So, its been one of those days. And probably not the kind of day you're thinking of either. No, nothing awful happened. Sure, I've got a lot of work to do, but what else is new? No, today is one of those days where you are perfectly content with your life right up until you have a few minutes of down time. You get to just sit back and relax by yourself without any distractions. So you're sitting there, by yourself, and suddenly a wave of depression and malcontent washes over you for no immediately discernible reason. Which is doubly weird for me, because my life is going pretty damn well right now. For some reason, though, I just couldn't shake this crushing feeling of depression that my life was worthless. I can only recall of one other instance when I've felt like this without a seemingly valid reason - an instance that is completed related to today, and really the whole topic of this blog post: Comics. No, wait, I know that seems pretty nonsensical, but hear me out. As it has and probably always will be, printed word is always more powerful, more compelling, and infinitely more personal than any movie or tv show will ever be. What is it about books that forces us to make such personal investments in the dialogues they contain? Is it the ability to digest the words, sentences, paragraphs at our own pace? Is putting ourselves in the protagonists shoes easier - more inviting, even? Perhaps the elegant dialogue and descriptions, worded so carefully that our minds can fill in the gaps by themselves? Whatever the reason, it always seems so easy to find yourself personally invested in novella. Ten chapters in, and you realize you're infatuated with two of the characters, loathe another, and are eagerly awaiting the next major plot development. While I'm sure the reasons vary from person to person, no one who has sat down to read for pleasure can deny that they've felt this way before. It isn't that much of a stretch to suppose that this feeling can also apply to comics. Now I don't mean the kind of comics you read in the sunday newspaper. I'm talking Marvel, DC, etc. Spider-man, The Ultimates, Superman, X-Men, Batman, those guys. The kind of comics that hold overarching plot lines just the same as any science fiction novel would. For me, at least, this form of story telling holds a much larger sway over my emotions than just text - something I didn't even realize until more recently. When I was a kid I had no interest in comics. Sure, I watched the cartoons; spider-man, batman, x-men, etc. What I liked, though, was a good solid book, and believe me I read plenty of them. But now that I'm older, I've found that comics are an incredibly effective means for telling a story. Something about the still art - telling a story frame by frame - when paced correctly provides an incredibly immersive environment. Maybe when you read a book your mind is too busy creating the physical world the characters inhabit. Maybe with all these variables to imagine you don't quite form the emotional connection you could with the characters. Not so with comics; With the images already created for you, the only thing left to do is focus on the drama. Why do the characters act the way they do? What ties them together? How do they feel about the things happening around them? Comics ask you to create a lot of their depth - With only dialogue, what else could you do? You constantly weigh the main characters actions against your own personal views. With a book, you put yourself in the characters shoes; when their adventure ends, so does yours. With comics, you can't put yourself in the protagonists shoes - only compare their shoes to yours. When their adventure ends, all you have left is an empty feeling of disappointment. After constantly comparing yourself to this incredible person, you find yourself wondering how it is that, despite how awesome you felt your life was, you can't even come close to measuring up. Which brings me back to the beginning of this post - my feeling of seemingly random depression. The detail I purposefully left out, is that today was the day I finished reading Ultimate Spider-Man. The same for my other bout of random depression - the week when I finished Scott Pilgrim. After having watched Peter and Scott go through hell and back several times, I can only look at my life as more of a flatline. Is this an unrealistic comparison? Of course. Does it make it any less depressing that no matter how good my life is, I will never be unique or interesting like they are? Not a bit. If Peter Parker is Spider-man, the beloved super hero who swings from building to building, then I would be the random guy on the ground that shouts "Look its Spider-man!". Or maybe not even that. Comics force your nose up to the window of their world, where you can see all of the incredible things that happen, but without any of the feeling of accomplishment when the villain is beaten. Leaving you with only memories of extravagant things you can never trick your mind into experiencing for yourself.