Century II Marvel Collection: Not Your Grandpa’s Cross Pen

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Image: Karen Walsh
Image: Karen Walsh

Growing up, Cross Pens were a thing with my dad and my grandpa. My grandfather was an office supplies salesman–or something to that effect. The nearest I could figure at the time was that he sold really fancy paper and pens. But still, Cross Pens were a Thing. They were important and fancy. At the time, all I understood was that really special people owned them and wrote with them. They were CROSS PENS.

One of these pens lived in the kitchen drawer. It was gold with grooves. There was a pointed(ish) top in black. It was a Thing Karen Couldn’t Touch. As I got older, I was allowed to use it if I asked. It didn’t live in a special home, but my mom and dad treated it as special.

And thus, my relationship with Cross Pens started.

Since I’ve always been a Daddy’s Girl and since my grandfather and I were close when I was a child, anything associated with these two men in my life had special meaning. All of my best memories of visiting my grandparents in New York pretty much revolve around spending time at the park and playground with my two Favorite Men.

When Cross Pens offered up one of their new Century II Marvel pens for review, I admit that I leapt on it because to me it was a connection to my personal history. I don’t really write with pens very much. I’m a typing kind of girl. I only buy the cheapest pens possible for grading because it’s the only time I really write with a pen. However, my emotional relationship with Cross Pens is deep. Something about seeing the ability to own one of my own meant something to me. I could be callous and say I wanted to try out something expensive. I could argue that it was a status symbol thing. But really, deep down (not even super deep honestly), I just wanted to connect to my past.

When the pen arrived, the box had that sort of regal look. It reminded me of a fancy watch box. Inside was all fancy. The lovely handwritten note that accompanied it emanated a sense of respect and class. Just looking at the packaging, I started to understand why there was sort of this reverent tone of respect that came with the discussions of CROSS PENS.

Image: Karen Walsh
Image: Karen Walsh

Inside the box, however, the pen I picked up was a far cry from the old fashioned one I remember from our kitchen pen drawer. That pen was skinny, rough on the hands, and almost hard to write with. A ballpoint pen, it scratched the way one would expect it to write. You had to dig in a bit and you could see the indent in the paper from your writing. However, the Iron Man pen was different. The weight of the pen and the roller ball made the pen feel as though it was writing on its own, reminding me of Rita Skeeter’s Quick-Quotes Quill without all the lying. With very little effort, the pen glided across the paper. It even made my miserable handwriting look legible.

For the first time, I really understood why my father and grandfather had such respect for Cross Pens. I understood what it’s like to really write with something that helps you write as opposed to hinders your efforts.

Looking at the beautifully modern design and the super geekiness of the Ironmanness of the pen in my hand, I felt like I could connect to both my father and grandfather while also not being, well, an old man. This isn’t your grandfather’s pen. It’s sleek and modern. The Iron Man design is both clearly red and gold and Mark suit designed. However, it’s also abstract enough to not feel like you’re writing with some kind of tourist attraction pen while you’re in the middle of taking notes at an important work meeting.

It might sound a little overly sentimental, but every time I write a note for my son’s lunch with my Iron Man Cross Pen, I feel a little bit like my grandpa is watching over me and smiling. And, I cannot tell a lie, when I showed it to my dad and let him try it out, he was a teeny bit jealous since he’s a bit of a fancy pen fanatic. I never thought I’d say this, but with this pen as my new grading pen? I’m almost looking forward to September when my new semester starts. Almost.

If I had one thing to complain about? It’d be that there’s no Black Widow or Scarlet Witch pen to go with Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. I’d really love to see me some female representation in the land of amazing pens. So, y’know, Cross? If you ever decide to do one of those designs, I’d be the first to want to know and be the first to buy one.

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