Days of Our Super Lives


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Although I know I don’t need to explain myself, I feel like I should at least give everyone a firm understanding as to why I can draw a connection between comic books and soap operas. Or at least… why I’m capable of doing such a thing anyway!

For starters, I’d like to formally blame this article on my mother and my recent year long stint of working from home. You see, it was my dear old mum who first turned me on to the daily "stories" known as soap operas, planting the overly dramatic seed in my head when I was just a seedling myself. Now that I’m an adult and have access to a television during the mid afternoon, I find myself roped back into the world of lying, cheating, resurrection and affluent families with lots of secrets… you know, the same as comics.

Let it be known up front that I’m not ashamed of watching a soap or two during my lunch break, though to save my fiancé from any embarrassment, I have long reserved to discuss my daytime TV taste publicly. That is… until now.

I grew up on comics just like the rest of you and I geek out to anything from my comic past. The older I get the more I see that my need for nostalgia is like a tasty drug I continuously want to overdose on. (Case in point: the new Transformers movie.) And whether I want to admit it or not, most of my feverish requirements for "blast from the past" fixes stems from curling up in a quiet place and reading the latest in the lives of guys like Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne. But now that I’m graying and masquerading as an adult, a more inquisitive me has stepped up to the plate and has made a startling deduction. Our favorite comic book heroes (and villains for that matter) are nothing more than super powered doppelgangers of the characters portrayed in soap opera staples like Days of Our Lives.

I know you probably want to punch me in my face for making that statement and emasculating your cherished heroes, but if you look… and I mean really look… it’s actually true.

The complex lives our mighty crime fighters lead and the often abstruse storylines they must wade through could easily be swapped between the two worlds without skipping a beat. Just as the Parkers have feuded with the Osbornes for decades within the pages of Spider-Man, the Bradys of Salem (Days of Our Lives reference again) have long been at war with the evil, conniving Kiriakis family. Although one takes place in a heightened reality where becoming a human spider is a possible fate for a teenaged boy, these two universes are more similar to each other than either of them are to our own.

I started to draw the connection between comics and soap operas with the recent hoopla surrounding Captain America’s death. While there’s no doubt that the demise of a major character like Steve Rogers is a sure fire way to get fanboys rumbling and to increase sales, readers like myself know full well that the Captain will be back fighting the good fight given the right amount of time… especially with a major motion picture in the works. The fact is, we’ve seen major players come and go a hundred times before and we’ll no doubt see it a hundred times more in the future. Whether we’re saddened that they’re gone or not, every single one of these post mortem characters has the possibility of rising back from their own cremated ashes to reclaim their spot in the natural order of fictional things.

The same can be said for soap operas.

The last year has seen the return of a number of key characters, long thought to be dead or lost, to the daytime tube. I’ve discussed these at length with my mother, the woman responsible for my soap opera soft spot, and like a Marvel or DC fan, she is never surprised by the resurrection of a dead melodrama star. As a self-imposed closeted Days of Our Lives viewer (if you couldn’t tell by my numerous references), I myself have seen characters who were familiar to me from my childhood (the same as those colorful costumed heroes who stretched my imagination to the limit) make surprise reappearances to the fictional town of Salem all in the sake of… you guessed it… ratings!

The truth is… you can draw many parallels between soap storylines and those tales stapled securely between the glossy, highly detailed covers designed to capture our attention. Whether we’re dealing with complicated love triangles, devious villains hell-bent on personal gain, or underdog characters needing to overcome one of life’s ridiculously scripted curves, the line between daytime dramas and hand drawn drama is a very thin, easily erasable border in terms of content development.

And best of all, like our ongoing, never ending comic book fare, soap operas never repeat and very seldom take a backseat to anything… unless of course the news breaks in with a major tragedy/disaster or a former pro football player turned Naked Gun actor goes on trial for murder.

My point is, soap operas are a daily injection of entertainment capable of unlocking your inner soccer mom. While the characters don’t necessarily possess any unusually exceptional abilities, you’re almost always guaranteed that they’ll be just as colorful as those heroes you root for every month. If you favor outlandish plotlines where anything is possible, you’ll be comforted in knowing that soaps, or more specifically the writers themselves, wrote the book on "you’ve got to be effin kidding me" moments. And if you have a hankering for hot girls (or guys) in skimpy outfits like those penciled so curvaceously in comics, you’re in luck because there is plenty of that in soaps and they look even better when they’re real. (And believe me, with the arrival of high definition televisions, I would suggest choosing the three dimensional variety over every now and then!)

The moral to this rant is, whether you’re afraid of what your friends will say or not, give soap operas a chance. I know it’s not the easiest thing to do when you’ve already established preconceived notions on what to expect from daily serials, but from one comic fan to another, I’m telling you that you may find yourself pleasantly surprised with what you find. And unlike the hundreds of thousands of dollars you spend at comic shops every year… these stories are free!

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