Comic books have always been inextricably connected in my mind with the simple joys of childhood. Leafing through the pages of a comic book, it’s easy to get lost in the fantastical storyline, imagining superheroes swooping in and saving the day when all seems close to lost.
Comic books of yesteryear are places where reality stands still and fantasy can take over. Anything is possible. In adulthood we tend to lose that magic. It’s sad we get hung up on limitations and practicalities. We cease to be incredulous, overwhelmed by the day to day that threatens our ability to imagine.
One kidless night, my boyfriend and I tried to reignite our sense of wonder at a local art show that combined female superheroes with pinup style. It’s not often we get dressed up and go into the city, but I donned my favourite Wonder Woman tube dress over a pair of jeans and paired them with some sparkly shoes. I played with hair and makeup and we flirted like when we were first dating.
We headed into town to enjoy our night of child’s play reimagined as grown up fun – with no child in tow. We arrived at EXP Restaurant and bar in downtown Vancouver and settled into a table with a good view of the art. We ordered a platter of appetizers, chatted with old friends, played trivia on the big screen and took in the sprawl of reimagined superheroes painted on metal flake backgrounds.
The man behind it all, Bret Taylor, describes himself as “a Canadian artist whose work in acrylics is heavily influenced by comics, heavy metal, graphic design, science fiction, and 1970s car culture.” He was stuck on a theme for his next show – torn between superhero art and pinup girls. He eventually landed on a show theme that combined both with pretty impressive results.
There’s something incredibly special about art shows. I love that you get to stand in the presence of painted monuments that represent a person’s energy, creativity, efforts, and inspiration. You’re treated to a visual representation of someone’s hard work and their time. When you buy a piece of art, you take home a memento of talent – a souvenir of an evening spent crouched over a masterpiece coming to life and treasure something made by someone you admire.
Comic book art, in particular, is exciting because it’s like a grown-up version of a poster on your wall. It’s a classy way to integrate your childhood memories into your adult living space. You get to tie the past to the present and hang a memory on the wall of a time when life was much less complicated. One of the best parts of the art show was celebrating that sense of wonder with like-minded people, experiencing and reliving the joys of childhood as adults together.
Superhero pinup girls swooped in and saved my night from bleeding into the next, breaking me safely from the grasp of the adulthood villain that is “the same old routine.” One kidless night in the city, lost in the wonder of a fantastical story line, was the perfect blend of nostalgia reigniting a time that seemed to be long lost – where anything seemed possible (like me walking in those heels after cocktails!)
Alison Tedford is a Canadian freelance writer and mom. She documents her journeys in parenting, mental health and fitness on her blog Sparkly Shoes and Sweat Drops. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @alisontedford