(Special thanks to Daniel Jun Kim of Pop Mythology for his time and insight!)
On July 3rd, Pop Mythology and Third Coast Comics are partnering to hold a screening of Spider-Man: Far From Home at the Evanston Cinemark Theater to benefit Children's Home and Aid. For many comic fans and members of the geek/nerd community, this is a chance to enjoy a beloved character: for Daniel Jun Kim of Pop Mythology, it's an empowering step for the geek/nerd community to live the theme "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility."
Inspired by last year's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Daniel was motivated to create a "Spider Army" who would adopt the philosophy that no good deed is too small to drive social change. Engaging with people in Spider-Man cosplay at various conventions, Daniel encouraged them to perform a small yet meaningful task to help foster a sense of community. This was not a new idea (Daniel acted as a D & D Cleric at a Families Belong Together March), but it served as a way to engage fans of a highly popular - and influential - character towards the greater good.
Wanting to reflect Spider-Man's nature as an "orphan" character archetype, Daniel decided to raise money Children's Home and Aid, a nonprofit that works with at-risk youth who have experienced abandonment, trauma, and abuse. (They also run the Rice Child and Family Center in Evanston). After running a brief crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for 35 children and 15 staff members/chaperones, Pop Mythology partnered with Third Coast Comics (who I've worked with as part of Chicago Doctor Who Meetup). Citing the example of Black Panther screenings, Third Coast Comics partnered with Pop Mythology to provide an opportunity for both fundraising and showing kids that they can be heroes regardless of their background.
For Daniel Jun Kim, this Spider-Man movie screening is more than just a great idea; it's the expression of an overall philosophy about geek/nerd culture and social good. With a greater move towards geek culture interfacing with social benefit (like a recent Star Wars-themed vigil and Chicago TARDIS' charity auction), Pop Mythology is not only embracing current trends, but has a more inclusive, broader focus.
In Pop Mythology, Daniel Jun Kim focuses on how myths and mythology resonate within geek/nerd culture. At its core, Pop Mythology and the "Spider Army" both advocate for the idea about how geek/nerd culture can interface with real life issues and drive social good and social change. Interested in finding larger answers to complex social/individual problems, Daniel Jun Kim uses Pop Mythology to explore how themes from myth and mythology resonate in our popular culture. Seeing how individuals and societal structures impact on each other, Daniel Jun Kim's work on Pop Mythology hopes to motivate geek culture on collectively alleviating indvidual and societal suffering...and make the process less intimidating, sustainable, and more fun.
Driving social change through small acts is a radical idea: these acts can have ripple effects and enable people to make huge change via small actions. As a long-time Doctor Who fan, I work to integrate the show's values of respect, kindness, and fairness into my actions. Through his work on Pop Mythology, as well as arranging this special screening of Spider Man: Far From Home to benefit Children's Home and Aid, Daniel Jun Kim is proving that social change is within everyone's power...and with that power comes responsibility.
Here is ticketing information for Spider-Man: Far From Home via Third Coast Comics' website. Hope to see you there!
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