I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do best isn’t very nice

The Wolverine, the FOX/Marvel movie coming out this year starring Hugh Jackman is not really in my list of movies I’m expecting on this second half of the year. However, it’s quite obvious I’ll end up watching it, and this time, hopefully on the cinema and not on a Transatlantic flight. One fact I’ll need to admit, is that I’m a fervent X-Men fan. They’re probably the best superheroes, and they were created in such an unplanned way when in the 60s, Stan Lee and his staff got tired of coming out with super-human origins, and decided that humans were sometimes just born with special powers. Thus, mutants were created, and I’m pretty much sure they didn’t initially have this in mind, but by the time the Sentinels come up near issue 15, the X-Men had become icons of segregation simply for being different (If you don’t believe my fandom, you might want to check out my attempt to review every single issue of the X-Men out there).

Hands down, it’s pretty hard to contradict the fact that James Howlett AKA Logan AKA Wolverine, is the coolest of the X-Men, and probably the coolest superhero this side of Batman (to whom he is clearly homologous in the Marvel canon). He made his debut on a Hulk issue from 1974, and later, he joined the X-Men’s second attempt at comics in 1975. It was under Chris Claremont scripts that the character really got shaped up. It is, in fact, on a 4 comic book storyline released in 1982, upon which the upcoming movie is greatly based.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I came across a digital copy of this 4-issue series, and decided to give it a try, just to have something to compare it to once the movie comes out. At the start of the series, we meet Logan’s sweetheart Mariko, unexpectedly going to Japan, and we meet Logan following her. It turns out, Mariko’s father has come back from the dead, and now wishes Mariko to marry some mobster, in order to atone some previous crime he has done. Wolverine is obviously pissed off (how strange of him :o), and battles the old man in a samurai combat, and unexpectedly loses. Mariko sees Logan is not worthy of her.

In the next two issues, we meet Logan recovering with his superhuman abilities. His pride however, doesn’t heal that fast, and we quickly find Logan hooked up with another woman, an assasin by the name of Yukio, who is never really clear whether she’s conning him or not. The confusion is obviously intentional and gives certain depth to the relationship. However, it’s obvious that Logan really cares about Mariko, and it’s on the final issue, where we meet Logan, in a Meet the Parents stunt, confronting again his father-in-law.

I’ve read better comic books, but if you do come across this series, and you enjoy action comics, you might as well give it a look. Especially if you’re keen on watching the movie. Don’t worry, I’m sure the screenwriters had a lot to add to the movie adaptation, since I finished the comic books without having an idea of who The Silver Samurai or Viper are. Ok, I do remember the Samurai from the 90s TV series.

Anyways, apart from Hugh Jackman, I don’t really expect much from the movie adaptation. Judging by the first one (which I barely even remember, since my mind has likely made a good attempt to obliterate it), and by the trailers shown, the movie will likely be an over the top mess. Still, it will probably be a box office success, and at least I’m happy that it will create expectations for the upcoming X-Men film tying the original movies’ storyline with the latest X-Men: First Class, by the adaptation of the excellent storyline Days of Future Past. We’ll see, there’s nothing better than getting surprised.

O. Henry in Honduras

I guess I could almost beg for someone to send me a comment asking me “why on earth I don’t blog more often?” Well, I’m just saying because you might know that commenting keeps a blogger alive. Anyways, since I’m only receiving less than 6 views per day, then I might as well write whenever I feel like doing so.

As you might have noticed, the thematics of this blog are extremely miscellaneous. There are sincerely way too many things to talk about, and I’ll try that when I do write about something, that that something has some quality to it. Take for example today’s post; a post I really wish will have some kind of impact in somebody out there.

As usual, I should start by reminiscing something from the past. The year was either 2004 or 2005, and I was cruising through the seventh grade, and out of our Literature book, we came across a story by William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name, O. Henry. Nobody seemed to notice or care, and I’m pretty much sure no one remembers, that on the small introductory author biography, it was mentioned how O. Henry had come to hide from the American law in the Central American country of Honduras.

I am a Honduran, around 7 or 8 million people are, and it just surprises that not even the people who are into literature have ever stopped to wonder why nobody here knows anything about O. Henry, one of the finest short story writers of the English language. It’s even more curious, because during the 6 months that Henry spent hiding in Trujillo, in the Atlantic Coast of our country, he managed to write a book of short stories, inspired by living in this “magically realistic” place, all while coining the term “banana republic”, which would come to tag third world countries strongly dependent on agrarian economy.

The book is called Cabbages and Kings, and it was written after O. Henry’s escapade from the Texan law. Before coming to Honduras, William worked at a bank, where apparaently he had deviated some money into his own account, a crime legally referred as embezzlement. His father-in-law bailed him out, and while he was going to trial, in a rushed decision, he opted to flee first to New Orleans and later to Trujillo, a lost place, in a lost country, my Honduras. O. Henry spent six months living in Trujillo, where he was expecting his wife and daugther to eventually join him, however, her wife fell very ill of tuberculosis and had to go back to Texas, and give himself in to the law. His wife died, and O. Henry was sentenced to five years in prison. Fortunately for him, since he was a licensed pharmacist, he spent his prison stay on his own wing and didn’t have to visit the prisoner’s side. He was released two years earlier due to good behaviour. He then returned to his daughter, who was told his father had been away on business. He remarried and live through his most productive writing period, however his increased drinking ended up giving him liver cirrhosis and killing him at the age of 47.

As you might see, O. Henry’s life isn’t neccesarily heroically, it’s actually filled with questionable behaviour, but many great artists have lead a similar life. Bottom line, what I really want to dig into with this entry, is the fact that those six months O. Henry spent living in Honduras, are widely unknown, and who but a Honduran should investigate about it? I tried to track some info down before writing this article, and I could only find a Jstor article, written by some American, more than 50 years ago. And that’s the main reason of this article. i really wish to inspire out there, someone who’s studying Literature, to travel to Trujillo and try to trace the scraps of O. Henry’s stay in the city. As I’m reading Cabbages and Kings, which I had to download from the internet, since not even the University library keeps a copy of it, I come across numerous colorous characters which inhabit the port of Coralio, in the country of Anchuria. President Miraflores, his mistress, the locals and the americans. I’m not trying to say that every single event and character in his stories has an equivalent in 1900s Trujillo, but it must surely be interesting to read about the sources of inspiration.

Of course, I enjoy literature as a hobby, and as a book enthusiast, and a Honduran, I would really like for this investigation to be made. Of course, as a biologist, this seems out of my work field, but I at least hope this encourages someone else out there. I for my part, can only offer, making another of those possibly unfulfilled projects, my willingnness to actually translate the book to Spanish language, something I believe no one has actually tried, publish it, and eventually make it a high school staple, because really, when one of the prominent figures in short stories writes a book about your country, the least the country’s people can do, is be aware of its existence.