I never had a fireplace growing up. Our home was heated by a gas stove in the living room. Rather I should say our living room was heated by a gas stove. It provided some warmth to the dining area, less to the kitchen and bathroom and nothing to the bedrooms.
Laurie visited me one winter when we were first dating and discovered that her bottle of shampoo that she left in her overnight bag had frozen while sitting in the bedroom. She married me anyway.
Upon leaving home I spent the next several years in dorms or apartments, none of which had fireplaces. Our first home also had no fireplace, just a wood stove in the basement.
When we moved into the Fabulous RRoy Palace some 20+ years ago, it had a lovely marble fireplace. Finally, a place where I could hang one of my beloved framed comic book posters and a mantle to set up my favorite action figures and statues. It would be the decorative centerpiece of our home.
Five minutes after we moved in The Wife had placed a Van Gogh painting, two Waterford candle sticks, a Monet water lilies glass plate, a crystal hurricane lamp and various knicknacks over the fireplace. Once again I was forced to lug all my prized possessions to the basement.
A few weeks ago at the local comic convention I picked up a lovely Hawkeye print. The Wife, who has a gift for such things, took it to Michaels to be framed. If you’ve ever been to an art museum you know that the frame is at least half the importance of the painting and Laurie is very good at selecting frames and mattings and whatnot. The finished product was indeed lovely and it seemed a shame to send such a work of art down to the basement. So, while The Wife was at Curves one night I gently took down Vincent, shoved her knicknacks in a cabinet, hung my Hawkeye print and hauled some statues and action figures up to the mantle.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with this on my own, so I quickly snapped some photos, put them on Facebook, and asked our loyal friends and family to vote for the best fireplace decor. The final vote was 19 for Hawkeye, 12 for Van Gogh and 166 people with the good sense not to get involved. Despite a clear mandate for change, it was equally clear that continued happiness in the house meant a return to the status quo.
As I carried my Hawkeye treasures down the stairs I thought of other combinations of items and decided, hey, since she’s not around, let’s play with this some more. My next design was Avengers-centric, with a set of small Disney figurines bookended by Black Widow and Thor statues. I liked the art but the figures didn’t quite cut it. The Hawkeye art was too small for the space but this piece worked fine.
My final — and if I do say so myself — masterpiece was the Batman design. I thought about doing an X-Men one but by this time I was really tired of hauling shit up and down the basement stairs.
Longtime readers of The Report know of my long struggle to acquire a copy of Alex Ross’ classic “Knight Over Gotham” so you can imagine how exciting it was to finally see it in a place of honor. I carefully selected the items from my collection that would complement it. The finished product is, as you can see for yourself, glorious. (Although you should really see it in person. Photography is not my skill).
It was so perfect I almost cried. And I may yet cry tonight as I take it down and return things to normal in time for Mother’s Day. It’s the least I can do.