Just about everyone I know is well aware of what a huge comic-book enthusiast I am. My friends, my colleagues at work, strangers on the Internet — my comic-geek cred is apparent for all to see. As a kid, it was something I often kept to myself, but the 21st century has brought about an acceptance of geek culture, as non-comics readers have shown interest ranging from mild curiosity to hearty embracing of the medium for which I have such a passion. Those closest to me accept and acknowledge my interest, and in recent years, I’ve almost always received a few comics-related Christmas gifts — from my wife, my parents, even my mother-in-law. It’s genuinely touching.
But over the holidays in 2013, my now-four-year-old gave me what may be my favorite comics-connected present ever: Superman underpants.
My wife tells me they were shopping at a large department store when the boy spied these red-and-blue boxer briefs with a retro DC Comics bullet on the cardboard packaging. He insisted on it as a present for Daddy, and at $8, Mommy couldn’t deny him the thrill of this particular holiday offering. When I opened it, I looked at my wife and rolled my eyes. I thought it was cute, but I figured they wouldn’t be comfortable or fit right. Over the course of my relationship with my spouse, I’ve become a bit more particular about underwear, thanks to her buying me pairs that cost more than three bucks for a baker’s dozen.
A few weeks after Christmas, my wife asked why I hadn’t worn the Kryptonian britches, or even removed them from the packaging. I expressed my doubt that I’d like them, but she insisted, noting our son would love to see me wear them (especially on a day he was wearing his Superman briefs). The XL underpants were divested of cardboard and plastic fasteners, washed, dried and folded in preparation of a day I ran out of other clean unmentionables. And that day eventually arrived…
It was the most comfortable pair of underwear I’d ever slipped over my nethers. Not in a naughty way, just comfy. Super-comfy, even.
I started looking forward to the days when my Super-wear was clean and back in rotation. They fit perfectly, breathed nicely, felt great. And when I found myself at the same store at which they were purchased in the men’s wear department, looking for other items, I glanced over to a wall display and saw them: more DC-related boxer briefs, in the same packaging and branding. And not just Superman. I bought a pair, the Flash this time. Took ’em home, tried them out. Just as comfortable — much to my surprise, as it’s been my experience that the same material, when dyed in different colors, sometimes adopts a different tactile feel. But not these.
I soon found myself returning on a couple of other occasions for more — Green Lantern, then Batman. If the DC licensee knew what it had on its hands, it would get more Justice Leaguers in my pants.
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