I didn’t really follow the Disney+ series “Loki,” but that old-school typeface was undeniably familiar:

TVA corporate office in Chattanooga, Tennessee

I found the Twitter posts and articles later. Initially, I was caught up in a warm sense of wonder… was this just a wild coincidence? Wait, Tennessee orange.

There had to be a connection.

***

Not every question has to be answered. Not every suspicion has to be drawn into the harsh light of truth. The reporter in me immediately pushes back on that sort of fuzzy, fun reality— but if not in the world of comic books and super heroes can that sense of wonder be savored, then where?

Imagine living your life in that sense of wonder… how early mankind tried to grasp the reality of lightening, seasons, eclipses, or birth.

Even with a world so throughly tamed by engineering and technology, even with history’s greatest library in our pockets, I think too much time & energy is spent thinking we understand, projecting a sense of smug certainty.

And what’s a better place to reconnect with that sense of wonderment than a comic con?

***

If you’re from a big city like New York City or San Francisco, you’re probably accustomed to seeing Spiderman swing past the Empire State Building or a Marvel villain destroy the Golden Gate Bridge— but superhero movies don’t come to middle America all that much, so this nod to TVA was quite a thrill.

You can’t really understand how big a deal TVA is in East Tennessee.

It’s a huge employer, and has tamed the Tennessee River and transformed the landscape with 49 sites dams (29 of which generate hydro power). It also operates three nuclear plants, five coal-burning / fossil fuel plants, and one pumped hydroelectric plants at Raccoon Mountain (if you don’t know what pumped hydro is, it’s worth a deeper dive).

And when it began it brought jobs and electricity to one of the nation’s poorest regions as one of many New Deal Depression-Era government projects.

I’ve never seen this officially sourced, but common knowledge says TVA engineering know-how helped Chattanooga become “Gig City,” one of the nation’s few cities with fast, affordable, municipal internet.

I think TVA and what it’s done for this area is a point of pride for a lot of people here.

***

Rose City Comi Con was coming up, and though I was living in East Tennessee, I wanted to go. Could our interviews video top what we did in 2019? Could whatever cosplay I came up with top Good Times Snoke from that year too?

Soon, the stars would begin to align…

With the TVA connection on the front of my mind, I ran across this TVA shirt in a thrift store. I made a little fun-with-strangers sensor to detect superheroes and radiation, and bought a pair of cheesy orange sunglasses with a handful of change in Mexico.

An adorable brother-sister duo who gave me a great deal on a pair of odd orange sunglasses (because I lost my wallet running to the cruise ship and had no money for most of the cruise… long story… )

***

But when I saw the shirt, I didn’t buy it. Tried my best to get it shipped to Portland, but it didn’t work out.

It was already rough having to deal with pandemic precautions and the distance between people that caused. So, I can’t say we did any great interviews or much at all besides this post…

But I did get to run around to a bunch of comic shops looking for the perfect Batman t-shirt, and, of course met some cool people and and indie comics creators.

We were Batmans. Not Batmen. Batmans. I thought it was funny.

***

A lot of people get the Chewbacca cosplay fur nailed down, but very few can nail the Wookie musk smell. It ain’t easy… or pleasant.

***

Not Batman and Robin; not Batmen; we were Batmans.

***