‘Not on my watch’
I’m selling my comic books. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking to yourself “Aaron Hanzel? The guy that’s been collecting comics for years is selling out? Giving up?”
Well, Not exactly. I still absolutely love the comic universe. I think that I always will. The truth is, I need a new car, and I’m not the type of person who says, “I don’t care if I have to be homeless, I’ll never sell my ____.” I don’t want to be homeless. Hence, selling my books.
The process of selling them has caused me to look back at how I got hooked on collecting to begin with and how it translates to today.
Year One -The Young Lad, Aaron
When I was a kid, I quickly realized that I loved superheroes. The romance of facing immeasurable odds, walking towards the chaos as the rest of world ran past me in the other direction. Finding the strength and courage to clinch my fists, furrowing my brow, and through gritted teeth whispering, “No. Not on my watch.”
I was drawn to men and women of action and of conviction. Fictional-cartoon characters like Darkwing Duck, lone cowboys like John Wayne fighting outlaws. I think of real life heroes also, Churchill, Rosa Parks, the founding fathers, Martin Luther, Corrie ten Boom, Martin Luther King, William Wallace. Wherever there is injustice, I’ve always felt it was my responsibility to oppose it, ignoring my physical or mental limitations and pursuing what I believe is right.
The Caped Crusader
When I was about 7 years old, my mom introduced me to Adam West, the Batman. You know, “Holy Toledo Batman!” quirky, funny, very ‘60s, satire of superhero comedy. The direct contrast of what I perceived a hero looked like.
A year or two later, a show called Batman: The Animated Series was created. A dark and humanistic outlook through a man, Bruce Wayne, who had lost his parents to crime and had decided that he would fight. Regardless of what people told him he could and couldn’t do, he would look death in its ugly face and whisper “No. Not on my watch.”
I read my first comic not too soon after that and became a fan. The collecting didn’t come until later, but this is where the appeal began – stories and characters fighting for justice. Good versus evil.
The Biblical Connection
This classic narrative of good vs. evil is seen in Scripture. The spirit is at odds with the flesh. A war wages on inside a born-again Christian to make the same stand through our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul to Timothy, Peter to the church, Jesus to his disciples. All a call to freedom by “fighting the good fight.” Through clinched fists holding tight to God’s word; through furrowing brows, angry at passions not meant for us; through spirit-filled conviction and propitiated righteousness, we stand opposed to sin and whisper, “No. Not on my watch.”
Jesus Vs. Evil
There is a showdown documented in Scripture when Jesus squared off with evil, known as death. There were most likely no tumble weeds or clock towers ringing in “high noon,” but you can be sure that the battle was a sight to behold.
The passage in John 11 where Jesus returns to Mary and Martha’s home and weeps with them over the loss of Lazarus. Jesus asked to be shown where they buried him, and they took him there. Then something powerful happened. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, before He resurrected a death in the family and displayed his awesome power, the Bible says that when Jesus faced the grave of Lazarus, he was moved in his spirit.
Some translations say “perturbed” or “troubled.” The most accurate translation is compared to the rage of a bull. Jesus wasn’t just “troubled in his spirit;” He was enraged. Jesus hates death. HATES it.
The War Today
More recently, I think of the devastating loss in Las Vegas – senseless murder and cowardice. I think of Jesus and how much He can’t stand the wages of sin. He hated it so much that He gave his life to make sure that death did not have the final say.
Loss hurts, and pain doesn’t go away as quickly as we wish it would. But one thing is for certain. Jesus made a better way. With His fists open to nails, His brow raised in humility, and through His lips He asked the Father to pardon His persecutors.
It’s hard to imagine anything more important in my life and the lives of others than the war that was won 2,000 years ago. More appropriately, even years of comic collecting.
As we live out our faith and lean on the Lord’s heroism, I encourage you, brothers and sisters, to remember that the war of good vs. evil, the classic narrative in all of comic history, has already been won. You’re part of something bigger and eternal. Death does not get the last laugh. Wage the war against your flesh through Him who has gone before you. Clinch your fists, furrow your brows, grit your teeth and whisper in affirmation “No. Not on my watch.”
PS: In true comic book fashion, I inserted a few homages to Batman story arcs. See if you can find them all.