here's a thing that actually isn't Jason related (although i have a few of those unpublished here lol.)
7:55 a.m. found Wooton Bassett on the steps of Odyssey's leading, and only comic book store at the corner of 7th and Main. Where between the cracks in the pavement, weeds were beginning to grow up, and the sun pushed its way through the holes in the fence. Wringing his hands, and hopping from one foot to the other, he glanced down towards his Avengers watch, confirming what he already had assumed. A rattle at the door startled him, the man with bushy white hair on the inside inserting the key to the lock. Wooton waved, and there was a visible sigh emitted, but the owner nodded to him all the same.
"Good morning!" Wooton said cheerfully, stepping in as soon as the door was swung open. "Mr. Morenov, My name is Wooton Bassett, and I'm kinda new to Odyssey, but I love it already. Anyways, uh, I'm here to talk to you about something business related," Morenov raised an eyebrow.
"Morning, well, I'm glad you like it. What can I do for you, Mr. Bassett?"
"It's Wooton." He said, his nervousness returning. Cracking his knuckles, he glanced around the small, thought well lit shop. Bright, animated posters covered the walls, shelves were filled with comics upon comics. Figures from various cartoons and series enclosed behind glass cases, and what looked like a Captain America action figure from 60's behind the counter. Wooton's jaw dropped. "Is that a…?" He held a shaking hand up.
"The Mego Captain America with Fly-Away-Action?" Morenov chuckled, his slightly accented voice infused with pride. "Yes, I've had that for a long time." He said as he stepped behind the display and behind the work surface, gently rubbing the blue and white fabric with the tip of his thumb.
"Where on earth did you find it?" Pulled from his temporary stupor, Wooton set the bag he had been holding down.
"Why? You want to buy it?" Asked Morenov.
"What? Oh, no." Wooton shook his head, accidentally snorting as he spoke. "Just wondering, 'cause most people don't realize how valuable those are."
"Hm. It has always been valuable to me. My papa bought it for me soon after we came to America. A friend from school had the comics and we read them together after school almost every day. On Fridays, the corner store got new ones, and I was there as soon as I could." He smiled at the memory. Wooton stepped forward to catch a better look, whistling in appreciation. "Now, what business do you speak of? What can I do? You seemed a hurry to get in." Morenov asked Wooton, whose watch let him know almost five minutes had passed.
"It's about something I made, it'd mean the world to me if you could." He reached down towards the paper bag, and Morenov leaned over, looking slightly suspicious. A dozen glossy, fresh smelling comics Wooton laid on the counter. A curly haired kid on the cover with a red helmet, standing valiantly on top of a tall building. Bold letters across the sunny sky.
"What is...PowerBoy?" Morenov wondered, glancing up at Wooton..
"This is a comic series I wrote, and even published, see?" He said, not being able to keep could excitement from his voice, turning one of them on its thin spine.
"Hmm. I see."
"I just wanted to know, possibly, if I can get to selling these here. The only other way I know of without letting people know is trying the bookstore on the other side of town. That Holstein's. But they tend to not carry books on superheroes." He shuddered.
"These are all you have?"
"No, I have more. I was thinking-"
"And who drew this?" Morenov asked, referring to the art inside. Wooton's face was beginning to turn red. He drew a hand behind his head to rub at his neck.
"Uh, I did."
"Give me time to read this and I'll get back to you. Do you have a card, Mr...Bassett?" He already was reading the first chapter.
"Wooton." Drawing in a breath, his heart thudding arrhythmically, he asked; "You mean, you'll sell them?"
"I do intend to try."
"Whew. Oh, yeah, wow. I should have somewhere..." He twisted around, fumbling until his fingers pried the flat card from his pocket. "My Great-Aunt Winifred always said-" Morenov took the card, nodding his thanks.
"Wait." Wooton said. "I got one extremely important condition. You can't tell anyone who wrote these. It's, it's something I don't people to know, they can't know, please."
"You don't want…?" The store keeper drew his thick eyebrows together. "Alright, yes, I understand. It'll be between just you and I." Of course, already, Wooton's name wasn't to be found in a single issue of PowerBoy, just that of the company printing it, and his editor.
Not terribly long after, Wooton stepped out of the shop, almost into the street. He glanced backwards to see the store owner add Wooton's own works to a display. Breathing a sigh of relief, he settled down on a bench, pulling out a worn print he had since childhood. The front cover held a messy scrawl, penned by a thick marker, the last letter's tail swooping across the page. Stan Lee had signed it more than a decade ago when he had wanted so badly to go to the Comic Conference in Anchorage and his father had scoffed at the idea. At the last moment, his grandfather had stood up and packed him a suitcase full of what he considered the essentials.
"I'm taking him." Grandpa Bassett said, and that was that, no matter how his father had fumed. In the chaos surrounding their family, Wooton had been unable to escape, and this allowed him to breathe again. His grandfather was far more patient than he was used to people being. Grandpa Bassett may not have been a superhero fan but he wholeheartedly endorsed his grandson's love for them.
By the time he, Wooton, was in high-school he started his own mini-series, sending them, or the artwork, as often as every month to his grandfather, and receiving the best of feedback. During the days he could hardly be motivated to do anything, he just laid on his bed watching cartoons, sometimes flipping through the Bible Grandpa Bassett had given him. There was always a villain present, evident in the battles he wrote out with his characters, evident with the heaviness that weighed him down.
The devil is roaming the earth, he was told, seeking to devour, seeking to deceive. Could a monster like that exist? He asked.
"Monster...is an interesting term. He was once an angel, you know. I don't want you to think he isn't smart, that isn't fully aware of what he's doing. He's real, you know, but our King is too, and He cannot be overcome. Jesus conquered death, you know that, Wooton. Good will win in the end." His grandfather said, leaning forward in his office chair. There was such a fierce look in his brown eyes, then. The passion with which he spoke Wooton wanted so badly to feel.
His father said they were myths and fables and whatever word he could throw.
Wooton still struggled afterwards even with his faith. There was also the problem of trying to find a way to incorporate hope and truth within his stories, but writing them filled him with such happiness he kept at it. There was the villains, the heroes, there was the light there.
the part about the Captain America Figure isn't 100% true. that would have been made during the early seventies, but for the timing here, i moved it back at least five years. this was intended at first to only capture when and how Wooton's comics first became popular, but there's so much behind all that, about why he's so invested in superheroes. i debated including his mom in this one, but i didn't want to complicate the story.
and also! i feel like we've been missing a lil' bit of his authenticity lately.
let me know what you think.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us - Romans 8:18
It’s not enough to be against something. You have to be for something better. – Tony Stark