Stoicism, Comics And Horror: Donald Robertson On Writing The Life Of Marcus Aurelius

The philosophy of Stoicism has inspired the works of countless people and continues to be a driving force for many business leaders and authors today. The same can be said for psychotherapist Donald Robertson, who’s made a career out of applying the principles of Stoicism to everyday life through publications such as How To Think Like A Roman Emperor. 

Robertson’s latest project is a graphic novel focused on the life of Marcus Aurelius and The Comic Vault caught up with him on the process behind writing the comic. In this interview, we explore the challenges of writing a graphic novel steeped in ancient history, capturing the voice of Marcus Aurelius and how Stoicism can be interpreted through the lens of comics. 

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4 Superheroes Who Embody Stoicism

Life’s unpredictability isn’t something we can plan for. It takes us by surprise. It blindsides us. It throws up everything we thought we understood about ourselves and smashes it to pieces, and it’s often in those moments where we come to see our true measure and develop the ability to endure. 

Endurance is at the heart of Stoicism, the philosophy popularised by men like Zeno and Seneca, a philosophy with many practical applications in the modern day, a concept channeled through superheroes who’ve inspired generations of comic fans and readers.

With that said, here are four superheroes that embody the Stoic principles of justice, courage, wisdom and temperance.

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Changing With The Seasons: Poison Ivy And The Experience Of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Batman’s rogue gallery has long been revered for featuring some of the most complex, nuanced villains in the history of pop culture. Characters like Two-Face and The Riddler have displayed mental health conditions that skew their perspectives of the world and another character who belongs in that category is Poison Ivy. 

Poison Ivy is traditionally portrayed as a seductress who uses her powers to make others do her bidding. But to only see this side of her does a disservice to the character. Ivy is motivated to protect nature against humanity, a crusade that’s exacerbated by her suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

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Guest Post: An Indie Anthology For Indie Comic Creators: Introducing Tiny Power Comics

You are a writer, maybe you’re an artist as well. You’ve poured yourself into the idea you have for a new comic book, finally you have enough pages finished for a submission sample. You send it to the big publishers but never hear back or get rejected, you try a Kickstarter but fall short of your goal. 

Then, life happens, and you have to postpone even pursuing other avenues while your fans slowly move on. This sounds like a nightmare, but it’s a stark reality that myself and I’m sure many other indie creators have experienced. After a long discussion with one of the writers I work with I decided there was a solution and I set to work creating Tiny Power Comics.

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Guest Post: Where Did Storm Get Her Powers?

The fascinating world of X-Men contains a lot of interesting characters. Whether they’re heroes, villains or antiheroes, the mutants of the X-Men franchise are exceptionally interesting and entertaining characters.  

Today we’re are going to analyse Storm and the origin of her powers within the franchise. We’ve prepared a lot of interesting facts for you today, so be sure to stick with us until the end!

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Exploring Visual Stories With Photography Fables

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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Launching An Instagram Channel Dedicated To Comics, Superheroes And Positive Mental Health

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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The 10 Most Ruthless Acts Of Mister Freeze

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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The 10 Worst Things That Namor Has Ever Done

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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The Forgotten Ms Marvel: Accepting Yourself For Who You Are With Sharon Ventura

The superhero code name Ms Marvel carries a lot of weight in the Marvel Universe, symbolising the same level of responsibility as titles like Captain America or Captain Marvel. There’s a legacy of strong female characters taking up the mantle, which started with Carol Danvers and more recently passed to Kamala Khan. 

Sharon Ventura also went by the title of Ms Marvel and while she’s a lesser-known character she is deserving of the moniker. Ventura has been through a lot in her superhero career, dealing with the trauma of rape, low-self esteem, depression and body dysmorphia. The story of the forgotten Ms Marvel deserves to be told.

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