In 1984—when they told us that the Soviets boycotting the Olympics in Los Angeles wasn’t such a big deal, really—Marvel Comics published Secret Wars. It was such an amazing comic book series… nothing like it had ever been done before. Heroes and villains from dozens of separate titles all duking it out together over the course of a year.
To my hungry, nine-year-old eyes, it was hard to tell who the heroes were because sometimes they turned out to be the villains. And some of the villains were really just misunderstood heroes. To me, it was the very peak of drama. Every panel was like a movie, each issue an epic.
What I didn’t understand at the time was the series’ political parallels: Ronald Reagan was running a secret war of his own, quietly selling arms to Iran to fund rebel forces in Nicaragua.
So I devoured each issue like an addict, flipping the pages at a staccato pace. And my addiction spread quickly—Secret Wars made me a comics fan for over a decade. And as I grew up, it lead me to bigger (and better) stories.
Stories like these three, which are about the real secret wars. They’re the dark battles that remain unspoken, lurking on the fringes and hiding in plain sight. They’re the conspiracies of silence caused by the things we can’t say.
Those are wars, too. We wage them with the people closest to us, but never admit to their existence… or to the damage they cause.
The things that hurt us the most are the ones we can’t speak of. They pull at us in the smallest, the most intimate of ways. They break us with their banality. Or sometimes they just break us.
Here are three stories from the front. Continue reading