Steranko & Estrada: Life-Grabbers

By | Friday, July 12, 2013 Leave a Comment
OK, you know that Jim Steranko has taken the Twitterverse by storm recently, and relaying stories from his own past that are just as amazing as the ones he wrote and drew into his comics. Counterfeiting, fighting with whole motorcycle gangs, bitch-slapping Bob Kane... There are more than a few people questioning, "Why aren't THESE being made into comic book stories?" The man has unquestionably led an amazing life, living on his own terms.

Now here's the interesting comparison: Ryan Estrada. He's only in his early 30s so he doesn't have quite the long history Steranko has, and clearly has a different set of life experiences. He hasn't, so far as I know, fought a motorcycle gang or had the opportunity to bitch-slap Bob Kane. But he has spent many years living life on his own terms, and has an impressive list of personal experiences than can be (and in many cases have been) written as comics.
There's a generational difference between Estrada and Steranko, of course, and there's something of a genre difference as well. Steranko's life reads more life an urban pulp novel, while Estrada has more of the jungle adventure thing going on. They both have different outlooks, so it seems a little strange to compare them so directly, but there are so few people who really live life on their own terms that they wind up in something of an elite group.

At my day job, we had a new employee start recently. We had a team lunch, and went around the room telling a little about our personal lives. My turn came up, and I noted that I had just moved to 300 miles away to Chicago, was training for my second marathon, and really liked comics and had a couple columns over on MTV's website. As I passed on to the next person, some of my co-workers then chimed in about how I'd written/published a couple books and appeared in The Avengers movie and got struck by lighting. The next person then added that she's never going after me again because my life looked much more exciting than hers.

But, from my vantage point, I still pale in comparison to Steranko and Estrada as far as living my own life on my own terms. As great as Steranko's and Estrada's comics are, and whatever stories they can relay of their own lives, I think the real inspiration people should take from them is to do what you need to do for yourself. Live a life that lets you tell you great stories about what you've done, whether that's escaping from a sealed crate at the bottom of a river or chasing ghosts in a local village.
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