Hearing Kevin Smith talk about the meaning that comic books held for him from an early age, it’s easy to pick out the themes that get so many of us hooked from the start: Take a young person’s sense of justice, add in a heroic story that rescues good from evil in dramatic fashion, and be sure to do it all with a set of larger-than-life powers and a cool suit.
Fully recovered from his recent health scare after surviving a major heart attack in February, Smith visited Marvel’s studios recently to chat with the This Week in Marvel podcast crew for a fun but reflective look at how comics taught him some of life’s most important lessons.
SYFY WIRE’s got an exclusive sneak peek from Smith’s interview, which you can check out below.
For Smith, going through a life-threatening moment helped validate his appreciation for the things he’s loved his whole life. And, as fans know, there are few things he loves more than comics. Post-heart attack, Smith shared how comics helped shape his own sense of morality.
“Like everybody else in the world, I don’t wanna f***ing die. That’s why I love these stories, man,” he said. “Like, [I’m a] 47-year-old man; I still have a great appetite for stories where [there’s] the worst thing in the world that’s happening — and everybody’s running from it, but a select few are running right towards it, and generally they’re dressed in a very stylish, flair-ish way.
“My morality came from reading comic books. That’s what taught me to be good, and taught me to want to be good,” he added. “And it’s so strange to think of your morality as being shaped — first, on one level by fictional characters — but then, on a secondary level, by people you’ll never meet."
Even though the writers and illustrators behind the stories are just people with a job to do, said Smith, their ideas ripple throughout the lives of fans young and old who cherish the stories they tell through comics. That “little something” that a workaday writer might churn out just to beat the next issue’s publication deadline, he explained, might just stay with a young fan for a lifetime.
"It takes root in your heart, and becomes the foundation of the things you believe in life,” he said. “Not just like, ‘Oh, I like comic books,’ but, like — I believe it’s important to do good by others; to help when you can, you know? And like, the dream of being a helper who puts on a mask, and does so in a dramatic sense, never goes away.”
Hosted by Ryan "Agent M" Penagos and Jamie Frevele, This Week in Marvel stays on top of all the latest comics, video games, toys, TV, and movies, with deep-dive guest interviews from creatives in the entertainment world who’ve been inspired by Marvel stories. You can check out the rest of the TWiM lineup and subscribe by heading to the podcast’s landing page.