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The best thing about that column on the X-Men is it invited some hardcore comic book fans to stop in and really nerd out. I enjoy selecting the beer and playing the music. But it's watching the horde dance that really gets me going.

After some really compelling conversations, I decided to dig into my iPad's Marvel app. You can't really get new stuff on the iPad, I assume because it would just devastate the comic book shops, if you could. But I'm reading some fairly interesting old stuff. Please permit me to use my "35 And Over" card and speak as though sliced bread is a recent invention.

Let's begin here: I really, really, really, really like House of M. I'm only halfway through, and I know the entire storyline is really a retread of that old Alan Moore joint. But, I don't know if it's the art, or the writing, but the scene where the kid "wakes" all the superheroes up hit me hard. 

Here is a moment of self-involvement: I started writing in part because I liked words, and in part because I saw things in a way that virtually no one else I knew did. There were so many moments when I wished I was "normal," when I wished my Dad would celebrate Christmas, when I wished we didn't fast on Thanksgiving, when I wished we could pop off fireworks on the Fourth. 

When you're black there's a certain alien-ness you accept. But when you are black in West Baltimore, and your parents are quasi-ex-hippies, the alien-ness is compounded by a factor of three. All your friends are hanging out, and you're stuck reading Ishmael Reed. And you're, like, twelve. 

As time went on I came to accept that my family was a certain way, and that there was a beauty in that. But still in my heart, there was this sense that the world could be normal for me. That's still with me. It never dies.

So when I see Peter Parker brought about, brought back, it shakes me. And I'm sort of amazed that through all the haze of continuity, through all the superfluous books, through all the movies that should not have been made, through all the faux-bad-boy fanboyism, these guys--Wolverine, Spiderman, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde--actually are great characters. And bad renditions of them can't really take that away. Props to Bendis.

I really wish they'd lose lingerie on Emma Frost, though. But that's a thought for another day. 

It's pretty late. Please excuse any typos. I'm just talking to you.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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