By Dave Isbell

I’ve been asked recently, “what is the deal with all of this super hero stuff going on at MSU?” Well, for starters, the Alumni Association is hosting MSU alumnus Geoff Johns, the Chief Creative Officer from DC Comics, as the Grand Marshall for the Homecoming Parade. For those of you who don’t know him, Geoff is the guy who currently writes the tales of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and company each month in the pages of the “Justice League.” He’s also written now classic issues of “Green Lantern,” “Aquaman,” and “the Flash,” as well as episodes of the TV show “Smallville,” and the current hit show “Arrow,” in addition to having credits on the movie “Man of Steel.”

Why is this important for me to write about on this blog? Well, let’s put aside the fact that I am a life-long comic book geek and am personally excited to welcome Geoff back to campus. I’m also excited to tell the Spartan story in unique ways and Geoff’s visit has given me a way to do that. For example, despite not being an artist myself, I helped spear-head the making of the Spartan Super Hero Legends limited edition comic book. How did I, a non-artist, make a comic book? In the spirit of Spartans Helping Spartans, I collaborated with a ton of people on and off campus to make it happen. (Major props to Dave Giordan for creating the awesome superhero team, and to Kelsey Tupper, who pulled all of the disparate pieces together to make this comic so dang pretty!)

To say the least, the comic project was a labor of love, but not just for me. The highlight of the book features original artwork from four MSU alums and two current students. Individually, they tell their Spartan stories in a unique, visually appealing way that you won’t find elsewhere. You can tell they poured themselves into these pieces and that they each bleed Green!

When viewed collectively, the book pulls together a lot of elements that tells THE Spartan story. One that we can all be proud of, that is grounded in more than just a deeper intellect from having been to a few classes while at MSU.

The bigger picture is that Spartan Nation is made up of real life superheroes who are helping one another to make the world a better place to live, one day at a time. Some of us are gifted with the ability to create cancer-killing drugs; some of us are finding ways to create jobs, feed the poor, clothe the naked; and some of us were gifted with the ability to create or to amplify beauty that can inspire.

Every gift is important, and the entire point of my (and the rest of my team’s) work is to inspire you to find ways to harness your gifts for the good of others. Why? So that when people look at Spartan Nation, they realize it is much more than a school with athletic teams and a cool brand to wear. MSU is not a place; it is a people, and those people are world changers who stand together to claim victory over darkness, vain ambition, and selfish desires that only end up in destruction.

Today, I want you to be inspired to go out and do something with another Spartan for another person to make this world a better place to live. It doesn’t have to be big, it only needs to be a drop in the river that, together, we are all filling so that the world around us can drink. And as they drink, let them cry out, “Go Green!” regardless of where they may have gained their deeper intellect.

I leave you with the following links to videos that I hope will add a little bit of beauty, fun, and inspiration to the rest of your day. Play them. Save them. Pass them around to your friends. Above all, please take a few minutes to reach out to the artists (and our own Mr. Steve Boughton, who set their work into motion) and give them a little bit of Spartan love!

Spartan Superhero Legends: Marie Lazar

Spartan Superhero Legends: Make Something Unusual-Diana Busby

Spartan Superhero Legends: Defining Destiny-Kristy Cunningham

Spartan Superhero Legends: The Spirit of the Spartan-Chris Jefferies

Go Green!


Dave Isbell, LLMSW, GCDF, is the Assistant Director of Alumni Professional Enrichment at Michigan State University and is also a part-time contractual mental health therapist in a Lansing area non-profit agency. When he is not working, he is enjoying domestic bliss with his wife and kids, or playing rock music on his bass guitar. You can find him on Twitter (@helpingspartans) and sometimes he writes about compassion, collaboration, and career for this blog.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University.


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