Issue 176 – Sam Alexander (Nova)
Anthony: Hello and welcome to Capes on the Couch where coms Get counseling. I’m Anthony Sytko.
Doc Issues: And I’m Dr. Isue.
Anthony: This is issue 176 and we are continuing with our Marvel cosmic theme for May. And we will be talking Sam Alexander Nova, as selected by our President level patron. Ruby. Before we get started, just a last call for PuchiCon this weekend.
We are in the process of finalizing the presentation on vash, the Stampede, and doc and I are having a lot of fun with this skit. I think that the biggest challenge is really gonna be keeping it to 45 minutes. Yeah. Cause we can both kind of ramble on like Led Zeppelin. But we’re gonna try and keep it high and tight, like a high top fade.
We’ll see what we can do. But in any case, that will be this coming Sunday at 11:00 AM in Atlantic City. So go to we’ll have links in the show notes to the website for PuchiCon if you’re in the area, buy tickets. We will be giving out some buttons. We got some cool swag. Plus you get a chance to meet us and, and listen to the panel as it’s being recorded, which it will be released at a later time.
Speaking of later time. In the interest of full disclosure and if you’re a longtime listener in the show, you know that we generally take hiatus in the summer months. So we will be wrapping up May with the last of our, I guess, regularly announced episodes. And then we’re gonna be going on a bit of a hiatus in June.
It’s for practical reasons. You know, downloads tend to drop off in the summer. Folks are away on vacation, kids are outta school. There’s host of reasons behind that. But on a more personal and, and I guess direct reason doc and I are always is very honest with you, and the show is nothing, if not direct about discussion’s, mental health we’re fried.
It’s not strictly because of the show. I just wanna make it perfectly clear. Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s a host of things and we feel as we always have, and we always hopefully will, that we want to give you the best show possible and the best version of ourselves possible when recording the show.
And we’re just, we’re kind of burnt out a bit. And we’ve been going now for, about six months, five, six months straight. And we need a little bit of a breather.
Doc Issues: Yeah. It’s really as simple as that.
Anthony: So the the unfortunate thing though is that I said to my sister the other day, oh, we’re gonna get all these new fans that we’re gonna meet at the panel at PuchiCon and they’d be like, Hey, wow, I’ve never heard this show before.
Yeah, that’s great. Yeah. Welcome to the show. Glad you, glad you’re tuning in. Enjoy the back catalog cuz it’s all you’re gonna get for a couple of months.
Doc Issues: Well, I think it was more problematic when we had 20 episodes. Now that we have as many as we do, I, I’m pretty sure it’s okay.
Anthony: Yes, there is certainly a wealth of a back catalog that they can go through.
So I’m not objecting to that. It’s just more along the lines of like, we’re gonna meet all these new people and hey, where can we find your show? And what episodes do you have coming up? Well, we’ve got a couple episodes coming up and then we’re taking a break. Sorry about that. Well, not really sorry, but you know what I mean.
And then in case, yeah. And,
Doc Issues: The way, the way I like to say it is enjoy the best of, so that later on you’ll get the best of
Anthony: perfect. I, I really do like that. And as I said, for longtime listeners, you know, we tend to use these breaks to kind of tweak the show and retool things and look back and do a, I don’t wanna say like a postmortem, but like, let’s see what worked, what didn’t work, so that we can continually strive to bring you the best version of the show that we can.
And we’ve got some ideas already in the hopper, so I’m not exactly sure what the show is going to look and sound like when we come back in, say, you know, August, September-ish. Probably closer to August, but we’ll see. And any case, we’ll be off for about six to eight weeks. And in that time, if you haven’t already, Go back and check out that back catalog or find a new podcast or go listen to one of the umpteen guest spots that seems to have all dropped.
Within the past, like two weeks that we recorded, there was the spot on Jordan Blooms, where we talked about the Rocketeer there. I did a, a guest spot on fellow Gonna Geek Network show play comics, talking about the Cowabunga collection. And then I did a wildly off the rails episode on, into the night.
It started off good and then things just went really haywire. So, and I’ve had links to those on the various social medias. Yep.
Doc Issues: And although this is not this is not a podcast related thing, I also did a presentation professionally as in the real me, not doc issues, but the doctor for the New Jersey Business Association this week.
So that actually was recorded and I became an honorary member, apparently, but anywho, you know,
random things happening.
Anthony: Yeah. So we will finish out the month of May and we’re doing Marvel Cosmic, and then we’re gonna end on Miguel O’Hara right before the Marvel into the Spider Verse comes out or across the spider verse, whatever the, the sequel name is.
And then we’ll take some time off and come back to you refreshed. Those, those first couple shows back are always a lot of fun because at that point then we’ve been chomping at the bit and we’re ready to go and we’re all fired up and we remember, oh yeah, this is why we love the show.
