Monday, 6 January 2014

Who sez komics arnt edyoucayshonal?

Bring On The Bad Guys by Stan Lee, Marvel Comics
Reader, can YOU guess in what way this
book broadened my education, before I reveal
the answer, in this very post?
Despite my ellokwence and dickshun, I must admit to having a mixed view of the whole concept of education.

On the one hand, going to school every day enabled me to encounter the concept of parquet flooring. A concept I don't think I've ever encountered anywhere else in my entire life.

But the bad news is I'm totally convinced that, when it comes to book stuff, I can't remember a single thing I was taught in secondary school.


I mean, I remember such phrases as, "differential equations," "Boyle's Law," and "Sines and Cosines," but, to this day, I remain totally ignorant as to what any of them actually are.

On the other hand, I can remember every single thing I was ever taught in primary school.

Sadly, I've since come to realise that not one thing I was taught in primary school was actually true. Ring a Ring 'o Roses isn't about the Black Death, There aren't seven colours in a rainbow. Florence Nightingale didn't save zillions of lives in the Crimea. It wasn't possible to hang a gold necklace from a tree in the Middle Ages and return a year later to find it still there, thanks to the astonishing honesty of people in those days. Alexander Graham Bell didn't invent the telephone. Different parts of your tongue don't detect different tastes. Blood isn't blue until exposed to air. No one thought the world was flat before Columbus. It is legal to start a sentence with, "And."

And, despite being forced to sing it every day in assembly, for what felt like years, I now have reason to believe we don't all live in a yellow submarine.

Fortunately none of this mattered.

Because, if the education system couldn't be relied on to get any thinks into my head, at least I had comics to do it for me.

As I mentioned the other day, I first learned the phrase, "Bury the hatchet," from The Amazing Spider-Man.

Not only that but I also learned the phrase, "cold feet," from it, thanks to Spidey's first encounter with the Sinister Six.

And that title wasn't alone in its educational prowess. Over the years, my vocabulary was widened so much by comics, I could no longer get it through the door.

I learned the phrase, "muscle bound," from an early issue of the Hulk.

I learnt the word, "cybernetic," from Ant-Man.

I learned the word, "Abomination," from the Hulk - and, "transmogrification," from Stan Lee's Bring On The Bad Guys. Sadly, the Hulk singularly failed to learn that lesson and resolutely insisted on calling the character in question, "Big ears," from start to finish.

From Thor, I learned the word, "Mjolnir," though not how to pronounce it.

From Dr Strange, I learned the world, "hoary."

Thor taught me, "knave," and, "churl."

Tony Stark taught me, "top hat transistor," though I'm not sure if top hat transistors ever really existed or if they were just a figment of Stan Lee and Don Heck's imaginations.

The X-Men taught me, "mutant," and, "magneto."

And from the redoubtable General Thunderbolt Ross, I learned two words no man should ever be without; "panty-waister," and, "milksop."

All in all, thanks to comics, I learned more words than a sane man would ever think existed.

Granted, there is one catch in all this.

And that's that I can't think of one occasion in my life when I've ever had reason to use a single word I learned from a comic. Who would have thought, "frug," would never have a practical use in life?

But I'm an optimistic man. And so, I feel confident that, one day, I shall indeed encounter the perfect time to call someone a, "Knavish panty-waister."

Anyway, that's my heart-warming experience. If you ever learned any words or phrases from comics, you're free to say so below.

If you haven't learned anything at all from comics, you're also free to say so below. This is, after all, the blog that celebrates knowledge and ignorance as though they were different but equal brothers.


Aggy said...

Best mark I ever got in a Uni essay was on the subject of the treatment of Japanese Americans during WW2. Based or at least inspired by Roy Thomas' work in Young All-Stars.

Oh and I did provide full references to the comics in the footnotes.

Longbox Graveyard said...


"Holy Hannah!"

"Geosynchronous orbit 22,600 miles above the earth's surface."

"Distaff (member of the Fantastic Four)"

Plus the name of that thing Ditko used to do in Amazing Spider-Man, where he drew Peter Parker with half of a Spider-Man mask ... assuming there WAS a name for that, which of course I cannot recall!

Comicsfan said...

Doom has let fly so many good words in his time. I find myself using "craven poltroon" all the time.

cerebus660 said...

Even the art of creating comic books has its own, arcane terminology:
Full Bleed
Flexographic,Mando and Baxter

Mark said...

When playing a trivia game or in general discussion, my family members often look at me in surprise and ask "How do you know that?!?". After many many decades, they now just look at each other and say "comics".

I really like your blog!

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the praise, Mark. :)

Hoosier X said...

What about all that history you learned from "The All-Star Squadron"? Every issue was a day-to-day chronology of World War II (for Americans anyway).

(Too bad it took five years to get from December 1941 to Spring 1942.)

Hoosier X said...

If All-Star Squadron was still being published, they would probably be up to the Fall of Berlin by now.

Anonymous said...

"Face front, "hang loose", and "laughing boy" come to mind.

Anonymous said...

"Achilles heel," "vulnerable," and "invulnerable." In fact, I got an A+ in a Mythology course in my senior year.

Anonymous said...

"Clod", "cretin", "lackey", and "dolt". Also good words to impress family members with, and they come in quite handy at reunions.

Steve W. said...

Anonymous, I too learned the word, "invulnerable," from reading comics.

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