By Josué Cardona
I've found that some of the most powerful stories involve how the things we are passionate about and enjoy can be transformative and cathartic. My favorite stories are those about people who found themselves in a difficult time in their lives and, usually unintentionally, their favorite things helped them get through it. Here are some examples of this that I've come across lately.
One of the stories that sparked my interest in writing about this is from Jamila, who shared on her blog how Hawkeye #13 helped her deal with the death of a family member. In the comic, Clint Barton is dealing with the death of a friend and Jamila was able to relate to how he felt and process some of her own feelings. It may seem like something really simple, to see yourself in a story and grow from the experience, but it is very powerful and not so simple to plan ahead of time.
Our friend Richard shared his story on Geek Therapy Podcast #9 of how not only did Batman comics help him get through a really tough time as a kid and essentially helped save his life but as he got older he really identified with Nightwing and later Daredevil to help him cope with different things that were going on. I suggest you listen to Richard's story as it shows how his geeky interests were a very positive part of his life and still are today.
Comic artist Dean Trippe recently created an autobiographical comic titled "Something Terrible" in which he describes a childhood trauma and how Batman helped him through it. Upon reading the comic's afterword you learn how important Batman was in Dean's life but also how much creating this comic helped him cope as well. This is a story that will very likely help others overcome their own traumas and process a lot of feelings.
It should come as no surprise that Batman is the character that I hear most people relate to, especially when it comes to dealing with hard times. Brett Culp has created a full-length documentary about the impact that Batman has had on people's lives. To be clear, the documentary is not about Batman, it's about the effect of the character on us. For more information on this amazing film, visit www.wearebatman.com. (See trailer below.)
The Trailer for "Legends of the Knight"
Video games can also be very helpful in dealing with the real world.
Jeffrey L. Wilson wrote a story about how Metal Gear Solid 2 "holds a place in my heart for bringing me dark-joy and a sense of control during a time when I desperately needed the distraction." You see, MGS2 came out just two months after the attacks on 9/11 and at the time Jeffrey was a college student in New York City. All Metal Gear games deal with warfare and the threat of attack in some way so I can see how playing MGS2 would have been a very emotional experience at the time.
IGN's Greg Miller shared a very personal story titled "Playing Through the Pain With Infamous" in which he reflects on how much Inamous helped through his divorce and beyond (Beyond!). It's interesting that Greg didn't seem to realize why he cared so much about Inamous until its sequel was released and he began to remember all the experiences that coincided with him playing the original game. Greg writes: "Without me knowing it, the first game got me through something incredibly personal and painful in a way that a conversation with a friend never could."
One of my favorite stories is howVictoria Cosplay, following a car accident that left her in a wheelchair as a child, was able to "walk" as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider games. An experience that motivated her to work much harder at physical therapy. She talked about the experience with me on Geek Therapy Podcast #26.
Finally, the game Ni No Kuni actually has a gameplay mechanic in which you find characters who are "broken-hearted" and in order to help them you must find other characters who have an abundance of certain virtues such as courage, kindness, love, and confidence which you can then "borrow" (you never give them back) to help heal the broken-hearted. Andy Corrigan wrote the great "Ni No Kuni and Coping With Depression" in which he explains how powerful a game like this was for him at a time in which he was feeling "broken-hearted." Andy and I discuss how Ni No Kuni and a few other games can help us cope in Geek Therapy Podcast #11.
I love these types of stories and I have a few of my own. I'll share some of them in the future and I hope to share more stories from others as well.
If you have similar stories and would like to share them, we would love to hear them. Has a comic book, game, book, film, or TV show ever helped you through a really hard time?