ineffectual--but I had Professor X to look to as he guided his students through a dangerous world. I had Reed Richards to look to who loved and cared for his wife and child through the dangers of the Negative Zone and giant world-eaters.

Once, I went to a sleepaway camp with my city cousin. We were socked away with kids for whom violence was a way of life. I found instant kinship with two or three nerds who read the Uncanny X-Men like I did. They let me be Colossus when we played. On the last day of camp the bullies came after us. In every other instance, back home, I'd just fold and cry--this time I stood up to the attackers--why? Because I was Colossus!! At other times I was Wolverine, when it was necessary to be feral. Other times, I was Cyclops when I needed to be strong and silent. Other times I was Storm, revelling in my uniqueness.

It was the X-Men that taught me how to even HAVE a hero, and that was due to Stan Lee . He provided not only superheroes that I could access, but superheroes that MANY brainy inner-city kids had latched onto and dreamed their ways above their circumstances. A few of these types of kids saved me at that sleepaway camp.

When I graduated highschool in 1982, I attended The Kubert School to follow my dreams of being a comic artist. That happened to be the year that The New Mutants came out. Those were magical days for me; first time away from home, first time facing the future with an eye toward being an adult. First time I presented myself to the world as my own person for better or for worse. Just like the New Mutants themselves.
I miss those days severely. They were the crossroads of my life and I fear I chose unwisely when I left that path and went for another goal. It didn't work out. Almost twenty-five years later, I'm rebuilding again. (In the year 2000, I coined the name 'New Mutant' when I needed a screen name to follow fan news about the developing X-Men movie. The moment I did that, it was as if I rediscovered those Joe Kubert days.) Now I'm recovering from my mistakes. All my previous blog entries attest to that. I'm trying to restock my hope. Meanwhile, I go to the City of Heroes and live out my heroic dreams in virtua. And I wait for life to start again. And I wait. And I wait some more.

Then here comes this man in a superhero costume, looking all handsome and fierce, with ideals that inspire my adult life and re-inspire the New Mutant in me--the real-life me.

That's why I support Feedback. He is me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was really amazing, Alan, to be able to read about your life.

Thank you for posting this. You know, when I was at the lair, there was this running question, "Was Feedback nuts?" They asked that question, not to be mean, but because they just didn't understand how being a superhero could mean so much to someone.

The ones who easily accept it and understand it are people like us, who have had their lives shaped by comics and superheroes in some way.

I wouldn't be who I am without Spidey, and you wouldn't be who you are without the X-Men and Fantastic Four. It's not an easy task to articulate the impact that these heroes have had on us - but your blog makes it perfectly clear. Yes - we are the same.

Thank you for all of your support, and for just being who you are. The world is a better place for it.

Game on!


1:35 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

For any readers here who might be a little skeptical, don't be. SiteMeter is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I highly recommend it for all website owners, and it's free!

Matt I ... dude, that just means a lot to me. I suppose I blog for this exact reason -- I just want to be understood and accepted for who I am--especially now that I've learned (for the most part) who 'Alan' actually is!

I hope my support of you does the same for you. Understanding you, accepting you for who you are, very much liking what I see.

It's all good.

7:35 PM  

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