Of Paul McCartney’s imagination, Marvel characters, and a shocking discovery

“Then it occurred to me you couldn’t be bad. Magneto was mad, Titanium too. And the Crimson Dynamo just couldn’t cut it no more….”

For over three decades I assumed Magneto, Titanium Man, and the Crimson Dynamo were figments of Paul McCartney’s imagination. After all, this was the same mind that gave us Rocky Raccoon, Eleanor Rigby, Billy Shears, Helen Wheels, and others.

Magneto and friends were featured in Venus and Mars, Paul’s 1975 follow-up to the astronomically successful Band on the Run album. (I actually have an original vinyl copy in my collection.) Being a deep cuts kind of guy, “Magneto and Titanium Man” has always been one of my favorite tracks. It really never occurred to me that these guys were anything other than a few more whimsical characters from the most prolific songwriter of the 20th century.

Fast forward a few decades

I never was one of those Big Bang Theory kind of nerds that hangs out in comic book stores living in the world of Marvel heroes. I was only vaguely aware of their existence and hardly knew any character names. But thanks to a family friend, my teenage son is a fan. The friend first loaned him DVDs of the Iron Man, Avengers and Captain America movies, which we devoured as a family.

Then last Christmas the friend gave my son Marvel Avengers: the Ultimate Character Guide, a thick hardcover book any comic book nerd would love. It’s a detailed, alphabetical summary of every character from every realm that ever existed. We’ve been reading it together a few pages at a time.

That’s when I made my shocking discovery.

Crimson DynamoAs we were reading through the C’s, I turned a page to see – in full color glory – the Crimson Dynamo! I think I probably gasped. I’m sure I  sat there with my jaw hanging open for a few moments.

“Wait! the Crimson Dynamo is….real?  And he’s a foe of Iron Man? Zounds!”

My world was rocked. Everything I thought I knew was suddenly challenged. I couldn’t believe it. Several pages later, there was Magneto. And sure enough, toward the back of the book was Titanium Man. How could I go my entire adult life not knowing about these guys? And what else don’t I know?

I guess it’s good to know Paul McCartney reads comic books. It would explain a lot, actually. And this experience has completely removed any doubt that I am a full-blown nerd.

Are you one too?


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