The story behind the quote: The quote comes from Death, one of the characters from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Specifically, the quote comes from the miniseries, Death: The High Cost of Living.
Essentially, a suicidal boy named Sexton meets a girl named Didi who claims to be the personification of Death. Didi explains to Sexton that, in order to appreciate taking away the lives of people, she is reincarnated every 100 years to experience one day of walking among the living. Sexton is amazed (and strangely) drawn to Didi as she expresses such joy in simple acts, such as eating a bagel or riding a taxi. He decides to follow her around and tries to see if there is a meaning to his life.
By the way, MASSIVE SPOILERS ARE AHEAD! Please read the series since the quote will have a deeper significance when you really appreciate the story. Don’t worry. The story is deep and I think non-geeks will love the story.
The quote comes from the end of the miniseries where Didi has a conversation with Death. Death asks how it felt to be alive and Didi beams and exclaims that it felt so wonderful to be alive and wished it didn’t have to end. Death then delivers the quote, explaining that life has to end, making every minute precious.
Geek wisdom: We take life for granted. Even the simple joys of eating a bagel is lost when we don’t realize that we’re lucky to be alive to eat the bagel. The sad thing is, we also take the big things in life, like family and friends, for granted.
We shouldn’t have to wait for our time to be up before we start appreciating life. We should be living and enjoying what little time we have left on this earth now.
The story behind the quote: Calvin and Hobbes is a very creative comic strip from Bill Watterson. Unlike most comic strips, the jokes and stories never patronize the intelligence of the audience and can be read (and enjoyed) by kids and adults alike. Calvin is a very active kid and is best friends with his stuffed tiger, Hobbes. Since he is just a kid, he is very imaginative and constantly dreams of impossible adventures, such as being in outer space in his Spaceman Spiff persona. Most of the stories and gags usually revolve around Calvin’s imagination and how it gets him into trouble. However, there are a lot of philosophical ideas as well. Calvin and, by extension, Hobbes observe things with remarkable insight for a little boy.
The quote comes from the very last strip that was released. It has Calvin and Hobbes walking in the new fallen snow and exclaiming that the day is so full of possibilities. They then both ride on their bobsled, eager to look around the world and find new and exciting things.
Geek wisdom: We have to treat each day as a new adventure. As Calvin said, the day is always full of new possibilities. A lot of us have become cynical and actually dread and worry about what tomorrow will bring. There’s a lot of things the world can offer us and we sometimes close ourselves to the possibility of actually going out and enjoying ourselves.
All of us should take the time to remember that each day brings us new opportunities. We should not hide from these opportunities. Rather, we should chase after the chance a new day brings us.
The story behind the quote: Wow, when it comes to comics, I seem to either go to Batman or Spider-Man… but this is a bit different since it isn’t the hero that gives the quote. Rather, it’s the love interest of Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson.
We have to get into a lot of backstory regarding this quote to really get the full impact of the wisdom from it. Prior to her first (official) appearance in the comics, she was just this faceless girl that Aunt May kept on trying to set Peter Parker up for a date (initially mentioned in Amazing Spider-Man #15). Peter kept blowing it off since he assumed that, since his aunt liked her so much, he wouldn’t really like her. This actually kept on for a really long time and it became somewhat of running joke of the series.
Finally, in Amazing Spider-Man #42 (around two years after she was initially mentioned), Peter does meet Mary Jane, who turns out to be a bombshell of a red-head who jokingly mentions how lucky he is.
Geek wisdom: You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things once in a while. Sure there’s going to be a chance that the experience is awful. However, unless you try it, you’ll never know if its something that’s plain god-awful or something given from God. Imagine if Peter Parker never met Mary Jane. He wouldn’t have had met the love of his life. Remember, you may hit the jackpot, too, if you try something new.
