…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 65)

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Spider-Man stoically stated as he stood watch on the Sun City Peachtree bench.  He was ready to react quickly to potential danger with his “spider-sense” power and “web-shooter” in hand.

“Spidey” is a Marvel Comics superhero and the main protagonist of the entire Marvel Universe.  Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15, in August, 1962.

Before becoming a superhero, Peter Parker was an orphan raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben.  Like many teenagers, young Peter had to deal with the normal struggles of high school life.  He felt rejected, inadequate, and lonely—feelings teenagers in real life could relate to so well.  As a result, Lee and Ditko’s superhero creation was a huge hit in the comic book world.

When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in the superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist.  Lee and Ditko changed that by making their teenage character the star.

Since the teenage superhero didn’t benefit from being the protégé of any adult mentors like Captain American and Batman, he had to figure things out for himself, including the realization that “with great power comes great responsibility.”  That line appeared in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story.

Over the years in the comic book series, Spider-Man developed from a shy high school student to a troubled but outgoing college student.  He then became a high school teacher and got married in the late 2000s.  In his most typical adult role, he is a single freelance photographer. 

Spider-Man is now a member of the unofficial splinter group of the Avengers, one of Marvel’s flagship superhero teams.  The “web-head” is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes and is Marvel’s company mascot. 

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 63)

It appears as if the superheroes have taken over the Sun City Peachtree bench, so we continue with Batman who is visiting us from Gotham City.  CEO of Wayne Enterprises and patriarch of the Bat Family, Batman is a veteran member of the Justice League.  His real name is Bruce Wayne, but shhhh!  Nobody knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman!  It’s his secret identity!

Bruce had witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, so that is what lead him to become a crime fighter.  He trained hard to become physically fit and mentally strong, so he could fight evil.  When it’s time for the fight, he dons his batman costume and heads to the Batcave beneath Wayne Manor to prepare for the fight.  He is assisted by his butler Alfred Pennyworth.

Although Batman does not possess any superpowers like most superheroes, he uses his intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, and intimidation to the best of his abilities.

Batman (aka The Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, World’s Greatest Detective, and the Defender of Gotham) was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger.  The character made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, in May, 1939.

Meanwhile, another superhero, Iron Man, stopped by the bench as well, but quickly disappeared to fight another crime.

Anthony (Tony) Edward Stark is Iron Man.  He is a billionaire superhero from Marvel Universe and a founding member of the Avengers. 

Adopted by Howard and Maria Stark, little Tony grew up privileged without a care in the world.  Receiving the best education money could buy, he attended boarding school and found academics was a breeze.  At the age of 15, attended M.I.T., and by the age of 17, he had already graduated with three Phd’s.

Tony’s perfect world shattered when his parents were killed in a car crash orchestrated by one of Stark Industries’ rivals, leaving Tony the heir of their fortune and company, a weapons manufacturer.

One day, Tony was in Pakistan demonstrating a Stark Industries weapon, and it blew up in his face, leaving a piece of shrapnel piercing his chest and sinking towards his heart.  While unconscious, he was captured by the Ten Rings terrorist group in Pakistan.  Held at gunpoint, the group forced Tony to engineer bombs for them and receive treatment for the shrapnel injury or left to die.  Being as clever as he is, Tony instead built a chest plate that would stop the shrapnel from killing him, then he built a mech suit around it.  With his suit, he escaped the camp and dedicated his life to heroism.  After returning from Pakistan, Tony spent his days fighting crime and eventually forming superhero groups like the Avengers.

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 62)

Captain America has arrived at Sun City Peachtree!  For some of our residents, I’m sure he’ll bring back childhood memories of lazy summer afternoons spent reading Timely Comics’s Captain America while lounging in the shade under a tree.

The superhero dates back to March of 1941 when Timely Comics (a predecessor to Marvel Comics) released Captain America Comics #1, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.  The character was designed as a patriotic super soldier who often fought the Axis powers of World War II. 

Captain America is the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young artist enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental “super soldier serum,” after joining the military to aid the United States in the World War II effort.  The character wears a costume bearing an American flag motif, and he utilizes a nearly-indestructible shield that he throws as a projectile. 

Joe Simon had first conceived the idea for Captain America in 1940 and made a sketch of the character in a patriotic costume.  In Simon’s autobiography, he stated, “I wrote the name ‘Super American’ at the bottom of the page.  No, it didn’t work.  There were too many ‘Supers’ around.  ‘Captain America’ had a good sound to it.  There weren’t a lot of captains in comics.  It was as easy as that.  The boy companion was simply named Bucky, after my friend Bucky Pierson, a star on our high school basketball team.”

Simon said Captain America was a consciously political creation; he and Jack Kirby were morally repulsed by the actions of Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Fittingly, their first issue featured Captain America punching Adolf Hitler in the jaw.  That image proved so popular that one million copies of the comic book were sold.

Not everybody was thrilled with the cover, though.  As Simon noted, “When the first issue came out we got a lot of… threatening letters and hate mail.  Some people really opposed what Cap stood for.”  The threats, which included menacing groups of people loitering out on the street outside of their offices, proved so serious that police protection was posted with Mayor Fiorello La Guardia personally contacting Simon and Kirby to give his support.

The fans outweighed the objectors, though, and Captain America was Timely Comics’ most popular character of the period.  The popularity of superheroes waned following the war, however, and Captain America comics was discontinued in 1950.  Marvel Comics revived it in 1964, though, and the superhero has been around ever since.  As of 2007, and estimated 210 million copies of the comics had been sold in 75 countries.

The superhero was the first Marvel Comics character to appear in media outside comics with the release of the 1944 movie serial, Captain America.  Since then, the character has been featured in other films and television series, including The Avengers, released in 2012.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my previous post about Popeye, if any more of his buddies (or enemies) came along to our community, I would let you know.  Although somebody snagged him off the bench before I got there, Bluto made a brief appearance.  The artist photographed the rock, so I could share it with you.

Bluto the Terrible is Popeye’s best-known enemy.  The brute always has a plot to get the better of his rival or strike it rich.  He’s a selfish and greedy dude, and has a devious attraction to Olive Oyl.  Popeye comes to her rescue, though, thanks to his trusty spinach, which makes him strong, powerful, and able to defeat the villain.

These beauties are a few random acts of kindness left on our neighborhood bench over the past days: