Mother’s Day may not be until this weekend but we here at THE SOURCE thought we’d jumpstart our celebration by asking some of our creators to reflect on how their mothers inspired their careers in the comic book industry. Francis Manapul, artist and co-writer of THE FLASH, shares a personal story below.
As an adult we all have fond memories of the superhero comics we read as kids. To tell you the truth, I honestly don’t remember very many of them. With their complex plot points and years of continuity, I was just excited to see bright colorful heroes saving the day. But there’s one heroic story that I do remember.
When I was a kid having just arrived to Canada, I struggled to fit in. But as a keen observer of the cultural difference there was one thing I did notice. If you had cool shoes, kids would think you were cool. Now, being newly immigrated with a single mom wasn’t exactly the ideal situation to be able to dress to impress. But my mom was an artist herself, and did quite good at improvising. She got a hold of these used , but cool looking high top black shoes. She bought new laces to make them look slick, and to add a bit of a personal touch, she put neon green laces on one shoe, and hot pink on the other. I thought they were cool as hell, but the real test was how well the other kids would receive them.
So there I was in the schoolyard, on a nice summer day, chin up, thinking, “Alright this is when I get to be one of the cool kids”. Done deal right? Uhm… not so much. One of my classmates strolled up to me, looked down at my shoes and asked me a question. While trying to hold back a snicker, he cackled, “Why are you wearing winter boots?” He cracked up and proceeded to tell all the other kids that I was some weirdo wearing winter boots in the middle of summer. I didn’t know any better, and neither did my mom; they looked like normal shoes to me. Needless to say, I was embarrassed and felt even more of an outcast. So I did what every kid did in grade school feared doing… I started crying.
The teachers brought me down to the office, and assured me they were cool looking shoes. But the thought of going back to class in those boots petrified me. So they let me call my mom from her work to tell her what had happened. Much like the super heroes of the comic books I used to read, she up and left her work, went home and grabbed me my “normal” pair of shoes and came down to the school with them. What made this even more amazing was that she did all this while taking the bus. She easily could have said no, that’s reasonable. But not her, she really was like a superhero to me. She did what she could to come to the rescue no matter how unreasonable the situation was. I’m still stunned to this day at how awesome my mom is for doing that.
This single event doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the amazing sacrifices she’s made in order to give her kids a better opportunity in life. She left a promising career in the Philippines in order to give us a better future. Nothing is more heroic than that. It’s this sense of sacrifice and heroism that I try to infuse into my stories. If Barry Allen can do half the things my mom did, then I’d have told a pretty heroic tale for the Flash.
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