As a child I was an avid comic book collector. I would save every week of pocket money towards next month’s edition. Washing up was a necessary evil, I likened the vacuum cleaner to a hungry hound sniffing every inch of carpet for crumbs and copper coins, my hands heavy with hot iron, heaving to and thro across creased polyester shirts. It was the quintessential track and field of domestic chores.
I was fascinated by the phenomenal; inter-stellar travel, vast celestial bodies and extra-dimensional realms. Imagine soaring through the cosmos; the clap of the solar winds that strike your face. And the thick, dark cloth of space running through your fingers like the finest grains of jet black sand.
But there was one peculiar edition that always struck a chord within me, and not because of another perilous journey into the unknown or epic struggle between the forces of ‘good and evil’. This was far more thought provoking to my infant mind. It was Silver Surfer 10 (1988) where the entity known as Eternity, who represented the life of the universe speaks to Galactus, ‘the Devourer of Worlds’ whose job is to maintain the balance between life (Eternity) and his sister ‘Death’. Eternity tells Galactus that “No idea can descend into manifestation without an imperfection…”
To this day this statement still resonates with me and is a reminder to me of how powerful one’s creativity and imagination are in the unveiling of truth and wisdom through the most unassuming of literary mediums. This, coupled with the writer’s (or creator) use of abstract concepts as allegorical devices mirrors some of the most widely held beliefs about life and death in various traditions and philosophies.
In effect this comic book is another manifestation of how we may perceive reality, which subjective or otherwise may be just as consequential and profound as any culturally acclaimed religious or sacred text. In this way the nursery rhyme rivals the gnosis of the esoteric, the layman matches the wisdom of the ancients and the child may challenge the lessons of the learned. After all, legends never needed to be literal to be relevant, and fables never needed to be factual to teach us about life and every turmoil, triumph and possible tragedy that is contrived and conceived from within.
It is because of this truth that no one needs to be taught to understand that life’s imperfections present the opportunity for a solution. We have the ability to solve our own problems; our inspiration being the spark and our creativity bringing the tools.
Therefore, it is we ourselves who are the Book of Life. Each life is another page, each age another chapter. In this light every inspired saying written, pondered, published or otherwise is an excerpt from the good book so to speak. It is not without but within the binding of our own covers that we should first read into, otherwise we will never truly understand our own story.