In the first two parts of this series I discussed the parallels between comics and classical mythology, and how both forms share a habit of reinterpreting and retelling stories. But there is one huge factor linking the two that no discussion on the topic would be complete without. In both myth and comics, the heroes act as symbols for ideals. They represent the ideas and values that humanity strives towards, embodying the best of us. Often both deliver a moral message to their audience through the actions of their characters, adding deeper meaning beyond the surface level.

As a child, Bruce Wayne represents grief, consumed by the death of his parents. As Batman, he represents justice in his quest to vanquish crime in Gotham City. We’re even explicitly reminded of the idea that Batman is a symbol throughout Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy: anyone could be the Batman if they embody the same values as him, anyone could be that same symbol.

Superman, the first superhero, most often symbolized hope and optimism. Despite not being human, he always sees the best of humanity. For Superman, there is always a way out of dark times, and he will always be there to help and defend the beloved people of his adopted world.

Despite the popular conception of her as a hardened warrior woman, Wonder Woman is a symbol of love and protection. She leaves her homeland of Themyscira to fight the forces of evil in man’s world, a place she barely knows yet vows to defend with all her strength. Princess Diana never begins a fight without first extending a helping hand to her opponents, always demonstrating her love and compassion for every living thing.

Barry Allen, the Flash, often represents hope (one character on the CW TV series The Flash even saying Barry’s hope is his true superpower), as well as selflessness and dedication. Barry constantly goes the extra mile in helping the citizens of his hometown Central City. On more than one occasion he has rescued tenants of burning apartment buildings, using his super-speed to repair damage to the building and check on each member of the crowd to make sure everyone is alright. With rare exceptions, Barry puts everyone else before himself, ensuring the needs of others are met before his own.

The Green Lantern, who gains his powers through an alien ring that channels pure willpower, stands for perseverance. Hal Jordan’s indomitable will is his greatest strength, his ability to weather almost any catastrophe often serving as an inspiration to other heroes around him.

Levi RaabAquaman, the half-human king of Atlantis, is often portrayed as an outcast and weighed heavily with the burden of responsibility. Born to a human father and Atlantean mother, Arthur Curry is scorned by both populations, feeling as if he never truly belongs. As not only a member of the Justice League, but also the king of Atlantis, Aquaman has immense responsibility to both the people of the surface and the people of the seas. And even with his pariah status, he still does all that he can for the citizens of both worlds.

Victor Stone, who as Cyborg is a mix of biology and technology, shows us what it means to be human. Cyborg has become more machine than man, yet at times is one of the most human characters of the DC universe.

As symbols of the ideals and values of humanity, these characters and others gain their most enduring qualities. Their ability to stand for truth, justice, and as counters to forces of evil and oppression, is what has truly enabled them to become so popular within modern culture, just as the heroes of myth have endured in the public consciousness since antiquity.

Part One & Part Two

– Levi Raab

 

No one can really predict if and when the apocalypse will happen but you may want to have something set up just in case the inevitable does occur.  Although hospitals may sound like a good idea for practical reasons, they will be the birth place and breeding grounds for the disease and will most likely be overrun by the infected. Staying home and hiding in your attic is pretty much out of the question unless you have already built a zombie survival fortress. Places like Costco or other warehouses sound safe until you consider all of the other people who have the same idea.

After working in different public libraries for almost a year and spending many hours studying at an academic library, I have decided that libraries are in fact the safest hideout for the zombie apocalypse. Here’s six reasons why:

Security Is Key

Most libraries already have some type of security system in place which you can take advantage of during the apocalypse. At my library, we have a system of automatic locks that will shut down all access to certain at precise times throughout the day or all together if the power were to ever go out at the building. These can only be overridden by a set of keys that the Librarians always have on them. If you have those keys, you control the entire building. There are usually very few entrances to libraries which makes barricading them quite easy. Most libraries are old buildings with heavy doors that makes them even harder to breach. In our district, two branches are actually just old banks, with the safe rooms still intact. How ideal is that? Also the nonfiction section of the library is filled with plenty of large heavy books that could be used to build a fortress within your building.

