I’m in my room. I can’t sleep, so I’m just looking around the room. I have three five-level bookshelves and on four-level bookshelf in my room. Two are filled with comic book trade paperback divided by the publication, then divided even more so by their titles, then divided more so by their part in the comic canon. On the bottom of the shelves are my issues that I’ve collected from flea markets and comic shops wrapped in protective plastic. On top of the shelves are my toys action figures collectibles divided by character and publication and so on. My other bookshelves are just books put in alphabetical order and separated into two groups: fiction and nonfiction.
I’m not sure what makes me feel more embarrassed and ashamed: the fact that I in less than six months, I will be twenty five years old and a high school teacher responsible for the academic livelihood of minors and I have more comics than classics, or the fact that collection of comics and toys action figures collectibles isn’t nearly as massive as I thought it would be by age 24. Somewhere in the past, there is 14 year old me shaking his head in disappointment.
Anyway, I’m looking around my room, and I notice a Mr. Terrific collectible my friend gave me for Christmas. I start to think. In most comics that focus on superhero teams, there is an initial page that shows the reader the roster of the team. There’s often a picture with a quick bit on information about the character. Batman: The World’s Greatest Detective. Green Lantern: Wielder of the Most Power Weapon in the Universe. Flash: The Fastest Man Alive.
You know what Mr. Terrific’s slogan is? Mr. Terrific: The Third Smartest Man in the World. Third! I’ve done my research, and I can’t find any hero in the DC universe who definitively has the epithet of The Second Smartest Man in the World, not to mention the smartest. What message do I hear when I think about Mr. Terrific’s byname? “We have no idea who the smartest man in the world is—Hell, we don’t even know who is in second place; what we do know is that whoever these two brilliant people are, Mr. Terrific is by no means smarter than them.” Wow. Looks like Wonder Woman’s jet isn’t the only thing that’s invisible….get it? Invisible? Can’t see it? Glass ceiling? Unnecessary limitations placed on people of color? All that from starting at a bookshelf.