And it just, it, you know, it takes its toll and, and something’s gotta give. And as I said, we’re, we’re always upfront and honest with you. And just kind of came to a head the other day and Doc and I both kind of collectively said, yeah, we just need just to. Pump the brakes for a little bit. But before we do that, we’ve got some good stuff for you.
We’ve got this episode on Sam Alexander and for patrons, we’re gonna be doing a trade paperback review of the Nova Origin, the first five issues that tell the birth slash origin of Sam Alexander as Nova. So all that being said, let’s get into that background.
Sam Alexander, created by Jeph Lobe and Ed McGinnis in Marvel. Point one, number one. November, 2011. The character was named after Jeph’s son, Sam, who tragically died of cancer when he was 17. And so Jeph named the character after him to honor his his son. So Sam Alexander lives in a small Arizona town with his.
Little sister, Caitlin, his mother and his father Jesse, who works as a janitor at Sam’s school and is always drunkenly telling stories about how he was a member of the Nova Court. Sam does not believe his father and thinks he is kind of not the best dad in the world till one night. Jesse disappears. And then Sam is visited by Gamora and Rocket Raccoon who give him Jesse’s helmet and tell me he’s the only Nova Corps member left in the galaxy.
This helmet was your dad’s and you’re the only one who can use it because you have a D n A connection. So after the initial surprise, he encounters and heavily damages a Chiari invasion fleet heading towards Earth. And upon his return, he gets trained by Gamora and Rocket. So he joins the Avengers briefly during avx and then allies with Speedball and Justice for a new iteration of the new Warriors.
Although, truth be told, he kind of thinks he’s above them a little bit. Until he gets humbled by Watu, who becomes kind of like a mentor for him. Then Oahu reveals to Sam that Jesse is alive, which sends Sam into a complete state of elation. So he goes on a hunt for his father. He discovers Jesse serving as a Chiari slave and brings him home only to later discover it was a clone made by the Chiari to get close to Sam, kill him, and get the helmet.
And get the helmet. The truth understandably, sends Sam into a depressive state. So he joins the champions after Civil War ii. As he, Kamala Khan and Miles Morales are dissatisfied with the Avengers and their actions, and they feel that they as teen heroes can do things with a little more empathy and hope.
He encounters a returned Richard Rider who mentors him for a spell. And then after the champions capture a major villain, Sam’s helmet is confiscated because the kids kind of went rogue in their efforts. This once again sends him into depression, although he does get the helmet back and his powers are restored.
So given that the character’s only been around for about 12 years, there’s not a super lengthy background, but there is a lot of meat here on these bones. So, without all that being said, let’s get into the issues.
So the theme is Wookin’ pa Nub in all da Wong Paces. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Looking for love in all the wrong places. Shout out to Eddie Murphy, the first one, and we’ll use that as a springboard into the second one, which is Ruby’s suggestion. So the first one is he’s always looking for a father figure, his own father, who was not great when he was around because he was a drunk, and Sam thought he wasn’t much of anything. Rich, when he finally comes back, serves as a mentor for a little bit. He uses Watu as a mentor. And then, I didn’t really get into this in the, the background, but at one point when the champions are on weird world, he, the villain uses, the best thing I can use to describe it is the, the lotus eater, I believe is what it’s called.
The Lotus Eater machine or whatever it was called. The the thing. Mm-hmm. It, it grants you or it makes you hallucinate into that you’re getting your, your greatest desires. And so he was diluted by the villain into serving as this hero, and he was the right hand man to the hero. And I think a lot of that ties down with his age.
And I don’t wanna step on your toes necessarily, but it’s the fact that he was, he’s a kid, he’s a teenager, and he’s looking for, That adult leadership and it never quite works out the way he wants it to.
Doc Issues: So there are multiple aspects to that. The first, you already hinted at when it comes to age, the idea that people with previous experiences can tell you some sort of guide as to what you can expect from things in the future.
Or if they’ve had something similar, Hey, this is what I did, maybe this will help you. It’s not that they have the exact blueprint for everything that’s gonna happen in your life, but especially if they either know you close enough that they can discuss things, that you have some sort of common bond, or if they’re biologically connected with you and let’s just go ahead and say they are your father.
Then there’s a certain expectation that this has been developed over a significant period of time in a positive way, so that the emotional connection enhances the information that’s being provided. There is also the protective factor. The idea that you, and I know we’ve discussed this so many times, we want people as they develop to have the opportunity to make mistakes and learn, but not so much that it’s catastrophic and damages them for significant periods of time.
That’s the definition of what parents do. So if that’s the case and you don’t have that typical relationship with a person that you’re expected to see that way, then naturally as human beings, we do our best with what we got. And if someone else seems to fall into that purview, then okay, whether willingly or not.
And we’ve certainly had several episodes where we’ve had people that didn’t want to be in that role and just were thrust in that role and we see how that can. Impact things. It’s not that it’s all bad, but it, it, Hmm. You can tell usually that, especially with someone that’s developing rapidly and has major changes going on in their life anyway, that these are temporary artificial constructs that are pretty much set design.