Infinite Knowledge = Infinite Power

Libraries are obviously full of books with millions of different topics. Whether you are looking for wilderness survival guides, medical textbooks, or just straight up apocalypse guides, the library will have them. You will definitely benefit from having all of this information at your fingertips. These books could also be the key to rebuilding society one day.

There Are Blunt Objects Everywhere, Take Your Pick!

Weapons are very important when facing off with the undead. Fortunately the library has a plethora of books and office supplies that can be transformed into head bashing utensils with a little imagination. My library has two fireplaces and I have already called dibs on one of the fire pokers. When all other options are exhausted there are books in the library on how to build different weapons like bows, arrows, and catapults. Get creative with it!

Get Your Cardio

In of off chance that your hideout is ever infested with zombies, the library is like a magical labyrinth of shelves and hidden rooms. They make it very easy to out run a horde of walkers. Shelves are great tools for you to use when running away from zombies. If you plan correctly you can crush zombies with them, dodge their reaching hands, and turn the zombies around into one another. There is also a large amount of hidden workrooms and study rooms that make for quick and easy getaways all around the library. The shelves are completely mobile so set them up as you please and have fun!

Food For Thought and Comfort

Although you may not think of a library as being the best place to find a cache of food, some libraries participate in a weekly soup kitchen donation and will have a stockpile somewhere in the building. Not to mention how frequently librarians bring in treats for one another, so the staff room will be stacked with goodies. Also most libraries have some kind of vending machine that can also be raided. And do not forget the farming section in the nonfiction books. They contain plenty of information on starting gardens and even raising livestock. The library also has plenty of comfortable couches and chairs for people to read and study on. These can be converted to beds if needed. If your library has a fireplace you can always use the hoard of white printer paper and the Twilight Series as kindling to help stay warm.

Daily Entertainment

abigail-1If the world somehow still has Wi-Fi during the apocalypse you are in luck! Even if the power goes out at home, the libraries backup generators will automatically kick on and keep everything running. The library will have computers, laptops, and tablets for you to use to tweet out your current zombie kill count. If the world is stuck without Wi-Fi, don’t worry! Books do not need to be plugged in or charged and the library has plenty for you to enjoy, spanning all kinds of different topics and age groups. Most libraries will contain book club kits, so you could even start weekly meetings with other survivors.

Though the zombie apocalypse may never actually happen, hopefully this has gotten you to consider your emergency plan. Libraries contain the necessary information that society will need to start back up again and provides a major opportunity for survival. They must be protected at all costs.

– Abigail Patrick

Whether you’ve procrastinated in writing a paper or just writing creatively, there are times when you just don’t feel like writing. For me, I will stare at a blank Word document and tell myself that it’s time to get serious and write already, but then I’ll find myself down the internet black hole of watching music videos or googling some random fact that popped into my head. Twenty minutes later, I can’t remember why I wasn’t writing anymore. And even though I may want to write a particular scene for my chosen story, my brain is not in the mood. So in order to force myself to begin writing, I’ve developed ways on how to trick myself into typing those first few words. After that, it’s all about staying focused enough to maintain my new momentum.

First, identify what is distracting you. Like most people, simply having access to the internet is more than enough to become sidetracked. An easy fix for this is to disconnect from the wifi. It also works well to stop you from researching – even though you already have pages of material to look off of – and just write that paper already. If you feel like you’re going to need a snack sometime in the duration of your writing, then make sure you keep it nearby. This way, you don’t use hunger (or any other task) as an excuse to get up from your chair and wander around instead of working.

Perhaps it’s other people who keep interrupting you from your work. Heading to a library is an obvious choice, especially if you can snag a cubicle. Nothing like being surrounded by box walls to prevent you from glancing around the room. But if you’ve procrastinated too long and it’s after library hours, you have no choice but to write at home. Is the fact that your bed sits a few feet behind you enough to tempt you instead of writing? Then head to the kitchen. Is there a time when everyone in your household (or dorm) is guaranteed to be sleeping or out of your home? For me, my family settles down after 10:00pm. After that, I know that I can write uninterrupted. Of course, there are some people out there who struggle being awake after midnight. I am not one of those people, but caffeine is your friend if you’re desperate enough.

