Martha Thomases: Call Any Vegetable


capt-carrotIt is harvest time. The Green Market is a riot of colors, and I can’t seem to eat fast enough to take advantage of the riches of the season. I spend far too much time worrying about what to cook so that I don’t have to throw away any of my beautiful produce.

This might seem like a stupid thing to obsess about — why don’t I just buy less? — but it’s far better than my other current obsession, which is to wonder if I should have kissed that guy I like, and, if so, would there have been tongues, and had I brushed my teeth recently enough for that to happen. Often, it’s no fun inside my head.

No matter. Too much good food is not a bad problem to have. It’s certainly better than the obsession with death that seems to be once again encroaching on American superhero comics, a genre I like because it’s often full of hopeful fantasy. Here and here and here, just to take three examples from various rumor mills around the ‘Net. (Beware! Those links contain spoilers.)

I know that heroism involves risks, and that death is a part of life. I’m just bored with killing off characters as a stunt to get attention. It makes story- and character-driven deaths less meaningful.

So let’s talk about vegetables. Superhero vegetables.

Surprisingly (to me, at least), there are very few. One is a Green Lantern, and one is a Guardian of the Galaxy, who is also currently a movie star.

cuddling-carrotsAlas, Captain Carrot is not, in fact, a vegetable. And Swamp Thing can be food, but he can also be poison, since he can be any plant he chooses to be.

With the growing concern about children’s health, it’s not a surprise that parents want to find ways to get their kids to make healthier food choices. And it’s not a surprise that these parents, thinking that superheroes are kid stuff, would try to co-opt the vocabulary and imagery of comics to tempt their children.

Some have even found a way to make a business out of it. A successful business that seems to be accomplishing its goals, at least so far. And they have Aasif Mandvi among their celebrity spokes-plants!

I don’t know what you might like to eat, or what variety of nutrients makes you feel your best. Because we are human and capable of infinite variety, you probably have a different list than I do. I find that whatever I want to eat, I want to add more vegetables to it (except for, maybe, ice cream). In the process, I suppose I am causing the death of these vegetables, or at least creating the demand that is the incentive for farmers to kill them.

It’s possible vegetables have feelings. Whether that is true or not, they have more life than a fictional character.

Even one with super-powers.