Sunday, March 20, 2016

Parenting 101: Spider-Woman #5

Adding a baby/child to a superhero comic book series is always problematic.  Superhero stories are meant to be timeless, in a sense, as the heroes don't age, or they age very slowly.  But throw a child into the mix and suddenly you have a benchmark against which events happen.  Invariably a child ages (because babies tend to offer limited storytelling possibilities) thus so too does the hero.  The drama in child rearing is largely one of the progression of parenting.  As a baby develops into a proper little person, they develop personality, quirks and ticks, mannerisms sometimes adopted from the parent and sometimes manifesting on their own.  As entertainment, watching a child grow, and how a parent responds to its growth is a natural source of drama and comedy, sometimes even terror and suspense, stories that TV and movies, novels and plays have been utilizing for years.  Comic books, particularly mainstream superhero ones, largely avoid it for the reasons above, but Spider-Woman is braving these waters, and issue 5 is perhaps the most on-the-nose tribute to being a new parent.  The first three pages find Jessica Drew spouting off about the challenges, emotional fatigue and trauma that come with being a new parent.  Dennis Hopeless nails it so completely and concisely... and brilliantly I might add. Javier Rodriguez nails the details, the way Jess holds the baby, the mess, the spit-up on her shirt, the unkempt, bleary-eyed appearance...picking things up with your toes....  Yup.  Parenthood.  It kind of sucks.  But it gets better.

But I absolutely connected with what Jess says in the first panel of the third page:
My wife can surely tell you about how often I would wake her up in the middle of the night in a cold panic rifling through the sheets looking for our daughter.  We never once even co-slept with her and yet this was a recurring panic dream of mine.  The fact that Hopeless (via Jess) is mentioning it makes me wonder if this is a common phenomenon.  I look forward to the letter column in a couple issues to see if there are others who had similar experiences.

Just brilliant stuff.

1 comment:

Adj said...

Of all the ways you wake me up, that was my least favourite of them. <3