But, as far as being influenced by comic books, TV and larger-than-life heroes, that was me growing up. As a kid, I was "wildly imaginative" to say the least. It started at an early age. One week I was Superman, jumping off furniture, flexing my muscles and saving the day. The next week I was Popeye eating my spinach, strong to the finish and whoopin' Bluto's butt.
Now, this kind of "role playing" may be normal, but to me it was deeply ingrained. My imagination was allowed to flourish, and I would have to say it's mostly do to my mother... the culprit who encouraged my "imaginative" escapades. She was fully invested. It's not just that I imagined myself to be Superman, it's that my mother would make me a cape to go with my blue pajamas and sew an "S" onto it. And when I was into my "Popeye" phase, she helped me obtain a toy pipe, a sailor hat and an empty can so I could fill it with lettuce. She was amazing that way .. always encouraging my interests
Another "larger than life"character that captured my interest in those early formative years was not derived from television or comic books. It came from our regular attendance at Sunday morning Mass, and from the roles of actors like Bing Crosby in movies like "The Bells of Saint Mary." From those, there was a period of time, when I imagined myself a priest. Priests were the rock stars of devout Catholic families. And my mother, good Catholic that she was, was on it in a snap. She sewed me elaborate ceremonial vestments that I would wear conducting Mass on the altar of our piano bench, and doling out dried bread to the congregation of my family. I know it sounds strange, but that was me.
In high school, my mother herself excelled in both art and theater. Like many mothers at the time she probably chose to let those things go for the sake of being a wife to a WW2 soldier, and later raising a family of four girls and then me. In my teen years she suffered through some very difficult mental and later physical hardships that left her different for some time. So I forgot that enthusiastic, supportive and explorative side of her. But, as an artist/author/musician I owe it to her for being there for me and encouraging my "wildly imaginative" journies. It's her fault, and I love her for it.
Such was my childhood. Looking back now with a larger perspective of these things. The early pattern of "trying out roles" became a life of "wearing many hats." My life has been a long composate of short stints. But that has kept me feeling young and left me even today wondering what I'll be when I grow up. Thanks Mom.