The story behind the quote: One of the most popular, yet misunderstood, powers of Peter Parker/Spider-man is his Spider Sense, mostly because the hero himself doesn’t know how it works as well. In general, this ability gives him the ability to feel danger. One of the problems of this is that it doesn’t really tell him what the danger is. It could be as simple as a punch coming at him while he’s fighting a bad guy but it also could manifest if his secret identity is also in danger of being exposed. However, even with this small drawback, it has been really useful in saving his butt in a lot of instances.
Spider-man has been able to use this in conjunction with the Spider Tracers he’s invented. Initially, the tracers would have to be tracked by a small device he carried. However, in later stories, he managed to adapt the tracers to work with his Spider Sense. So, while it’s still a mystery on how it works exactly, the Web Head does have some sort of handle on it.
Geek wisdom: Actually, if you really think about it, we all have this ability (even if we haven’t been bitten by a radioactive spider). It’s called a gut feeling. We’ve all felt at one time or another to go against conventional logic and just go with our instincts and what feels right. Realistically, sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. However, the point is it does pay off from time to time!
Against all logic and reason, your gut feeling is correct sometimes. The point here is that while logic is good and all, sometimes we gotta go with our instincts.
The story behind the quote: The quote comes from Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin, a sort of reimaging of Robin’s origin. In the very first issue of the comic series, Dick Grayson’s family is murdered by a hit man while performing their circus act. Orphaned, Dick is supposed to be placed in the custody of the police. However, Batman steals Dick from them (Batman suspects that the cops are corrupt) and speeds him away in the Batmobile.
The police start to chase after Batman (he is kidnapping someone, after all) and the Dark Knight starts ramming the squad cars that come after him and they eventually escape. However, Dick is afraid of everything that’s happening and he asks Batman what right he has to be doing this. Batman is apparently offended by this and questions Dick’s mental capacity before uttering that famous line.
This quote, along with the All Star Batman and Robin series, has been heavily criticised by both critics and fans alike. While there were a few who liked the new direction Frank Miller was going for, most people didn’t appreciate the fact that the characterization of Batman was too different from previous incarnations. Here, Batman is more sadistic and appears to get some form of pleasure in inflicting pain and he cares less for injuring innocent bystanders. This line has been recorded in infamy because of the idea that Batman would even refer to himself in this way.
Geek wisdom: You have to be proud of who you are and what you’ve become. You can be a badass dark knight or just an ordinary joe. It doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t matter: you are who you are. In fact, all of the events that you’ve experienced in life created and molded you into the unique individual that you are, and that by itself makes you special.
It is difficult to accept sometimes, especially if you’re in the dumps and you feel life doesn’t feel worth living. However, if you don’t respect yourself, no one will respect you. The goddamn Batman knows this, and you should, too.
The story behind the quote: Although the quote is usually attributed to Peter Parker/Spider-man’s Uncle Ben, this is actually wasn’t true in the first appearance of the web-head in Amazing Fantasy #15. In the original version of the story by Stan Lee, this was the moral lesson that Peter Parker took away since he let a mugger get away and this same mugger killed his Uncle Ben. If he only stopped the man earlier, his uncle wouldn’t have died. Also, the original quote was actually “With great power, there also must also come… great responsibility.”
Later versions of Spidey’s origin revised the story. The story now is Uncle Ben would usually tell a young Peter Parker this lesson while he was alive and Peter Parker would remember this. These revisions also shorten the quote to the current version, which comes off as more poetic.
Geek wisdom: A lot of people think that, once they have some form of power, they can usually laud it over people and abuse it. History has a lot of people showing them becoming corrupted because of great power: Napoleon and Hitler are just a couple to name a few. Even in a small scale, we do see powerful people beat down on the weaker ones. Bullies, abusive spouses, and corrupt politicians are just a few examples of the kinds of people we see every day that use their power the wrong way.
“With great power comes great responsibility” has a simple meaning; if you have the ability to do something, make sure that you do it for the good of others. Highly admired people like Ghandi and Ninoy Aquino have done things that follow the spirit of this message. If you can stop something bad from happening, do it. You don’t have to be a superhero to follow those words of geek wisdom. It’s possible to do small actions that have a big impact in the world.