Each week I highlight the ultimate Comfort Food Comic release. This is the comic that gets me the most hyped. The comic I’ll remember and revisit the most. The one that gave me that special feeling above all the other releases that new comic book day.
The Dish Of The Week for 1/22/20 is Excalibur #6 by Tini Howard, Marcus To, Erick Arciniega, & Cory Petit
Excalibur starting to come in and sweep these Dish Of The Week selections! For the second time in one month, our ragtag group of British Krakoan mutants takes the top spot. As I mentioned when I highlighted issue 5, this book has felt so right as its blended the requisite ingredients for a proper Excalibur book. Its reminded me so much of a late 80’s Chris Claremont X-Men title in all the best ways. The issues are so dense with plot and charming characterization. This title is something special. If you’ve ever been hungry for the most perfect mutant meal, this delivers you a true feast. Now, I could ramble all day on how well this book does its job, but theres two pages in this issue that really resonated with me. Two pages that were like a revelation to me. Those two pages are why this issue takes the top spot this week. These two pages featuring Rogue and Gambit.
No its not because we get the two sexiest X-Men naked in a Krakoan hot tub, although that is a plus. Its because of Rogue’s refreshing take on not wanting to have kids.
Let me get personal for a minute here. Growing up, I always assumed I’d start a family. Society as a whole pretty much brainwashes everyone into thinking they need to fit into the cookie cutter mold of a family and start popping out babies. Media, religion, family – most of it seems obsessed with telling us were all committing some sin if we dont all procreate as much as possible. As I got older I realized its not so black and white. When you start to see how many people shouldnt have had kids or started a family later or when they were more able to provide, you start to see the problem with this mass message. The simple fact is not everyone should have kids. If you want them, more power to you. I hope it all works out and you can love and care for them for the rest of their lives. I have nothing against good parents and good families. I think thats a hell of a thing and I really salute you all.
For me though, when I got into my long term relationship with my wife, we spent years discussing and agonizing over if we should have kids. The amount of people from close friends and family to complete strangers that ask or basically inform you that you should in fact be having babies immediately is staggering. I find it ludicrous. There are so many health risks, so many financial risks, so much that could go wrong that I started to think I was crazy when I balked at everyone en masse supporting the decision to conceive. I started to vehemently think I didnt want children. I was barely more than a kid myself. Raising a blind dog was enough work, we couldnt imagine actually dealing with a tiny human that would literally die without us. For all these reasons, as well as my wife’s health we agreed we wouldnt have kids. I wanted to just be happy with living a long prosperous life with my wife, traveling and connecting with each other without major financial worry. I didnt want to add any kid into it. Even when writing this I bristled at it all because Ive seen so many people call an act like this selfish. I think thats utterly wrong and disgusting. I wish more people would take the time to find themselves and their loves and what makes them happy in life before being pressured into having kids. At age 29, me and my wife hashed it out and I made the decision to have a vasectomy. I didnt want to ever be accidentally put into that situation. We loved and respected each other and the made the right choice for us. Even now, this lingering sentiment still nags at us, especially my wife, but 99% of the time we are extremely happy with our decision. ITs refreshing to be able to just resolutely say “We dont want kids”. Now when some rando says “When are you gonna have kids?” I just say “Never, I had a vasectomy.” You wouldnt believe how quick that shuts people up.
Far be it from me to harp so long on all this. I am just a privileged white male. I cant even imagine the pressure women face just about every second of their lives with this nonsense. There are way smarter more amazing women who can talk about the ills of a society and how often women are portrayed in media as only being important because they became a mother or whatever. I will just say for me, its exhausting and I hate it. Its rare to see those same values reflected in the media I consume.
When the new Mutant State Krakoa made one of their laws to “make more mutants” I of course had fun with the horny jokes, but was a bit miffed that X-Men was seemingly pushing that same old antiquated message. When Excalibur started and the solicits and covers made it seem as if Rogue was going to get pregnant I was terrified. Here we have Rogue, my favorite X-Man who had gotten back together with her old wild and passionate first love Gambit and decided to marry. I have loved these plot points because for me it mirrored my own life. I broke up with my first love so many years ago but the love never went away. We found each other again after a few years and last May settled down together. As a big Rogue fan I had been loving how much the characters and my own life had such promising growth. I DID NOT want the first married X-Men couple in forever to immediately have a stupid baby trope forced on them. Imagine my enormous sigh of relief when we got to these pages in this issue.
Im honestly SHOCKED how amazing this conversation Rogue and Gambit have here in these two pages. Im checking my house to see if Tini bugged it because Rogue here is almost verbatim my wife. Like EERILY so. Its a powerful, open conversation that I think is immensely important for every kind of reader to see. I cant even tell you how hard this hit me. It floors me. Its straight up a scene from my life. Its done so damn well and honest and full of emotion. This comic matters because its a refreshing thing to see this type of representation in not only comics, but even better in the X-Men, and done through my favorite character from that franchise. It means so much to me. We need more of this done with this kind of tact in all media, in all life. I am so so grateful to this creative team for making these perfect pages and continuing the story of these characters I love so much in a way I can be happy with and so proud of.