If we’re really just gonna go ahead with different metaphors, you know that this is going to be useful for when you need it, but if you’re expecting it to be lifelong, then you’re going to be disappointed. And that’s the big difference. If you’re adding in that, well, there was someone that was supposed to be in that role and then they’re gone and let’s bring it back to humanity as opposed to comics.
If we’re talking about premature death accidents I don’t know why I put the em faus on the wrong sable there, but if we’re talking about someone willingly leave, it’s a divorce, it’s whatever, then now you’ve just compounded the pain because a person may actually feel rejected. And so all of these things are possible.
And the way Sam is written it, it kinda goes through all of them. And so I know we’re talking about it as one theme, but as one issue I should say. But it, it really is many rolled into one just by saying that if you’re looking for a father figure, you’re looking for stability, you’re looking for guidance, you’re looking for reassurance.
You’re, looking for strong relationship. You’re looking for someone that, honestly, there’s another side later on that we don’t consider at our ages usually, but people that are older also know this. You’re looking for someone that you hope you have enriched their life so that when they do have what we consider to be a more traditional timeframe of their life, they can say, I’m proud of you.
And when all of those possibilities get ripped from you and you’re just trying to find these temporary substitutes, then you may clinging to it a lot harder in the hopes that one of these is going to last. And there is no guarantee. I certainly hope it does, but that’s not preordained.
Anthony: Yeah. It’s natural for kids and teenagers going through those difficult times to want to gravitate towards somebody, and I think in Sam’s case, he’s got so much thrust upon him that he’s looking for somebody.
Anybody to help me please. We’ve all been there. I think to some extent personally growing up, that we, we’ve been looking for somebody to help us, even if it’s just in a limited facet of our lives, because we feel right or wrong that we can’t do it by ourselves. That we need somebody to, to guide us, to show us.
And I think it really comes from that place of, of, I, I’m trying to think of the, the words to, to say this. It comes from such a genuine place of understanding that you don’t know everything. And that openness to find either, growth or, or education or guidance or whatever the, the case may be. I, I hope that that aspect of it stays regardless of what happens with the mentor situation, regardless of whether you find that person or not, that genuine openness to say, I’m looking for assistance in becoming the best version of myself from, from an external source.
That genuine desire to say, I hope that someone can help teach me things that I don’t know. And then I would like to know if you can hold onto that, regardless of the mentor situation, I really do believe it’s going to serve you very well because that, that desire for self-improvement is is one of the best gifts you can have.
It’s one of the best facets to your personality that you can have in my opinion, because it just shows that you’re, you’re comfortable enough with yourself to accept that you don’t know everything and you, you can’t know everything. I always wanna say there’s, there’s a difference between contentment and complacency in that regard that you should, you always strive for being content, but.
Don’t end up having it make you complacent. And I think some of us, not speaking from experience or anything, fall into that trap of going, yeah, everything’s good. I don’t have to do too much now. And then you get lulled into that false sense of security. But that’s a tangent for all of the time. But it does kind of dovetail nicely into the second issue, and this is one that Ruby suggested when she said she wanted us to talk about Sam. She said Sam stopped hero worshiping his dad, and she wanted us to talk about that moment when kids realized their parents are only human and just as flawed as they are.
All right? I mean, frankly we could do. An hour. Yeah, just on this,
Doc Issues: I, it’s, it’s a time like this where, in all honesty, I wish we did have an audience for this sort of thing because I think we could just go around the room and have people describe that moment. I think this one, this topic actually I think can be pretty fun.
So not just parents, but in, in general adults. I think this, this starts to fall into the idea that, I’ll start with the most basic one. The idea that your, your parents actually exist beyond object permanence, but they have lives outside of you, even before you were born and after you were born.
Like, yes, I do admit, I say like, my daughter is my number one thing in the world and all that, and that’s true. That’s true. I’m not saying that’s false, but. Especially now as she’s getting older. You could tell there were some moments where her mind was blown when I would literally just say things like, I’m sorry, I completely forgot about that.
And she would look like, but you’re, you’re infallible. How, how would you forget that? So I would say to her I actually am horrible with names and dates, and so I do that all the time. And my wife said like, yeah, join the club. And then she actually laughed.
So she appreciated that. So she appreciated the idea that father makes mistakes. She didn’t appreciate the idea that there were certain quirks to how she viewed the world, and she wanted feedback about it. And I pointed out, Yeah, talk about those to me first, because it’s a lot easier for you to process it than talking about it to other people that may not understand your point of view.
And I still remember these words cuz she still says them often, why are we like this? And I respond Well, because you got a lot of that from me. And on one hand she enjoys it. On the other hand, she doesn’t. Now, beyond personality traits, the idea that we start to relay stories of random fun things, mistakes, embarrassments, et cetera, et cetera.
Now we’re fleshing out to go into the comic thing. We’re fleshing out ourselves as true characters with lots of, you know, well-rounded well-rounded forms instead of sharp edges. And just creating that 3D construct of who you are rather than this 2D. Perfect example that you’re supposed to be for your child, in my opinion, and I’m very biased.
It’s rewarding, it’s amazing, it’s fun for many people though, and I’m, I’m not gonna make light of it for many people. If it’s a matter of, especially in this case, if it’s vices, if it’s alcoholism, if it’s legal things, if it’s just things parents won’t talk about. And you know, there are skeletons in the closet that they won’t say.
And recognizing that those things must exist, but you’re not going to find out directly and that can create some resentment and whatnot. So there’s a lot of different directions these types of things can go. But I also want to expand it a little bit because it’s not just parents. I mean, I, once again, I’ll be selfish and say, I remember the first time I saw a teacher eating a sandwich in the teacher’s lounge coming in from the cafeteria, and I’m like, What, like as if I thought they just completely like b flipped out of existence until the next class.
I don’t, I don’t know what I was thinking, but I, I vividly remember that as an example. So, yeah. Anthony, if you wanna riff off any of this, I mean, this is
fine. I was just gonna say, I can do you one better. I ran into a, a teacher of mine and I think some of us have had this experience. I ran into a teacher of mine at a store, and not only that, for those of us of a certain age and perhaps geographic area, miss Molly from from tv, kids tv, way back in the day, she had a, a TV show and she would look into the Magic Mirror and she would see a kid’s.
Name. And the one time I, I was like, oh my gosh. She, she saw Anthony cuz she’s like, I look into the Magic Mirror and I see Anthony ran into her to ShopRite or Kings or whatever it was a grocery store. My little, like four or five year old, mine was blown. Cause here’s a woman from the TV and you’re a real person.
I just, just can’t be to bring it back to a bit more real. I think. Yeah, we all kind of have that, that moment where the, the mirror breaks, the glass shatters and
they’re humanized and it can be, Really jarring depending on what it is that breaks the glass to begin with. In some cases, like you were saying with your daughter, it can be something innocuous, something, I don’t wanna say entirely benign, but you forgot something or whatever. Something slipped your mind and oh my gosh, my dad can forget things.
My mom can, not do the thing that I thought she was going to do, whatever. And then you have, in Sam’s case, the, the alcoholism. And we didn’t even really mention the abuse that Sam suffers at school as a result of his father’s alcoholism. And being a janitor, this really is the source of him getting bullied, particularly by this kid Moffitt, who is always like, oh yeah, I took a huge dump in the bathroom.
Your dad’s gotta clean it. Or, you know, Or you better get in there and clean it. Ha ha ha kind of deal. It, it really hits Sam hard in a lot of ways, and it breaks his father down in his own eyes, even more so than a typical quote unquote fall from Grace. And this was done beautifully very early on.
This was at least referenced in Philip Kennedy. Johnson’s run on Superman. I don’t remember if it was in Superman or Action Comics, but it was where Clark was out with, with John, and they were patrolling and Clark got his ass beat and John had to step in and save him. And, and there was this wonderful discussion about.
Between Clark and John about Clark was trying to hold off on that moment where John would eventually realize that Clark was not, in fact, entirely invulnerable because the Superman and yet even Superman can bleed, even Superman can get hurt. And it was just so phenomenally well done. And you can go back and listen to our interview with Philip, where we talked.
That was right before his run started. And I’ve been meaning to, to get him back on the show maybe, hopefully we can get him back after the hiatus. But again, just that, that moment of, wow, my dad isn’t the, the superhero. And my, my son is four and I think he still has that hero worship in his eyes.
To some extent, even though I’m certainly not the perfect dad, but I think he still kind of, has that view of us. Cuz he’s still obviously fairly young. And I don’t know what it’s gonna do to me when I realize that that look is gone. You know, cause we’re talking about it from the perspective of the child.
It’s also really jarring from the perspective of the parent to realize you don’t look at me the way you used to. And it’s perfectly natural. It is developmentally appropriate, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to swallow. And I’m not looking forward to that day. Cause I think we’re both gonna cry.
So the last issue is, Something that is more pertinent to the in universe stuff. And this is that Sam always, or usually feels like he’s the odd man out on any team that he’s on, whether it’s the Nova Corps, whether it’s the Avengers or the Champions. For the Nova Corps. For a long time he was the Nova Corps.
That was it. He was the only one left. And then Rich Rider comes back, he returns from the cancer verse, rich Rider, the greatest Nova corpsman of all time. And then here’s this 17 year old kid. Well, you ain’t stacking up to that. He’s on the Avengers. Yeah, he’s powerful. Yeah, he’s Nova. But you’ve got Thor, you’ve got Captain America, you have these A-List heroes.
