Visions of Visions Dancing in My Head: The Vision Mini-Comic

The Vision and I go way back.

I can remember the first time I ever laid eyes on the synthezoid in question. My sister and I were playing on the living room floor of my grandparents’ mobile home. My folks walked in with an armful of games they’d just bought, probably to keep us kids from getting underfoot during the visit.

One of them was Marvel Super Heroes Old Maid. Dr. Doom was the Old Maid card (ol’ Victor can’t ever get respect). The other cards represented a lineup of Marvel’s finest. I recognized (and loved) Spider-Man and the Hulk. But then there was a guy with red skin, kind of scary and regal at the same time, his hand held out in a stage magician’s theatrical “I’m here!” gesture. Either that, or he was telling someone where the mall was.

Several years later, the fateful day came when I arrived at my local comic bookseller and found the latest issue of G.I Joe had not arrived. I was disappointed, and also determined not to go home empty-handed (this, in case you were wondering, is how the Comics People got most of us nerds in the ‘80s). I grabbed a copy of Avengers #252 and started thumbing through it. And lo, I beheld the Vision. Again!

I bought it, and my lifelong fascination with the Avengers began (that’s right, I loved the Avengers before the Avengers were cool – this somehow makes me better’n everybody). And the more I read about the Vision, the more I loved him, too.

Looking back, it’s not hard to see why. I was an awkward teenager who lacked self-confidence, didn’t feel comfortable around people, and couldn’t fathom a girl being interested in me. Not in a “woe is me” kind of way, more like “that’s the way the ball bounces.” Suddenly, here was a superhero, a being of flesh and blood (all artificial) who people kept thinking was a robot. He was one of the strongest, most dependable guys around, with a pretty impressive array of sweet powers. Best of all, though, he was married to, and hopelessly in love with, a woman who was hopelessly in love with him. It was the two of them against the world, and they were fine with that. Vision and Wanda forever. I was a teenager, after all.

Then superstar comics creator John Byrne came along in the late ‘80s and wrecked it all. To make a somewhat convoluted story (one of the more unfortunate aspects of comics DNA) short, the Vision made people nervous. The world’s governments got together and had the Vision dismantled. He was reassembled, but without his emotions. Wanda was suddenly married to a talking toaster. They split up. By this time I was almost out of high school, and I still almost threw up after reading about it.

Decades passed. I learned love could be complicated as well as grand – that both aspects could in fact inform and buttress each other. And all that time, I kept an eye on Vizh and Wanda. They found, and lost, other lovers. They wandered into and out of each other’s lives. Vision was destroyed again, and rebuilt again. Wanda went crazy for a harrowing few months.

About 15 or so years ago, I began flirting with the idea of writing a comic book script. I was a bit unfocused as a writer in those days. So, without knowing any comic-scripting rules at all, I wrote a story about … the Vision. In it, he helps a boy lost in the woods to fight off a bear and make his way to civilization. I didn’t know what to do with it at the time, and it got lost in a computer overhaul. It pains me to think about it.

A few years later, in 2015, relative newcomer Tom King wrote a new Vision limited series for Marvel. In it, Vision builds himself a wife, son, and daughter, all based on his own artificial physiology. It was exceptional comic storytelling, and in my opinion (which counts a lot with me) is one of the best comic series of the 21st century. I won’t spoil it for you, as it’s readily available in several different collected editions. In the end, scarred by tragedy, Vision and his daughter Viv seek to have a closer relationship, even as Viv attempts to begin living in a world as foreign to her as the Vision’s once was to him.

A couple years later, I was inspired to again try my hand with the Vision, and wrote a short script about Vision and Viv, a sort of “day in the life” story, in which they discuss Viv’s first kiss (to a teenaged version of the Hulk in Champions #2, convoluted, don’t ask). It was fun, and although it’s got about a snowball’s chance in Florida of getting published, I think it’s a decent read on its own merits. You can even read it right now.

Even Androids Can Pout

I’ve told several people over the years about  my love of comics and gotten the skeptic’s eye roll, born of the belief that comics are for kids, and can’t possibly have the character development and thematic depth one could expect from a good novel or television series. Unfortunately, much of the time they’re not wrong. But when they are, it’s truly a wonderful thing. Tom King took a simple character living a fairly black-and-white story dynamic, grew him up, and made him a person. He didn’t resort to the easy tricks I see employed so often today in comics (I won’t go into it) – he just took his character and made him Live. Living is complicated all by itself … something all of humanity can agree on. If I can create characters that live as powerfully as the Vision now lives, well then, that’s about all the success I need.