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If you’re like most people, you may have already failed on your 2014 resolutions by January 2nd. The start of a new calendar year holds so much promise that it’s very tempting to think that you’re going to reform your weak spots and turn over a new leaf in 2014. Maybe what you need to make your resolutions stick is some good role models and some cautionary tales. Like most anything, you can find these in comic books.
So here are five popular New Year’s resolutions, along with the comic characters who exemplify them the best – and worst.
1. Get fit
Many people are concerned with their weight more than their overall level of fitness, but it’s probably fair to say that most of us feel like we could stand to lose some pounds and/or hit the gym more often, especially after all of the holiday indulgences.
When looking for a comic book inspiration to get fit, I’d have to pick Batman. Among superheroes without powers, he is one of the strongest, best conditioned and agile characters. It’s not easy, though. Batman has incredible will power and an obsession to make himself the perfect crime-fighting machine. Maybe Bruce Wayne feels like eating an entire block of cheese on New Year’s Eve, but he doesn’t because he knows that this might just lead to another kid becoming an orphan.
On the flipside, we have the anti-Batman: Nite Owl from Watchmen. After giving up crime fighting, Dan Dreiberg has let himself go a little. It goes to show that even fit people have to keep exercising if they want the superhero physique.
2. Stick to a budget
The holidays can difficult not only on our waists, but also our bank accounts. After buying gifts for others (and yourself) and celebrating New Year’s, many people start the year feeling like they’d like to save more and/or be better with money.
If that’s you, you could do worse than have Peter Parker be your guide. For most of the early days of The Amazing Spider-Man, Parker was a freelance photographer, struggling to sell pictures to Jonah Jameson. Now, I’m not saying you should move in with your aunt or parents (though Pete did save a lot of rent that way), but maybe you can learn from another of Parker’s maneuvers. He made money off himself. So perhaps the way to more money in the new year is to figure out what you offer the world that no one else can. You probably don’t need to wear a costume to do it.
On the flip side, the worst thing you can do if you’re trying to save money is to spend like there’s no tomorrow. That’s fine if you’re Tony Stark, but if you’re trying to live that lifestyle, having lavish cars, parties, and girlfriends, not to mention countless suits of armor for almost any occasion, without Stark’s level of fortune, you’re going to quickly find yourself overdrawn.
3. Be nicer to family
Sometimes it’s hard to get along with family. Even though you’ve known them your whole life, they get to you. They push your buttons. They don’t see eye-to-eye with you on many things. They question your decisions. Still, they’re the only family you get.
If you’re looking to comics, you could emulate the relationship between Alana and Klara in Saga, from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. If you think you have a hard time getting along with your family/in-laws, try being from another race that is currently at war with your spouse’s! Klara is also on the run with her son, Marko, and daughter-in-law, Alana. They often butt heads, but every once in a while, you can see a begrudging respect – and maybe even affection – between Alana and her mother-in-law.
Wolverine might be the best he is at what he does, but that’s certainly not being a great father. Although he is a popular hero, he took the radical step of killing his own son, Daken. Recently, Wolverine has had to confront his resurrected son in the pages of Uncanny Avengers. If you don’t get along with your son, try to get him to come around – and try to have more patience than Logan.
4. Fall in love
The holidays can be a lonely time if you’re single, so it’s not surprising that many people set out in the new year with the goal of finding that special someone. It can be really hard as an adult to meet someone new. Perhaps comics can offer some advice.
Maybe you should look to a co-worker. We spend so much time at our jobs that it’s only reasonable that some people end up meeting and falling in love with a co-worker. It even happened multiple times to Superman, who first fell for his co-worker at the Daily Planet, Lois Lane. Also, the new version of Clark Kent (in the “New 52”) became smitten with another co-worker. This time it was his Justice League teammate, Wonder Woman.
You have to be careful that you’re not so eager to fall in love that you overlook warning signs and get involved with someone that’s got a bad dating history. One such person would be Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch. Although she has done many great things, her relationships have not worked out that well. After spending many happy years with Vision, she destroyed him in Avengers Disassembled, shortly before getting rid of a lot of mutants. Even the reformed Scarlet Witch has spelled trouble for new boyfriend, Wonder Man, who may or may not have given up his life trying to save Wanda. I think you’d be wise to find a healthier relationship.
5. Get your career in gear
Many of us are either under-employed or unhappy at our jobs. So when you’re thinking about something you’d like to change in the next year, I totally understand how a new job/position is often at the top of people’s lists.
Finding a new job is always hard, but perhaps it’s wise to look at organizations that are expanding, like the Avengers. Iron Man and Captain America recently made a decision that they needed to “get bigger.” That led to many new members of the Avengers, like Cannonball, Smasher, and Hyperion. Marvel Comics apparently has also decided the Avengers brand could get bigger after the success of the movie. There are now many more Avengers comic book titles, and even things like Avengers Arena, that doesn’t really feature Avengers. So when searching for work, try looking to places that are growing and have a lot of demand.
However, just because something has a big name doesn’t guarantee you success. Just ask Talon. Being a part of Batman family of titles would seem like a sure bet, judging on how successful the character has been. His character spun out of the popular Batman arc “Court of Owls” and was the first new character to come out of the “New 52” that had his own series. It now appears that Talon has been cancelled (as well as Batman: The Dark Knight). So jumping onto a rapidly expanding company doesn’t always work out either.
If you have other New Year’s resolutions, share them with the comic book inspiration or warning in the comments. Happy 2014!