Why do they need somebody like Sam? Even on the Champions, which is all teen heroes? Sam is probably pound for pound, the most powerful member of the team, and yet Kamala is the leader. She’s buddy buddy with Miles, and he’s like, where’s my respect? And he’s always not necessarily on the outs, but he always ends up feeling like he’s being taken for granted or not getting the respect that he feels he deserves. Right or wrong.
Yeah. This is a fine balancing act, and I haven’t used this defense mechanism in terms of the podcast in a while, and I’m going to bring it back for this issue. There’s a term called projective identification. It’s the idea that. You view the world a certain way or a situation a certain way, and based on your own view of that situation, you act in a way that prompts responses from those around you to make your prediction come true.
What does that mean in this situation where he feels like he’s the odd man out? Let’s go one by one with them as you, as you said. So, if you’re a Nova Corps and you’re the only person, by definition, that means you are the best. When you’re the one and only now you have objective evidence that there is someone else.
The only logic you can have if you want to go. Ideally is I am quote unquote better than this person. I am equal to this person or I am worse. And the only feedback you get is this person already being placed based on previous experiences that you wouldn’t have really known much about as being the best.
Then you can challenge that. But what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to fight someone on the same team? That doesn’t sound productive. So the only conclusion you can come to is I am subordinate. Not that I have changed anything about myself, but I am going to act in a way that magnifies the fact that I am not exactly the same as this person.
How is that other person going to respond? I have someone that’s acting subservient to me and therefore I have to take a role. It can be positive. I am going to take a role where I’m going to lift this person up if it’s a positive thing, or I’m gonna smash this person down if it’s a negative thing.
Either way. The point is, you have now set this person up to respond to what you’re given. If you’re in the Avengers, you are now a part of a group that is established, that has a clear track record, and you’re going to build your own. On one hand, the logic would dictate that anything that you do for yourself is independently going to be judged based on its own merits.
And yet, if the vibe you give, and, and I’m exaggerating this, okay, it really isn’t as clear in the comics, but I’m, I’m doing this for effect, for the sake of anybody that goes through this. If I am going to put myself in a position where I’m keeping score and I’m holding rank, and I am going to say that I am not quite there yet.
Then it may come across as I’m indifferent to everybody else, or I have a chip on my shoulder, or whatever else you want to call it, and everyone else may notice like, Hey, I’m glad this person is here, but they really seem to have something about them that’s, that’s a little different. That’s the positive way to put it.
If it ends up being really negative, it could be, wow, you wanna talk about a loose cannon like that? That’s not what happens here. But I’m, once again, I’m giving examples of how things can go wrong. And let’s say you finally get a situation where you’re all peers, you’re all equals, you know, similar ages, similar circumstances, et cetera, et cetera.
Especially if you’ve had experiences with others where you say by definition, if everybody else was either older than me or more experienced, cuz age and experience don’t always go hand in hand. Or have at least been put in different situations that are way different than mine. But in this case, shared experiences as while they developed in the first place.
This part’s gonna sound a little harsh to people and it’s, it’s not intended to be harsh, but there’s a certain level of randomness to that, and there’s no guarantee that says that because you’ve had these other circumstances where you didn’t get your due or you feel like you didn’t get your due, the next one that happens is automatically going to make up for it.
There may not be a regression to the mean in life, and that is a very hard pill to swallow for many, many people. I’m not justifying it, but I’m sure as heck not ignoring it. And if that’s what’s happening, then you could imagine someone getting sarcastic, jaded, starting, making snarky comments towards people.
I’m gonna take it out of the. Comic universe and put this in real life, if you felt like you should have been the person that gets a promotion at work and you didn’t get it, are you going to say to your boss, to their face, like, I think you’re an idiot and you made the wrong choice? Probably not. But are you going to get on the quiet quitting trend?
Are you going to be passive aggressive? Are you going to start sending those types of emails that everybody hates that really didn’t need to be sent in the first place? Cuz you don’t actually get to the point of anything. You just wanted to vent in a way that people at least knew that you were thinking about them and you were upset.
Hmm. I wonder how that gets taken by other people who weren’t really considering any of those topics, but now have you on their radar and the only experience they’re going to think about is that stupid thing that you sent and kind of put them in a little bit of a bad mood. So the next time I see you, they really don’t want to communicate as much and it becomes its own feedback loop.
That’s just one example. You have influence on the world. You have influence on the people around you, but you do not have total control and you cannot change things that are unchangeable in those circumstances. You can pretend that you do, but if you create that for yourself, don’t be surprised when everything else around you happens in a way that doesn’t work in your favor.
I’m not blaming Sam for this. Let’s make this clear, and I am doing this for exaggeration so that people that haven’t experienced this concept in this way before can really understand how it can go wrong, but it can also go right if you adapt it the exact same way, and I’m sure people can think of examples for themselves of how you can flip the script on this.
