The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Comics As Castration Reparation

Written by: Ron Bricker

ImageComics:  A Nerd’s Stunt Penis

When the average-joe consumer sits down and tries to think of something to do with his spare time he rarely ever thinks ‘comics.’  Who can blame him?  Society has such a horrible misinterpretation of anyone who enjoys comics; they’re nerds, they’re geeks, etc.  What I want to discuss is ‘why?’


Well… what the hell do they have against us anyway?  Comic readers, for the most part, are everyday citizens that lead double lives.  We work where they work, we eat where they eat, we even put our pants on in the morning the same way they do.  So what is it, then, that sets us apart?  What is it that makes comic nerds so despicable in the eyes of society?

The image of comics…

I’m going to lay it down as plain and simply as I can… tights are ridiculous.  Comic nerds do nothing but sit around and read books with pictures of dudes dressed in absurdly tight tights.  If that wasn’t enough, the dudes in these tights are absolutely ripped.  Have you taken a look at Batman or Wolverine lately?  It’s preposterous.  What does that say about the readers?

Well, on a certain level, it says a lot.  Comic book fans are undoubtedly cast into the role of inferior in the current framework of our alpha-male dominated society.  Face facts, assholes are awesome.  When you aren’t scoring with hot chicks or drinking Heinekens and Jaeger Bombs, you’re probably making fun of comic book dorks (or tanning…or gelling your hair…or being a penis).

See, normally this is the point where I’d laboriously try to prove that these assholes I’m talking about secretly and unconsciously want to be like us comic dorks except they’d never admit it.  Normally I’d say that their dickish banter is actually the result of an inner desire to read some totally sweet Spider-Man story.  Well, guess what, that’s wrong.

This is the part where I whip out my gigantic film theory books and rub them all over the faces of my peers and friends and point out all of our flaws only to receive hate mail and a general sense of angst and shifting discomfort.  Simply put, us nerds have been castrated.  That’s right… the power brought to us at birth has been stripped away by our fellow man.  We’ve been forced beneath them from an early age and our only comfort lies in things like comics.  Don’t fight it, just listen.

Initially, all of us are the same.  We start out at home with our parents, leading pretty much sweet lives.  We do nothing but poop our pants and play with toys.  Some of us were even lucky enough to have siblings to goof off with.  But then it comes time to go to school, or as I like to refer to it, the castration factory.

We all get to school as the same person, but some of us leave completely powerless.  Why?  It starts out with something seemingly pointless; mommy left us a note in our lunchbox, we don’t have the right color Starter Jacket, our folders are all decorated with gnarly My Little Pony pictures, we stink at baseball… the list could go on forever.  But because of one little mistake, we have now become the wimp on the playground.  We have become the receiver of shoves, the poked, the kicked, the tripped and the purple-nurpled.  We have been castrated.  We went from the masters of our domain at home to the whipping boys in the schoolyard.  We are nothing and they are everything.  Then come the girls for them and the zits for us.  They start kicking ass at sports and we start rocking the faces off of our math tests.  All the while, we still get poked and shoved on a daily basis.

This is where comics step in.  Us castrated individuals have to turn somewhere when we’ve been beaten senseless by the masses.  That place is men in tights.  Superheroes are everything us nerds aren’t.  They’ve got the powers, the bodies and the girls.  Superheroes probably sit around and drink Heinekens and Jaeger Bombs like every day.  But these heroes are our moments of undeniable power.  They are our outlets, our friends and our saviors.  Stay with me now… these heroes are our penises.  Whoa.

So why do we read comics while the others don’t?  Well, because no one wants a second penis.  No.  There’s a real answer.  By reading a comic about a huge, bulking man in skin tight clothes, one would admit that they have been castrated.  On one hand, comics have become the saviors of those with lame Starter Jackets.  They are empowering pieces of literature that allow fans a way to escape and identify.  And on the other, comics have become a disease for everyone else to avoid.  By reading a comic book, one would have to announce themselves as weak and small.

My suggestion to comic readers, if they haven’t already, is to look towards books that exist beyond the realm of capes and tights.  You’ll be reading comics while avoiding superheroes and thus castration anxiety all together.  You will be identifying with a different type of power; the power to imagine that which is not too farfetched.  Plus you won’t look as weak reading a book about war as you would by reading something about, say, the Omniverse.  I feel stupid even knowing what that is.