ahlers

SLAM POETRY. YELLING! ANGRY. W A V ING MY HANDS A LOT! SPECIFIC POINT OF VIEW ON THINGS. DYLAN STROME. DYL-AN-STROME. MCJESUS DIED FOR OUR DYL-AN-STROMES. mcjesus cried.,..runaway bride. JULIA ROBERTS! JULIA ROB….HURTS. DYL-AN-STROME mmmmmmmmmmmmm dyl-an-strome. you’re a career ahler. you. are. a. career. ahler. BA BOO BEE BOO BA BOO BA. YOU’RE A CAREER AHLER. that’s for dylan strome, he can’t skate.

Heralded by the success of Superman and Batman, the world of superheroes exploded in the late 1930s with a litany of colorful and often bizarre heroic characters, creating what is revered as The Golden Age of comic books. They defeated evil wherever it reared it’s ugly head, whether it be bloodthirsty Vampires from Pluto, repugnant Nazi jerks, or the mysterious and deadly effects of Atomic Radiation! These heroes sold books by the millions and ushered in an age of unprecedented JUSTICE. But soon, these ring a ding ding good times came to an end at the close of World War 2 as the heroes fell out of favor in the eyes of a giddy and spoiled public. It was curtains for the heroes, as the once successful publishers now faced bankruptcy and took to the giggle juice while their creations fell into the shadow realm of PUBLIC DOMAIN, a place where anyone, anywhere can use them for whatever nefarious deed their sick minds could concoct. GADZOOKS! No longer protected under the shield of copyright laws, these characters were buried and lost to the cruel hands of Father Time and the machismo of modern entertainment, as evil ran unencumbered through our streets!

BUT FEAR NOT, true believers! These heroes are back and better than ever! Reimagined by top creators in the industry, this anthology collects over 20 short stories paying homage and tribute to some of the greatest heroes and heroines lost to time with brand new, never-before-seen, exclusive tales bringing these amazing creations back to life! But don’t blow your wig, Johnny, this book is within your grasp! Get in on this here clambake and help show the world that these characters might have been buried under layers of dust, but they are NOT FORGOTTEN!

Featuring work by James Harren (Rumble, B.P.R.D., Conan), Eric Esquivel (Lego DC Superheroes, Vertigo Quarterly, Adventure Time), Ryan Cody (Doc Unknown, Heavy Metal Magazine, The Phantom), Jerry Gaylord (Bill and Ted’s Triumphant Return, Fanboy Vs Zombies, Ghostbuster/TMNT), Matt Harding (Doctor Mordrid, Popapocalypse, Styx, Madefire Studios), Angela Ahlers, Nathan Shorts (Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove), Vincent Kukua (Image Comics), Saeed Arjumand (The Haunted Detective), Evan Limberger (Madefire Studios), Matt D. Wilson (Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective, the Supervillain’s Handbook), Rodrigo Vargas, Josh Krach, Ashley V. Robinson (Jupiter Jet, Top Cow Comics), Morgan Beem,  Rica March, Jeffrey and Susan Bridges (Pendant Audio), Leonie O’Moore,  Derik Hefner, Anne-Marie Webb,  Andrew Steers, Edwin Lopez, Bobby Trauma, Esther Pimentel, Greg Menzie, Zakk Saam, Omar Morales (CruZader), Joel Cotejar, Paula Goulart, Jaymes Reed,  Paul Plale, Andres Olveras, Gabriel Moore-Topazio (Wrought Comics, Asylum), Einar V. Másson (Bay Area Comic Anthology, Bruce the Angry Bear),  Mikael Lopez, Kristian Bay Kirk, Sandra Rós Björnsdóttir (Krumla), Kevin Cuffe (Oathbound), Ricardo Lima, Jason Inman (co-host of DC All Access), Nick Robles (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials), Casey Desilets, Malcolm Johnson (Styx, Ultrasylvania), Kevin Buckley (Madefire Studios, Cyberwulf), Jeff Leeds, Marco Maccagni (Archon, Vampblade), DC Hopkins (We Can Never Go Home, Trespasser), Valentina Pucci (Action Lab), Angela Fato (Action Lab), Jared Rosmarin, Eugene Young, and Dave Harding.

Reviving and re-imagining characters and stories such as The Scarlet Avenger, Atomic Tot, Terena of the Tundra, Airmale, Cannibal Planets, Lucky 13, Owlgirl, Marvelo, Black Terror, Moon Girl, Ozmar the Mystic, Super Ann, Master Mystic, Airboy, The Iron Skull, The Atomic Man, Mars Mason the Intergalactic Postman, The Black Knight, Jet Powers and more.

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The Vulnerability of Exposing Your Dark Side

To expose our wounds to people we care about – the icky stuff, the ego stuff, the personal growth edges we’re working on that we haven’t yet mastered – is super vulnerable. Letting others see our “big ugly tails” (hat tip to my dear friend Amy Ahlers, who has seen my big ugly tail and trusted me enough to let me see hers) tends to trigger all our core fears of rejection and abandonment, of withdrawal of love.