I apologize for the sake of time. We’re really not gonna get into it that way, but I’m just letting you know when you use this as a defense mechanism, it often can backfire, but if you use it in a. Appropriate ways it can really actually start to enhance your life.
Anthony: Okay. I guess I hadn’t really considered, I don’t wanna say the positive aspects, but the, the less detrimental version, but that, that tracks. So we’re gonna take a break. We’re gonna plug a couple shows and we get back, we’ll get into treatment. Stick around.
And we’re back. So treatment,
Sam does have the power, he’s got the Nova force, but what are you going to do to help him wield it better?
Doc Issues: Oh dear. Yeah, this one wasn’t really that. Hard. I’ve done this so many times with so many characters and you know, I think, you know what I’m gonna say, but I have to be careful because I know it, it’s not a great thing and I’m not trying to make the guy feel bad about himself. But
I feel like there needs to be some back to basic stuff without the helmet. And I’m not saying I’m taking the helmet away completely. What I’m saying is without putting him in danger, of course I would be interested if there’s a way, even if it’s just like talking it out like a retrospective view.
What would you have done if you didn’t have the helmet in certain aspects. And there are going to be some that are really obvious, like I would’ve died. Like that’s a really, really ridiculous idea. But I think there would’ve been some where I. He could have thought of some outside the box ideas that would have allowed him to develop more of, of what he would want to see in himself as a hero, as as a colleague to the people around him.
And I do think that there’s a way to get that type of development so that he can enjoy more things, because it’s very clear that when he’s on his game that he really likes it, he enjoys it. But then without that, I’m going to quote Pat Riley, former NBA player turned coach slash general Manager slash well, basically has won at every level.
And he used to say there’s winning and then there’s misery. And I would like to think that.
There is another zone there and we’ve, we’ve used that term. There’s winning and then there’s learning, there’s winning and there’s challenges, there’s winning and there’s opportunity, and just making that tweak can really help someone in terms of the value they see in themselves, even, even if other people don’t necessarily see it.
So you don’t need as much external validation.
Anthony: It’s a reframe, and we’ve spoken many times about the importance of reframing on this show, and we’ve talked about cognitive behavioral therapy and the, the benefits and the ways and places in which it can be used. So yeah, that absolutely can be a, a huge boost for Sam.
So out of universe. The power thing is not really applicable, but certainly everything going on with Jesse and Jesse, I guess telling stories, perhaps Jesse maybe wasn’t obviously out in space, but he was a big shot at one point and Sam is like, yeah, that’s nice now you just kind of sit around and drink and it’s making my life miserable.
Doc Issues: There’s no hypothetical here. This is what I deal with on a regular basis with a lot of people in these types of relationships, either with parents or even if you flipped it the other way around, whatever the case may be. What I’m going to say is it’s someone that’s in the person’s life at one point, and maybe they are transient, maybe they’re in and out.
Maybe it’s that. Yeah, that dad that sobers up a bit, comes back for a while, son, I’ve changed. And things are gonna be so much better from here on out, and it gets back to the bottle. So that happens. So without focusing so much on the other person, the idea of the therapy is, what am I doing for Sam? So in these situations, it’s validating any trauma or abuse that has happened.
Recognizing that it did happen because I think many times these people, especially if they’re, if the person that they’re talking about was a big shot, it’s been able to be swept under the rug for one reason or another, or the person suffering the abuse is, is dismissed in terms of their validity.
So first establishing that, and then from there, making sure that, how do I put it? You, they can sit in it for a few minutes, but you don’t let them lay in it and wallow in it. Because the idea that these things have happened doesn’t mean that’s how they have to stay. And then, Coming up with a practical plan.
I admit when it comes to this, my bias, because of my current job and experience working both in the emergency room and acute care hospital, is that I have to make sure that you’re safe. So if you feel like this person is still doing something that is going to continue to be detrimental to you, I have to confront it.
Does that mean that you have to change your environment? Should that person still be with you? That’s, that’s a, that’s a basic point. If you make the decision, which as an adult you provided, you’re not demonstrating any lack of your faculties, if you can make that decision, that’s fine. But then what do we do as your, you know, your alternative plan if things go wrong, coming up with that, giving resources, so just that basic safety planning first.
Then once that’s established, okay, now we can get into the more, you know, therapy aspects. Is this something that you wanna do in terms of the relationship itself? Like, do you want to improve that relationship or is it that you wanna focus on more things unrelated to that relationship just about yourself and your wellbeing and other spheres of your life?
So establishing those parameters, once you get that straightened out, all right, what is the emotional impact that this has had on you? If it’s depression, okay, here’s my usual go-tos for depression, and the type of C B T for that. Is it anxiety, the worry that this is going to happen again, rumination, that it’s, it’s not going to get better, or I’ve had my confidence shattered because I think I’m going to end up in the same category as my old man.
