Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cheer me up and win a prize.

A couple of items:

Everyone who sent me a mix CD will be getting one back from me very shortly in the mail. My CD burner has been very useless lately, but I managed to get enough CDs burned off finally. Thanks again to everyone who sent me a CD.

And now...A NEW CONTEST!

As you may know, I recently started grad school. I haven't been in school for over five years, nor have I really branched out in terms of my social circles. Going to business school has reminded me of something that rarely occurs to me: most people don't read comics. At all.

It is the minority of the population that has an opinion on Kyle Rayner as Parallax. Or that knows who either of those people are. Or who knows what a Green Lantern is. Did you know that there are literally millions of people who aren't counting down to anything? Who are completely unaware that the Hulk has declared war on all humanity? Who did not choose a side in the Civil War? Who have not pondered, even for a second, what they would do with One More Day?

Entering a new social group has been a jarring reminder that I am a weirdo. An outcast. A, dare I say, Outsider. If I were to ask any one of my classmates how awesome it's going to be when Winter Soldier confronts Iron Man, they would have no idea what I was talking about. And would probably take my lunch money.

If there were one person in my class who did read comics, I would have an instant friend. I know such things have happened to other people. It's a nice community that we are all a part of.

So, I would like to hear some stories. Tell me about times where you were able to connect with someone because of comic books. We're all shameless about our love of comics on the internet, but sometimes in real life it's harder to talk about. Some people will just never understand.

Perhaps your story involves:

- wearing a comic-related shirt or button or some such thing and a stranger notices and strikes up a conversation;
- ...maybe it led to romance?
- a group situation where you don't know anyone and a mutual love of comics is discovered;
- a time where a love of comics saved your life (man, that would be great)

Or something like that. I just basically want warm, fuzzy stories about how great it is to be part of the comic book community.

And, of course, there are prizes. Once again generously donated by Calum Johnston at Strange Adventures. Anyone who posts a story, either in the comments or on their own blog with a link in the comments, will be entered. I will draw five names at the end of, say, two weeks, and they will win one of the following exciting prizes:

1. Daredevil #82 Steve McNiven variant cover signed by Steve McNiven
2. The Sandman #50 signed by Neil Gaiman

3. One of three copies of Nexus #99 signed by Steve Rude

So there you go. Tell me a nice story, because I am feeling lonely and awkward.


Baal said...

This might not help: I used the fact I'm 46 and still 'collecting' comics to make a mother and son feel better that they were buying a 25th Anniversary Care Bear because the other son, almost thirty, collects them.

Johnathan said...

Yeah, revealing that you are a comics fan is a sure way to defuse someone's feelings of awkwardness about liking showtunes or whatever. Supernerd trumps regular nerd every time.

When I was living in BC and my only friend was the person I moved there with I met my pal Jake while we were both working at Chapters. We would have these little contests of wills over who would get to shelve the meager Graphic Novel section. Through him I met Ben, who is one of the few other hardcore Legion of Superheroes fans that I've met in person. Comic books tripled my social life!

Stewart said...

I think you would like where I work. Pick a row of cubes and there's at least one comic geek. One guy has a ton of action figures (mostly DC) adorning his shelf, the next row over has a guy with Marvel Treasury Edition mags in his file sorter and his own smattering of figues, and one row over from him is a guy who has an unhealthy (yet hetero) obsession with Superman. Myself, my comic geekness is somewhat closeted (I say as I type this at home in Spider-Man boxers with a JLA mug on my desk), but around these guys I can open up. It's a joy to come to work in the morning and engage in critical discussions regarding Cap's assassination or the wonders of the multiverse.

Dr. K said...

I grew up on a farm in North Dakota and had no friends who read comics (even getting comics there was difficult in the early 1980s). When I was 12, I had a letter published in an issue of Justice League of America complaining that every JLA/JSA team-up used the same JSA members, and a kid my age in Kentucky wrote a letter to me saying he agreed with what I wrote. We ended up corresponding with each other about comics for many years.

Now, I teach in a small college English department where there are several comic readers on the faculty. I regularly share new purchases with one colleague, whose office is right across the hall. And, since I regularly talk about (and teach) comics in class, I'm starting to attract students who are comic fans. That, in particular, has been a fun part of my job.

klew said...

It was the second week of freshman year of high school, needing to take the school bus to get there with 30+ other students. Most normal people are still looking to make new friends and aren't fans of Physical Education class.

One kid on the bus was in that class with me and saw me reading an issue of Wizard Magazine. He didn't know what it was (as it had just been released) but recognized Spider-Man on the cover (he's always been an art guy, currently works as a freelance digital artist). Towards the end of freshman year, he moved to another city (same city as the school) and wouldn't be taking the bus any longer.

