30 Day Comic Book Challenge Day 5: A Character I Relate To
It’s day 5 of the 30-day comic book challenge! Every day I cover a different comic book question, along with the other members of the IGN Assemble Facebook group.
Day 5 – A Comic Character I Believe I’m Most Like (Or Want To Be Like)
I thought this was an interesting question and one of the most personal on the list. Which is helpful, as one of the reasons I joined in doing the challenge was to write some more personal blog posts. Anywho, I’ve already talked about how Carol Danvers acts as a sort of inspirational character, so I thought I’d thought I’d talk about a character who I see shades of myself in: Flycatcher.
Note: I’m going to avoid direct spoilers, but I will be alluding vaguely to a particular storyline of Fables, a storyline around issues 55-65ish.
I originally sat here and wrote a very long post about my time at my first University course. An experience that lasted two years, if I were to tell it in detail it would take me approximately half that time to do it justice. I’d written what I considered was a nice summary but even then I don’t think it was really necessary for me to go into that detail (I was well over 1000 words when I decided to stop). Instead I’m going to cover the same event but keep it straight to the point.
First, to backtrack a little, Flycatcher is a character from Fables who’s a nice guy, he works hard at his job but he never really aspires to much more. At least for the first chunk of Fables’ stories anyway. This reminded me of my younger self. I applied myself at college but I was always living for the weekend. I didn’t care about where my course was taking me, I only cared that it was something to do in between sleeping. Which is embarrassingly lazy, I know.
But during my University degree that changed. The course I was on was atrocious. I mean absolutely terrible. I learnt that the work I was putting in was borderline pointless because the majority of the other students were doing the absolute minimum and cruising by with solid grades. The lecturers just did not care about quality, their standards were so shockingly low you could sleepwalk through the course. I realised this meant everyone could barely learn a thing and easily graduate with a degree! I had accidentally stumbled onto the easiest degree path on the planet. Assignments asked very little and often had barely any related content anyway, the quality of teaching was equally lazy. I was baffled that they were getting away with this. Many on the course loved it, this was a slackers dream.
Like Flycatcher I chose to stop deluding myself and to simultaneously step up to my real potential. This wasn’t a dream, it was a nightmare. What is a degree if you didn’t earn it? What’s the point of doing it at all? I gathered the other few students who were dissatisfied in the course and led a lengthy process towards making radical changes. This culminated in three one-on-one meetings with the Dean of the entire institution. Unfortunately despite countless promises, and very minor improvements, it was clear the course was not going to change properly. They had a pretty good deal going and to improve the course they’d have to start spending money, assignments would need to be overhauled, staff would need training or even to be replaced. Perish the thought, right? Therefore, again like Flycatcher, since my journey didn’t end up where I wanted I led us off in a new direction towards an entirely different University. There we found what we were looking for. This time I worked my ass off, I came out of the experience changed. I had a plan now and I was determined to hit my goals.
Overall Flycatcher reminds me of myself because of both sides of his personality. At first he was content to just be, but then he underwent a change and strived to be something better. But through it all he stayed the same nice guy, something I try to emulate myself. The experience I had changing to a different University was an incredibly long drawn out process and is one of the most stressful times of my entire life. It was not easy to feel like I was throwing away thousands of pounds and wasting my education on that old course. Meanwhile everyone employed there either blatantly didn’t care or just feigned interest in my concerns, despite the overwhelming evidence that other courses in the country had far, far higher standards of work.
But I’m glad it happened. I became a better person because of it. I learnt how to deal with difficult people and had to make some very sobering decisions. I also experienced what it was like to have multiple people follow your lead and trust your judgements on something as serious as their futures. If my life has a before/after moment in terms of the person I am today, then it would that experience. There are a lot of subtle parallels between that experience, and what it did to me, and what Flycatcher goes through in Fables. Obviously I didn’t do anything nearly as mystical or grandiose, my quest was much more mundane. But I know what it’s like to have a moment where you realise it’s time to stop being passive and to take the initiative, for the sake of your own future and that of others.