Saturday, 27 June 2015

Andrew's Comic.

On Thursday 25th June at The Black Box,Belfast("The home of live music,theater, literature,comedy, live art and circus performances and just about every conceivable form of entertainment..")there was a very special event held to launch the one-shot comic book Andrew's Comic by Andrew Fitzsimmons. Andrew passed away on the 1st of October 2013 after a struggle with a rare form of cancer which despite his youth and fierce determination to overcome proved too much. Yet through all his trials this remarkable young man displayed an extraordinary sense of self and admirable determination to be defined as the person he was and not by the terrible disease that threatened his health and indeed his life. His personal dignity and basically optimistic humanity remained intact as this indifferent and uncaring bully battered at his defenses.
               They are Andrew's own words and he lived by them to the very end. It is not to say that everyday he was able to bounce back with that indefatigable personality that even those who never met him but read his story have come to think about him. The only person able to do this is off course Old Man Logan himself Wolverine( And even that is down to his utterly fictional healing factor.). Andrew had his down and dispirited days and nights of struggle and pain with that insidious presence lurking just below the skin constantly attacking. Anyway, Andrew always believed that Batman would always take Wolverine in a fight, he had stated as much suggesting that Batman always came prepared. In that sense Andrew shared  the Batman actor Christian Bale's opinion that in the super hero fraternity Batman kicked ass not because of some alien origin story or scientifically enhanced super powers; he was just a brave man who could take the blows and did a lot of press ups.

               Batman was Andrew's favorite character and he had a particular fondness for the nineteen sixties television version with Adam West and Burt Ward loving its wit charm and abundance of color. A television series years ahead of its time and like Andrew himself blessed with a winning absence of cynicism. All of Andrew's family and friends were there for the occasion and witness to his affection for those characters. I have rarely been in the presence of a group of people who were united in the depth of their appreciation for the joy of having known the same person. To witness them as the evening progressed laugh together, cry together and ultimately reassure each other that they were together was a lesson in humility such as I have not known.
                 Simon of Clic Sargent said that having your family, your friends and professional helpers around you will help with the impact cancer has upon you. It does not even diminish with the loss of a loved one as I saw that situation continue for the family and friends of Andrew as they celebrated together the blessing of having known him. It was deeply moving to hear first Simon speak and then his brother Craig of the life and times of the bother and friend they had lost. They spoke from a small stage in the Black Box to an appreciative audience huddled together about a stage where a photograph of the young Fitzsimmons brothers struck a pose in their Batman and Robin costumes.
                   THE ONLY TIME I EVER GOT TO BE BATMAN Craig remarked as their wee faces beamed heroically from that happy day captured forever.
                    This is a wonderful piece of work put together with consumate professionalism by the people at Uproar Comics in collaboration with Andrew's own scripting. With fore wards and afterwards by those who were closest to Andrew during his life and struggles. They bookend a small body of work that will remain writ large in the heart and mind of anyone who ever reads it.
                     It might be Andrew's Comic but he wrote it for you.
                                                 "Look Spidey,This what a real hero looks like."