I have kept no real friends from college and just a few remaining friends from high school, he's been one of them for the last 16 years, all because of comic books.

Jan said...

When I was eleven I started going to a private, rather elite school at the wish of my parents. This was the kind of place that thought comics were corruptive and evil, and Harry Potter was the tool of Satanists. It was a scary, new place for me that went against everything I believed in, and repeatedly tried to tell me that the things I loved were wrong, thus my childhood obsession with comics went underground for a while until I was in my sophomore year of high school, and basically decided everyone else could screw off.

A new comic store had just come into my area, and I thought that was really awesome, because it cut out a bus ride to across town to get my comics. So I started going every Wednesday to pick up new titles instead of waiting every couple of weeks when I could risk it to just get my favorites.

It became my secret routine, and I delighted in it. No one I knew liked comics, but at least I could like them without being made fun of for it. Little did I know my boyfriend of the time, Tyler, was also a fan who was keeping it just as secret as I was. We’d only known each other for a bit, and I wasn’t sure if I liked him or just liked him better than the other boys his age, most of whom were rude, obnoxious, and wouldn’t stop staring at my tits.

Anyway, I was buying my comics some Wednesday when someone poked me in the shoulder, and I turned to find Tyler asking me what I was doing there. I couldn’t really lie, and I didn’t want to. I’ve never been good at talking when I’m nervous, so I just kind of held up the titles I was planning to buy and gestured with them. There was an awkward silence for a while, and then we both started smiling and laughing a bit.

A few months later he moved out of my area, and we broke up, but we still email each other and talk on the phone. I still can’t think of anything that’s matched the sheer level of relief and elation when I discovered our mutual hobby, and later my blatant disappointment to learn he was an X-Men fan. I’m a Batman junkie all the way, and pretty much hate the X-Men. But it was one of those things that really helped me finally settle into my skin when it comes to being a comic fan; that little ray of hope that having geeky hobbies doesn’t make you a bad person, or destined to be alone forever.

Elayne said...

Okay, here's the obligatory How I Met My Husband comment:

In the mid-90s I was running weekly comic reviews on Usenet and CompuServe. As I was one of the only reviewers who went out of my way to talk about the art as well as the writing in comics, and tried to develop the vocabulary to do so, I found myself cultivating a lot of friendships with both artists and writers who appreciated and helped me with my analysis.

One of the books I reviewed was a Legion annual, with art by Mike Collins and Robin Riggs. Robin left a comment on my review thread thanking me, and I emailed him back and asked him if he knew Mike Collins personally, because at the time I thought the pencils were what blew me away about the art.

Turns out, as my artistic knowledge widened, I realized that what I really thought was attractive was Robin's contribution. Not to take anything away from Mike (whom I like and who got a real kick out of the "do you know Mike Collins?" story) but it was the inks I loved.

And eventually, the inker.

Rachel said...

I wear my Green Lantern ring everywhere, and most of the time people commenting on it have no idea what it is. One guy thought it was a religious symbol. I had two seperate girls think it was a Spiderman ring. The second justified this by claiming that she knew it was a Green Lantern ring, but didn't Green Lantern get his start in Spiderman?

The first person to know what it was was Andrew. I did an internship with the Sierra Club over the spring and was at a training in Los Angeles, feeling pretty small and shy as the intern among all these older and very knowledgeable people. Then Andrew, who's around 50, commented on the ring, and we spent the rest of the weekend talking about comics, instant friends. I told him about the new stuff since he hadn't read them in a decade, and he told me about things like Batman+The Beatles comics. If he wasn't 50 and across the country I totally would have dragged him to Vegas and married him immediately. Another guy, overhearing us, thought it was really crazy that a 24 year old girl was into comics, and I made a friend of him too. If I ever meet those guys again in my quest to save the world, they'll totally remember me as the comic girl.

Marcos said...

I have the car one day a week, and use my lunch hour to pick up my comics. It does seem that I'm the only comic book fan in my office, so I'm known as the comic book guy, and on that one day, they crowd around to see what wild and wacky comic books I picked up.

Its great when I've got a copy of the newest Invincible or Lobster Johnson and someone's interest is piqued.

Its also great when we're playing taboo, the clue is "Marcos has a lot of these," and everyone yells out, "Comic Books!"

Sorry I don't have a full story, just little tidbits and anecdotes.

j. said...

Quick fine comic day I was loaded down with art supplies and somehow managed to drop my jacket. I didn't realize I'd lost it until well past lunch and retracing my steps turned up nothing.

