Comics/Graphic Novels

What Comics Taught Me about Starting Over

Sonja Palmer

Staff Writer

Sonja resides in Asheville, NC where she has a job she loves at a children’s nonprofit.  When she’s not working, she probably has a book or comic in hand as she tries to read her way out of the ever-growing stack in her small apartment.  On weekends, she’s probably clambering through the mountains with her husband and dog or trying to eat too much cake while watching Great British Bake Off.

So, this week I start a new job in a completely different field, and I have a lot of FEELINGS. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled. I’ve wanted this for a while. I get the chance to reinvent myself a little bit….But it also means starting from scratch, which means All-New All-Different Ways to Fail Spectacularly!

My life-long friend anxiety is so here for this.

So I was mulling over possible failure as I tend to do, and I started thinking about comics (naturally) and how they are all about starting again. Just ask Marvel how many #1 issues they’ve had this year.

Marvel: Shhhhh. We don’t talk about that.

Ok, so look at DC and Rebirth! I mean, yes, sometimes starting over isn’t the best thing ever in comics, but sometimes it is a great thing. I mean, I am a huge fan of the new Green Arrow. The art in that is bananas.

Superheroes in general are ALL ABOUT changing their lives and getting out of wherever they are. The Runaways are tired of their parents being supervillains, so they band together to set a new precedent. Captain Marvel literally gets tired of just being on earth, so she goes to SPACE. I wish I had that option. Bad day at work? SEE YOU LATER, SUCKERS. SPACE IS CALLING.

I was thinking about this as I looked at the pile of comics next to me-there’s so much inspiration for fresh starts. Saga is about a couple that defies their families and countries at war and begins a new family all while fleeing across the galaxy. Dude, if they can literally face down armies and assassination attempts while raising a small child, I can start a new job.

Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples

I just have to learn to channel that Alana badassery.

Black Widow’s whole character is practically predicated on new beginnings. She didn’t want to be as murdery anymore. I get that.

(No, not really.)

Nathan Edmonson and Phil Noto

Nathan Edmonson and Phil Noto

But I do get realizing you aren’t happy where you are and so you have to make a change, and that change is hard and scary and often takes a long time. And sometimes you have to face the person you once were and deal with the shit they did. And that process is not fun, guys. Its not fun at all.

In Hellcat, Patsy Walker creates not only a fresh start for herself, but for other people as well. She wants to help other people with powers create lives for themselves so they don’t just have the option of hero or villain. Some people just want to pay bills and maybe watch Netflix. She surrounds herself with amazing powerful women, and she refuses to give in or let her past ruin her future. Sometimes the people from your past don’t want you to move on and can make it really difficult to do so, and you have to figure out how to deal with those people. Most of the time, it doesn’t involve them stealing your alter-ego for licensed comics, but you know, we all have some version of those days. Patsy Walker is super determined and hilarious, and a good reminder that in order to really move on you have to have a sense of humor.

Kate Leth, lineart by Brittney L. Williams, color by Megan Wilson

Kate Leth, lineart by Brittney L. Williams, color by Megan Wilson

Finally, there’s Silk. I have such a soft spot for Silk, you guys. Cindy Moon has been through it. She’s had a hard decade or so, what with being trapped in a bunker and not knowing where her family is, and now she has to deal with all these people and how life is changed around her. She wants to find her family and find where she fits in, and she has to really start over from square one as she readjusts to a whole new world. She is riddled with anxiety (yes, I relate to this) and everything seems hard and people often give her strange looks because of the way she has trouble relating to them. But Cindy Moon refuses to give in or go back in the bunker. She is going to claw her way out and create relationships and a future in spite of her fear.

Robbie Thompson, art by Stacey Lee, Ian Herring colors

Robbie Thompson, art by Stacey Lee, Ian Herring colors


So yes, my favorite lady heroes don’t let assassination attempts, creepy child murderers, or bunkers stop them, so I think I’ve got this. Here’s to starting over with a crew of some fabulous women beside me for inspiration. Cheers to the new beginnings in your life as well. We’ve got this, my friends.