But to bear witness to someone’s wound is a privilege and an opportunity to deepen the relationship beyond the idealistic views we might have of each other into the real truth of both our light and our shadows.

This doesn’t mean it’s anyone else’s job to baby our “owies”. But when we’ve exposed our vulnerable wounds to those we care about – and asked, but not expected them to tread gently around our wounds, we have a choice. We can poke needles into each other’s wounds – because now we know them and dang it, it’s their dark stuff to work on. Or we can choose to put salve on the wounds of those we love – not codependent salve that enables the wound, but more like a gentle touch with lavender oil to make something stinky smell a bit sweeter and to acknowledge the vulnerability and handle it gently.

Love Is Like A Jar Of Marbles

When we have been vulnerable enough to expose those wounds – and own them – and when we then ask those we love to be gentle with our wounds – and they choose to do so – it starts to feel like love. As Brené Brown writes about in her New York Times bestseller Daring Greatly, intimacy is like a jar of marbles. 

The more we expose our vulnerabilities – and someone handles our sensitive spots gently, the more marbles we gather in the jar. Trust grows as the jar becomes more full of marbles. But when someone betrays that trust or chooses to stick needles in the wounds of our vulnerability, we lose marbles in the jar. If someone uses our vulnerability against us, we may feel like dumping out the whole jar of marbles. Over time, the strength of the relationship is based on how many marbles are in the jar.

Big Ugly Tails

In a perfect world, we’d all be able to grow past our big ugly tails. But we’re destined to be human this go around, and our dark stuff ain’t going away. Part of what I love about my closest friends is that they’ve all done enough personal growth work that they’re mostly aware of their big ugly tails and are actively working on addressing them. It’s those who are blind to their big ugly tails who can be challenging to be in relationship with – and we must have compassion for those who are still blind.

But big ugly tails are so easy to judge – both in someone else and in ourselves. When someone else shines a light on our big ugly tails, we may be tempted to run the other direction because it can hurt to look at how blind we’ve been to our big ugly tails. If someone sends us the message that we have an unseen big ugly tail, we may be tempted to kill the messenger.

How Compassion For Our Big Ugly Tails Heals Us
The opposite is also true. If we illuminate a big ugly tail of someone else, we may be tempted to judge that person, to think less, to criticize, to demean, even to reject the person whose big ugly tail we’ve seen. But wouldn’t it be kinder if we treated them gently and with compassion?

When someone exposes his or her big ugly tail to you, or when you see your own, this calls for a big, beautiful dose of love, kindness, and abundant compassion. Beating yourself up – or going on the attack with the person whose big ugly tail you’ve witnessed – only deepens the vulnerable wound and leads to fewer marbles in the jar. Instead, seeing big ugly tails – in others or in ourselves – is an opportunity to deepen trust and intimacy with others – and learn how to unconditionally love and accept ourselves, even those parts of ourselves that lead us to feel the poisonous emotion of shame, which not only poisons our minds – it poisons every cell in our bodies by signaling threat emotions in our amygdalas which, as I describe in Mind Over Medicine, deactivates self-repair mechanisms in our bodies.

If, instead of judging ourselves and others, we can find compassion for the ugly parts in ourselves and each other, we can start to feel more love and intimacy, and these emotions calm our amygdalas, activating the body’s self-repair mechanisms and optimizing the body’s ability to do what it does best – heal itself.

How Light Heals Our Big Ugly Tails

When your big ugly tails are illuminated, there’s nothing you have to do to “fix” them. Big ugly tails do the most damage when we’re blind to them, and they can inadvertently swat around and hurt people without our awareness. We may leave shrapnel in the wake of our big ugly tails, and once you realize this, you may feel even more motivated to hate your big ugly tail, rather than treat it with loving compassion.

But here’s the thing. Once we see our big ugly tails, they automatically start to shrink in the light. Like spooky shadows that disappear when the floodlights flip on, our big ugly tails, once seen, start healing themselves, just like our bodies do when we feel loved and accepted, in spite of our darkness.

My Big Ugly Tail

I don’t think I’ve been gentle enough around other people’s vulnerable wounds – because my big ugly tail is that I have a tendency to get all self-righteous, to make myself “superior” to people once I’ve seen their big ugly tails. I make myself “right” and others “wrong” and then my ego (I call her Victoria Rochester) convinces me that I shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around someone else’s stinky wound.

But sometimes walking on eggshells around someone’s raw wound is the perfect opportunity to practice compassion and to demonstrate love.

And that’s my stuff to work on. Maybe someone could put lavender oil on it for me, even if it’s just me being compassionate with this side of myself I’m not so proud of. At least the lights are on, and I’m no longer blind to how I created my own suffering for many years.

What’s Your Big Ugly Tail?

Has your big ugly tail been illuminated? And if so, are you being compassionate towards it? Are you kind when you see other peoples’ big ugly tails? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Illuminating my tail – and maybe yours – with love.

By: Lissa Rankin MD