The next day I was checking my blog comments and a dude named James Stewart had found my jacket, which he'd picked up because it had a Superman pin on the pocket. Checking the inside pocket he found my name tag from a recent comic-con. Googling the name "J.Bone" gave him my site.

Mr. Jimmy Stewart kindly gave my jacket to the guys at the the comic shop we both buy from and I picked it up the next day. Unfortunately we've never met in person but one day I will meet James Stewart!


Filthy McMonkey said...

Hmmm...I don't have a warm and fuzzy story, but this might make you feel better about your own situation.

I work in a factory. A steel shop, to be exact. I was sent to work with a fellow who I had not yet worked with previously.

"Hey, how's it goin'" says I.

"OK.>long pause< You're that comic book guy, ain't ya?"

"Um, yes." I say, preparing for the snort of derision.

"Hm. Well, that's OK..."

"We got a black fella, too."

rachelle said...

Wow. That's amazing. It's wrong on so many levels.

Great stories everyone! Keep em coming!

Elizabeth said...

I'm in grad school myself (just started last year!), and while I'm a fairly casual comic book reader, most people don't expect me to read them at all--I'm a girl, I am best known for reading Serious Literature and coaching youth swimming.

I am also one of the few people at my school with a car, and so I am regularly giving people lifts. I moved up here (here being Vancouver, home being California) terrified and lonely, and the car has been a great way to meet people. My habit has been to leave an issue of one of the titles I follow (but don't care much about) in the backseat of my car. It has been a fabulous conversation starter, especially when I'm giving a lift to someone I don't know well. "Oh, I didn't know you liked comics! Do you read Spider-Man?" A couple of the best friendships I've made here are thanks to an old issue of New Excalibur I left hanging around back there, so Chris Claremont is to thank for my free tech support and semi-monthly invitations to the Saturday morning breakfast get-togethers. A year later I have a large and warm-hearted social circle, but I'm still leaving an issue of Runaways in the backseat as I give some of them a ride down into Washington state tomorrow.

Ryan said...

Here's a link to my story, it's on my blog on myspace...

I hope you enjoy it.
- Ryan

Ryan said...

It seems my link got cut off. You can read the story if you just go to It's the top blog. I don't post much, so there's no worry that it'll get buried for a bit. Sorry!
- Ryan

Shane said...

When I was 10 years old, I had just started discovering comics. I'd read a few at the local library, but hadn't quite wrapped my young head around the fact there was such a thing as stories that continued beyond the book you were reading.

That summer (1982), the library had a copy of Teen Titans #21, the introduction of Brother Blood. It was a pretty intense story for a kid, and I loved it, but it ended with a caption saying "To Be Continued..." I was so frustrated!

A week later, though, I was at church (of all places!) and there was a new kid at Sunday school, and he had with him issue #22! I begged him to let me read it, but it too ended "To Be Continued..." We bonded over discussing the story, convinced our parents to take us to get #23 when it came out, and were best friends all the way through high school.

We collected and traded and shared comics, we played D&D and Axis & Allies and video games for endless hours, we rode our bikes to each other's houses and played tennis at the park. And even though we don't keep in touch any more, my whole life would be poorer if it weren't for Todd and the friendship that comics brought me.

Chance said...

You never know where you'll meet a comics reader. A very attractive female bartender once started complaining to me about how the Spider-Man movies were different from the comics and what villains they should have used. No romance bloomed, as she's a hot bartender and I'm an aging dork, but we do share the almost secret code of the comic reader. For example, someone was talking about how silly Scientology was, and I said, "Yeah, it's like making a religion around Peter Parker," and she was the only one who thought that was funny (or understood the reference).

And hey, there's always online.

Colleen said...

My entry is over at my blog, here is the link

okc72 said...

When my girlfriend and I were first courting I gave her three volumes of Runaways. When we had first met we had bonded over our mutual love of the X-Men, so I thought she would like Runaways. I was right, and she loved them. Over the next few months we fell madly in love. In my quest for the perfect six month anniversary present nothing seemed good enough. I ended up (through some connections, thanks Peter and Doug) hiring Adrian Alphona to do a drawing of my girlfriend and I together. We are now living together and our Adrian Alphona drawing is displayed proudly and lovingly displayed in our apartment.

denelian said...

years ago, when i was still married, my ex and i ended up "house sitting" for six months while a friend was deployed. between us, we had something like 6000 comics, and for ease of access (and lack of space for a bookshelf) they were all stacked on a built in table upstairs.
which broke after less than a month.

we called a repair man, who insisted we show him what we had on the table that made it break. turns out his daughter collected Power Pack, and for some reason we had around 30 of em - i never knew comics were currency.

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