Those of you that follow my activities with stalker-like verve (all of you, right?) will know that I recently took on a part-time job at a Friendly Local Comic Shop (rhymes with lizard, uh, blomics). They needed a till-monkey and I am a damn dirty till-APE, so it was a match made in dork heaven. It gives me an opportunity to walk among my people, and slows my inevitable slide into Gollum-hood.
What I wasn’t quite expecting was how much it would reinvigorate my love of comics. I’ve enjoyed comics since I was a kid, of course, though my ardour for collecting them was checked when my family’s house burned down. The fire destroyed a great many things, but of course the tragedy to me at age eight was the loss of my comics. I loved those books, not just because they were cool and fun to read, but because reading them brought back memories of family vacations and lazy summers.
So while I’ve kept reading comics on a semi-regular basis, they haven’t been a passion. But two things have changed that. The first, of course, is just working at the comic shop and my increased exposure to comic readers. It is the nature of the shop that people will come in with questions about comics. And since it is in my nature to provide answers, I have begun reading and studying comics more in the last few months than I had in probably the last year. I’m not pushing things too hard with regards the studying; I don’t want this to feel like a job after all. But I am paying attention to artist and writer names these days, which is something that never interested me before (all my comic loving friends just burst into tears).
The second thing that brought about my renewed passion for comics is my boss, Brandon (you may know him as @soupytoasterson on the Twitters). Brandon so obviously loves everything about comics it is hard not to get a contact high. More than that, he loves selling people comics; I’ve seen him get giddy because he managed to find a good fit between comic/reader, or turned a non-reader into a reader. His love of turning people onto comics equals my love of turning people onto gaming, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t watch him to glean any tips or secret methods. The thing is, there really isn’t any secret: enthusiasm is contagious and Brandon is Patient X. We’ve really only known each other a few months, but if Brandon suggests a comic to me, I will read it. And I will likely keep reading it.
So there it is, thanks to Brandon and Wizard’s Comics my passion for sequential art stories (or as we call them in the biz, comics) has been restored. I’m now having to work a careful balancing act between picking out the new titles I want to start collecting, and which old titles I want to re-explore. But even sorting that out is fun, and not for nothing but I have some decent advisers to help.
Also, if you love comics and you want to listen to other people who love comics, I cannot recommend enough the podcasts Scotch and Comics, hosted by my pal Devin (@Doctor_Teeth); and Podcast! The Comics, hosted by the aforementioned Brandon and his hetero-lifepartner James (@Leask). Both are a lot of fun, both are available through iTunes and you won’t be sorry you gave them a listen.
I’ll post a little later about what comics I’m raving about these days. In the meantime, why not drop me a line in the comments below and let me know what comics you’re reading?