Whatever. All right, well, let’s challenge that and, and, you know, look for alternatives. Is it pure anger? Hopefully not violent, but I’ve seen that too. Well, is there another channel for that? Is there a way that we can make this a, a positive where you take the physical energy and agitation that you experience and, and allows you to be more healthy because you, you find a physical outlet for it in a way that’s going to be productive?
Or is this the motivation then that you need instead of that anger happening with your, with your arms, where you ball your fists and, and cause problems and it’s with your feet? And I don’t mean kicking, I mean walking, I mean getting out. It’s the motivation for change. These are all possible avenues and I’ve seen so many variations and so many different paths.
It’s, it’s just a mix and match of whatever the person needs at those given times. Okay.
Anthony: All right. So with all of that being said, let’s see what happens when we get Sam Alexander on Dr. Issue’s couch.
Doc Issues: Hello, Sam. I’m Dr. Issues.
Sam (Anthony): Hey.
Doc Issues: thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I know you’re very busy.
Sam (Anthony): Yeah, well, not like I had much say in the matter.
Doc Issues: I understand this isn’t easy for you.
Sam (Anthony): I just don’t know why Kamalas being such a hard ass about all this. I mean, she said I couldn’t have the helmet back until I talked to you. So here I am.
Doc Issues: Let’s not focus so much on how we got here and start talking about what we can accomplish while we’re here.
Sam (Anthony): I could go get the ultimate nullify from the moon du in this.
Doc Issues: And what, what, what? What was that?
Sam (Anthony): Nevermind just, I’m just sick and tired of always losing this helmet or having it taken away from me or whatever. It’s like, it’s like no one gets it.
Doc Issues: Then explain it to me.
Sam (Anthony): What difference would that make?
Doc Issues: Seems to me it would make all the difference in the world. The helmet sounds pretty special to you. Would it help you feel better to have me understand it?
Sam (Anthony): I don’t know. Maybe.
Doc Issues: There’s your answer then.
Sam (Anthony): Can you help me get it back?
Doc Issues: Y you said Kamala won’t give it back until you talk to me, right? So talk to me.
Sam (Anthony): Fine. So the helmet, it was my dad’s, he. He wasn’t always the best dad when I was growing up. And he used to tell me all these stories about how he was in the Novo Corps and he fought all these amazing battles and space and he saved so many people all the time. I never believed him,
And then one day he disappeared without a trace and I thought he ran out on us, but he left a helmet to me. Well, he left it to a talking raccoon and a green assassin lady, but he told them to give it to me anyway, it, so it gives me all these awesome powers I could fly, I can fire energy blasts. I’m super strong.
That helmet made me the only member of the Nova Corps left. Well, at least until Rich came back. But it made me an avenger, it made me a champion. It helped me save the planet, the, the universe, other worlds. Yeah. It’s, it’s brought me some trouble, but it’s helped me protect my family more times than I can count.
And it’s helping me search for my dad because he’s alive somewhere out there, and I’m, I’m gonna find him one day no matter what it takes. So, yeah, this helmet, it’s, it’s a huge part of me. It’s, it’s who I am and every time I don’t have it, I feel like, like I’m losing part of myself. Like, like I always have to keep fighting just to, to hold onto my identity.
Doc Issues: I see.
Sam (Anthony): And I just, I wish I could make other people see just how much it means to me.
Doc Issues: Have you told them that?
Sam (Anthony): I mean, lots of times.
Doc Issues: What kind of reaction do you get?
Sam (Anthony): People roll their eyes or they laugh and say stuff like, you need to be a hero without the helmet or crap like that. And it’s like Obviously I can’t fly through space without the helmet. So yeah, it makes a difference. I’m not like Thor or somebody, but that doesn’t make me less of a hero.
Doc Issues: I understand.
Sam (Anthony): Do you really, really, so like you’ve traveled to other worlds and you’ve saved people?
Doc Issues: N no, no. I’ve listened to hundreds, but.
Maybe thousands of people place part of all their identity into one facet of their life, and whenever it’s not there, they try to compensate by recreating that part of themselves, like in other areas where, I don’t know, it just, it doesn’t fit.
Sam (Anthony): Oh, okay. That kinda sounds a little accurate.
Doc Issues: Then. Then when they try to loop in, the ones that you think would understand, they’re dismissive because they already have their own defense mechanisms and they don’t necessarily wanna open up that can of worms talking to you about it.
Sam (Anthony): Yeah. Okay. I, I guess that’s right.
Doc Issues: And at least there’s somebody that can show you how to do things right if you’re lucky, but then they probably don’t wanna stick around for all the things going on in your head and they bounce, so you feel like you’re back to square one again.
Sam (Anthony): I mean, sometimes that’s true, like with Rich. I mean, who am I compared to that guy? But he knows what he’s doing. I mean, not that I don’t, but come on, man. And I get there. There’s one thing that you probably can’t relate to still because nobody really does.
