Life Lessons For My Son, From My Comic Books

My mother had Anne of Green Gables. I have Hawkeye.

Hey, bub.

I’m sorry we don’t have a more original nickname for you yet than bub. We’re working on it.

Aunt Allyson suggested I write some life advice for you, using panels from Thor as a guide. I haven’t read much Thor but I have read a fair amount of other things.

I hope you find value in the advice I’ve curated here for you. The books these panels come from are sitting on the bookcase in the living room, waiting for you when you’re old enough.


Clint Barton/Hawkeye

You are the culmination of the people you choose to spend your time with.

Hawkeye (Volume 4), Marvel

Clint shows us how much can be accomplished through effort and force of will. When he’s not working with the Avengers, he’s no longer Hawkeye — he’s Hawkguy. He’s Clint.

Clint is as much of a hero as Hawkeye. He’s the kind of guy that takes in stray dogs and buys his apartment building from the gangsters that own it. He’s not magical, he doesn’t heal, but he does what he can because he feels compelled to help in whatever way he’s able.

Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow)

You are under no obligation to be the person you were yesterday.

Black Widow (Volume 1), Marvel

Life is an unending cycle of birth, growth, and death. Environmental factors, social factors, economic factors — with change comes growth. You will change. You will change many times over your life.

This does not mean you should change swiftly and easily, though, when it comes to your personal convictions. Your beliefs will change and change again as they become increasingly more informed by your experiences and studies.

That means you’re willing to entertain new perspectives and adapt as necessary. And Bub, that’s great.

Sophie & Lying Cat (Saga)

You are not defined by things that happen to you.

Saga #14, Image Comics

The story behind this panel is an intensely emotional and difficult one. This is a story you won’t be ready for until you are much older, but the message is clear and important: you are not what happens to you.

You are not ever what happens to you, and the people that love you will always be there to remind you.

John Constantine (Hellblazer)

Effort counts.

Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search #2, DC Comics

You will be flawed. You will have quirks, like yelling for attention in the middle of the important part of a TV show. That’s okay. I talk too much during shows sometimes too.

What’s important is that you try to not talk while people are watching TV.

You’ll slip up once in a while. You’ll be distracted or excited and forget in your excitement that your excitement may be problematic for the people around you.

That’s okay. What’s important is that you try. Always be trying.