Since I was a kid, pop culture and fantasy have been a big part of my life and during difficult times I’ve tended to fall back on them for a sense of routine and purpose. To say 2020 has been difficult would be an understatement, but a silver lining has come from having more time to pursue things that I’d never attempted until now.
As a new skill, I’ve decided to take up photography and it’s inspired me to launch an online portfolio called Photography Fables.
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Disasters, natural or otherwise, can strike at any time. They can be devastating and completely change the lives of everyone they touch and force them to pivot in a new direction. Some people are able to rise to the challenge, others are swept away and others simply go on existing.
The process of how people deal with disasters are unique to them and The Storm by Akeem Balogun puts this concept to the test. In a sprawling collection that spans thirteen short stories, Balogun examines themes of loneliness, self-deception, mental health and adversity to stunning effect.
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Superhero Mentality focuses on the positive mental health routines of different comic characters and a dedication to fitness is an important part of Hercules’ routine. Marvel’s Lion Of Olympus has spent centuries defending the world from the forces of evil with his superhuman strength and godly skillset. But even a god can’t afford to be complacent.
That’s why Hercules’ mental health routine is based on promoting strength in the mind as well as strength in the body. This is achieved through training with the right technique and adopting an attitude that values mental fortitude.
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The X-Men have spent their entire lives being persecuted and scrutinised by human society. But they continued to rise above adversity and save people’s lives in order to live up to the ideals of Professor X’s dreams. But what happens when Professor X no longer believes his way is enough? What happens when he embraces the ideology of Magneto and creates a mutant society where humans aren’t welcome? You get Jonathan Hickman’s House Of X/Powers Of X.
Hickman transforms the mythos of the X-Men like never before, creating a story that spans across hundreds of years through intertwining stories like Powers of X. The graphic novel is truly a masterclass in storytelling and world building.
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If there’s one silver lining about being in lockdown it’s that there’s extra time. There’s time to develop new routines and carving out a part of your day for exercise is a great habit to add into your schedule. If you’re someone who prefers to work out at home you can still push yourself in the same way that you would in the gym and there’s the opportunity to get creative with how you train and push yourself to the limit like the Ancient Spartans did.
The stuff of legend, Spartan soldiers were known for their resiliency and bravery. They trained under extreme conditions and turned themselves into the ultimate warriors. So, what went into Spartan training and how can you embody it in a lockdown workout?
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For those who’ve been reading The Comic Vault for a while, you’ll have seen that mental health is a major pill of the site’s content and was always intended to be a vital talking point from the start. By viewing mental health through the lens of comics and popular culture, I wanted to help destigmatise topics like anxiety, depression and suicide and normalise the conversation.
In 2020, finding a positive mental health routine has become even more important and through my own experiences this year it’s inspired me to want to combine mental health and comics in a new way and that has led to the creation of the Instagram channel A Superhero Mentality.
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At the start of a video game, everything feels new and exciting. There’s the chance to jump into a fresh world, learn how to control a character and take on whatever challenges are thrown your way. Part of what makes playing a game so satisfying is levelling up, whether through gaining new skills or getting access to better weapons.
After slogging through hours of combat, getting to wield a more powerful weapon is an appealing thought. It reflects the effort that has been put in by the player to understand the gaming world. Upgrades keep them motivated and create the opportunity for customisation.
While some games make the player work for their progression, others throw caution to the wind and offer the best weapons from the start. They are the kind of games that invite us to take our foot off the pedal and leap forward with the greatest tools at our disposal.
Whether it’s offering a one-shot killing device or a stylish sword, some games simply want the player to revel in the act of being someone nobody wants to mess with at the beginning.
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As a classic member of Batman’s rogue gallery, Mr Freeze is one of the Dark Knight’s most prolific enemies. Starting off as a throw-away character called Mr Zero in the 1960s, Freeze was transformed into a more complex character in Batman: The Animated Series.
Victor Fries became a scientist who was fascinated with cryogenics. He fell in love with a woman called Nora, but after learning that she’d contracted a fatal illness, Victor was determined to find he cure.
He froze Nora in suspended animation, only to have his experiments ruined by his boss, Ferris Boyle. The interference caused an explosion, which lowered Victor’s body temperature to the point he could only survive with a special suit. Vowing revenge on Boyle, Mr Freeze turned to a life of crime.
Freeze’s tragic origin story ties into his desire to bring his wife back to life. In his quest to cure Nora’s disease, Freeze has done terrible things in the name of love. Other times, Freeze has been so focused on his cryogenic research that he’s killed anyone who stood in his way, but sometimes his cold-hearted nature can take things to the extreme, to the point where he’s cemented himself as not just one of Batman’s greatest adversaries, but also his most ruthless.
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As one of Marvel’s oldest characters, Namor The Sub-Mariner has a history that connects him to the superhero and supervillain communities. The King of Atlantis has been a foil to every major Marvel team, including the Avengers, X-Men, Invaders and Defenders.
At other times, he’s played the vengeful anti-hero who has struck back against the surface world for the mistreatment of the ocean and the Atlanteans. In order to achieve his goals, he’s not hesitated to team up with villains like Doctor Doom.
Stubborn, complicated and arrogant, The Sub-Mariner has maintained a fierce independent streak that has put him at odds with heroes and villains alike.
While Namor has illustrated the capacity for good, there is no denying that he has committed heinous acts in his life. Some have been carried out in the name of protecting his people, while others have come from a place of selfishness and rage.
Whatever his motivations, the Avenging Son has never stopped to second guess himself. When he’s committed to a goal, he’ll see it through no matter the consequences. Imperius Rex!
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Transitions are a natural part of life. They are transformative moments that make us reevaluate the path we’re walking and move in a new direction for better or worse. Transitions connect people from across the world, young, old, poor, rich, and 2020 has been a year where many of us have had to adapt to changing circumstances.
Bruce Feiler’s Life Is In The Transitions: Mastering Change At Any Age is a timely book that delves into the process of reframing your life story and coming out stronger. From sharing the personal tales of 225 people from across America, to explaining transition superpowers and kryptonite, this book reveals some great insight into personal development.
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