Doc Issues: That being?
Sam (Anthony): Can I ask you for an opinion?
Doc Issues: My degree and my session timer says Yes.
Sam (Anthony): Okay. Okay. A lot of times I mentioned my dad, and that’s when people shut me out. I don’t know why. I think it’s because they think I’m being a moron or a woo or too soft or whatever. I don’t, is that it? I don’t know.
Doc Issues: I doubt it.
Sam (Anthony): Why’d you hesitate?
Doc Issues: Because I really don’t know. I, I don’t know all the people that you interact with. All right, let me, let me tell you something. In general, people don’t think about you nearly as much as you think they do, unless you’re directly bringing things up about yourself. That’s when the switch goes on.
And then they have to kind of use this mental bandwidth in other ways. And, you know, basically they didn’t expect to have to do that. So think about it. I had to pause and this is my job every day. So imagine what that’s like for a lay person, like even a superhero lay person.
Sam (Anthony): Huh. That’s that’s deep.
Doc Issues: I got news for you. I think it can go deeper. Because even thinking about it more, I’m not sure. That’s your real question.
Sam (Anthony): I don’t get it.
Doc Issues: You didn’t get this far to say all of this stuff to me just for getting a helmet back. You know, you’re, Hmm. Your dad question is right street wrong block.
Sam (Anthony): So I’m in the neighborhood.
Doc Issues: Y yeah. Well, teens y Yes. Thank you for explaining the metaphor. Anyway, my point is I think you’re having some conviction issues about the search for your father.
Sam (Anthony): It’s, it’s not that I don’t believe he’s out there. It’s just, I, I thought the search was over. I, I brought him home and then it turned out to be a clone that. That broke me because it was, it was like losing him a second time. So now I’m back at the beginning.
Doc Issues: Now that I won’t pretend to understand that that type of grief doesn’t just vanish. Just so you know, there’s no right answer. If you wanna actively search, you’ll maybe take a set amount of time when you can. That makes sense. If you wanna put it on the back burner, focus on other things while you’re healing, you know that that works too. Either way, we can work out a plan.
Sam (Anthony): Does that plan involve me getting my helmet back?
Doc Issues: Well, since you have to function at a high level, I guess I have some pull to say that you should have the helmet, but I’m not gonna fight anyone who takes it away from you. You know, like you, you’re gonna have to work out your own relationship.
Sam (Anthony): Okay, so I do get the helmet back.
Doc Issues: Yes, fine. But my point is, if Kamala says no,
Sam (Anthony): I get my helmet. I get my helmet. Sweet
Anthony: Sam is a great character because he’s not quite jerk with the heart of gold, but he’s. He’s close and he’s, he’s gone through some character development there, but there’s still a lot of that rough edge, which is to be expected because he’s a teenager, and yet I think that’s part of the stuff that’s just makes him so fun.
I, I really enjoy the, the younger teen characters because they’re teens, they are kind of by definition, immature and undeveloped, or at least not fully developed. And it’s always so fascinating to watch the growth and development in the hands of a proper writer, I’ll say. But I like seeing younger characters get put through the ringer and see what happens when they come out on the other side.
So recommended reading is the the first Nova Series, the Jeph Loeb, who then hands it over to Zeb Wells and then the Champions series. Those are the, the two recommended series that I would suggest. So next episodes we’ve got the World Eater Galactus, and then the original Nova Richard Rider, and then Miguel O’Hara, spider-Man 2099.
And then, as I said, we’ll be going on our break. So as always, you can find all of our episodes on our website capes on the couch.com. We are also proud members of the Gonna Geek Network. Go to Gonna geek network.com and check out us and better podcasting. And I really do need to sign up for a chat with sp.
Once the, the season wraps up and I perhaps have a little time, maybe that’ll be one of the things I do on hiatus, so at least I can keep my finger on the pulse of the podcasting world. And then you can check us out, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at Capes on the couch. I’m hoping that I’ll have the time and mental bandwidth to continue putting out social media content while we’re on hiatus and that perhaps that will be something that gets revamped.
We’ll see what I have the, the time and energy for. I just, I need a Nova helmet so I can, you know, get things done a lot faster. But that’s gonna wrap it up and again, hope to see some of you, at least one of you at PuchiCon on Sunday. And when we come back next week, I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun.
Stories and things to talk about. So, before we wrap things up, doc.
Doc Issues: I had to remind myself of the definition of Nova, cuz I knew it was a, you know, astronomy term. And it turns out that it basically means bright energy, usually from the interactions of very old stars. And I think that matches so well whether they meant it to or not, just because it sounded like a cool word.
You have someone who is up and coming with incredible power somehow trying to find his way after someone else who was fading in his life just couldn’t quite give enough.
Anthony: Very well said. I, I do love astronomy and I appreciate the science reference. So, for doc issues, I’m Anthony Sytko. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.