Manchild: The Joy Of X

bleedSo I’m a thirty-something male who reads comics. Bearded, long haired, overweight, too much stuff, too little space. Nothing too exceptional there.

Let’s consider this a project. Maybe you’d like to join me. Our aim, to still enjoy the things we do but maybe find a way to present ourselves to the world around us (and possibly our partners) without quite as many of the downsides. By talking about it, discussing any issues and finding maybe some solutions. Group therapy. But, you know, about comics and stuff.

Because maybe it’s time to grow up. Just a little bit.

Age: 37. Height 6 foot. Weight: 88kg. BMI: About 28. I think.

What is it about Wolverine that appeals so? I’m not a particular fan of the character, I can take or leave the stories mostly, I find little to inspire me save for one thing. Imagining that 6 adamantium claws are coming out our my forearms. Snikt. Walking down the street, thinking “snikt” to myself. Or, these days, the sliding metal sound effect of the movies. Sticking my arm out when no one is looking imagining I’m scoring thick grooves along a wall. Being careful not to scratch my nose. Yes, it’s childish but no one actually gets dismembered.

You know, if my wife actually knew what I was thinking most of the time – well she’d pity me more than she already does.

But what does it mean?

It was last week’s Wolverine by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven that brought it home to me. They’d been extending the story with a clawless Wolverine for months, before he finally pops his claws. And does so with a sound effect, red on black, that takes up an entire double page spread, with no art. Yes, and the book was still late…

It’s a story about impotence, about supressed emotions and it all comes to a head with an ejaculatory expression.

The Freudian aspects of this seem obvious. So is the appeal of Wolverine purely masturbatory? Do we live our lives vicariously through this animalistic sexual machine? Even those of us with (relatively) healthy sex lives? And how much of this do we consciously acknowledge? The recent film certainly knows – ripping the bed sheets Logan? Did you just have the mutant equivalent of a wet dream?  And is this a result of a sex drive driven through pop cultural filters? Does it enhance or does it replace? Yeah, I’d really better not share these observations with my wife.

Should I be worried? Should you be worried?

So who else? Anyone thwipping Spidey webs as they walk? Forming Green Lantern objects from will alone? Focussing where their optic blast will land? Picture running alongside their train, at one with the Speed Force?

It’s not just me right? Right?

Send your own Manchild accounts for publication to

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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