To actually start writing, music helps me. It’s best to have an album or two lined up before you begin writing. This way, you’re not clicking around, changing the song once the one before it finishes. The goal is to not distract you any further. (May I suggest Jess’s instrumental playlists?) I usually sit and just listen to one song before I begin writing so I can refocus my mind at the task ahead.

amandaSo now you have a quiet place to write, your favorite musicians ready to motivate you, but you’re still having difficulty writing beyond that first paragraph? Reinforcements are always good. For some people, taking short breaks after a certain amount of words or pages written is sufficient. However, I tend to sometimes take too long of a break and I’m back to being distracted again. Instead, I like to make it into a game for myself. Right before I begin typing, I record the time and then try to write as many words as I can in as little amount of time as possible. Seriously, I set records for myself (if I reach at least 900 words in an hour, then I feel super successful).

But by the end of the day, no matter which tactic you attempt to try and force yourself to write, it’s all a battle of wills. If you can’t convince yourself how serious you are at achieving that deadline or goal, then it’s probably not going to get accomplished. Nonetheless, if you really do desire to write (or at least don’t want to fail your assignment), I hope my suggestions may have been the push you needed.

– Amanda Matkowski

Now I know what you are thinking. Clearly the title seems to be a tad dramatic. People who know me personally are aware that I may sometimes over exaggerate, but I stand firm on this issue. I have an obsession with libraries. I am not sure whether or not that would be considered a “weird” statement, but I think that many other people are grateful for their library. The reason I say owe my life to the library is because without it, my life would have unfolded much differently. I found adventures, love stories and imaginary worlds by trips to the library. My best friend and I created a relationship based off of impromptu decisions to get the newest book from the hold shelf. But as much as this is a personal love of mine, this is a shout out to libraries for being amazing.

My hometown library is The Bloomfield Hills Township Library and it is cornerstone in my community. If you are ever in Bloomfield Hills, you should definitely check it out. Just for reference, here is the link for their website- http://btpl.org/. Besides it’s beautifully modern design, extremely attentive and helpful librarians and the fact that it has shelves upon shelves of word-filled goodness, the library offers free memberships if you live in the area and free access to the Internet. My library has made me into the person I am today.  The library has given me the opportunity to express myself in the one way I truly know how: through discussion about books. I am one of those people who love to read for fun, so going to the library was never a hardship for me. My disgruntled parents would have to drive me over about three times a week. That anticipation filled ride to the library has always been something I enjoyed and looked forward to. Truthfully, it was the first place I drove to when I got my license at 16. While libraries are always close to my heart, this is also something I think will resonate with other people who their local or collegiate library.

In reality, how many people use their library regularly?  Most of you, if not all of you, use it for educational purposes. I have done everything from homework to study groups at the Kresge Library at Oakland and I also go there for research and scholarly sources for my English papers. Whether you are a college student, a professor, or someone who just loves to read, libraries offer an enormous amount of help for our daily lives. Shout out to the BTPL for always having a study room for me to use during finals. I know many people who live in dorms or apartments that rely on their library as a place of solace during the end of a semester whirlwind. Many libraries also offer tutoring programs regardless of the subject or current grade a person is in. Personally, I have a great relationship with the librarians at my library, who are very helpful and informative. They are an awesome reference to have if you are doing any sort of research.

megan-luttinen-oar-blogThe amount of reading material in your library is unfathomable. Whether you consider yourself to be a book nerd or not, there is something present for just about everyone. Sections of the library range from magazines, movies, comics, romance, general fiction, histories, non-fiction biographies and auto-biographies. But my library does not only house these books, they advertise for them. On their website, they offer multiple “Librarian Picks” and “Most Popular” in certain genres. For example, they have a great amount of LGBTQ fiction and they have a featured page on their website where they talk about new books that teens would be interested in.

A library is more than just a place for research and reading. It is also a community center, a place that fosters imagination and allows for different forms of creative expression! Many libraries offer featured events that range from read-in slumber parties, raffles and paint nights! It is important to remember that libraries offer free memberships to people who live in the surrounding city. These members get free Wi-Fi and free access to all the archives. As a taxpayer in your area, you are funding your library. So use and appreciate it! I’m thankful for my library every day. If you do not know much about yours, definitely check it out. There is a world of magical you have yet to encounter.

– Megan Luttinen