About a year ago, I started following a new comic book store in my area on Twitter. Every week or so, I'd see them promoting a book online, and I'd think to my self "hey, that looks cool, I think I should go get that book and start reading comics again."
When I was younger, I hit all of the self proclaimed nerd nails on the head. I had a massive Magic the Gathering collection, I watched the 90's run of the X-Men cartoons religiously, and I had a modest collection of comic books. However, the transition from middle to high school brought a desire to shed some of my nerdy skin as it was not yet chic to be a geek. Work, sports, school and other activities consumed my time, and I didn't have the money or the freedom to keep my passion for comics alive.
Fast forward to July 2019, and I found myself staring at a book being actively promoted on Twitter by my local shop and Marvel....House of X. The hype for this book (which is well deserved) was something that pushed me to actually visit the local shop. However, stepping into the doorway was terrifying. Fanboy/girl culture is something that is notably toxic at times. In my mind, every comic book shop had to be filled with any of the following stereotypical clerks:
As someone who tried to jump into a couple of nerdy worlds post-college (like World of Warcraft), I had run into people who just treated me like shit because I was a foreigner to their world, or someone who would walk in for a short period of time, and disappear so I was not worthy of their time. This is how I felt as I crossed the threshold to what is now my weekly spot.
Walking in, I tried to look like I should be there, thumbing through new stuff, looking for titles that seemed familiar, and then I saw two copies of House of X, and I asked the dumbass question "are these the same book, just with different covers..." and then I was outed, the idiot who clearly didn't know what a variant cover is. However, I wasn't hit in the face by the Comic Book Guy, Steve Dave, or Walt Flannigan...I was met with some kindness, which made me feel comfortable in the shop.
Needless to say, I bounced back from that moment of stupidity, and have been in each week, adding new things to my pull list, finding new titles outside of my Marvel/DC comfort zone. But this begs a different question. Just because I can buy comics, why the hell should I write about it.
To be honest, I'm not sure. However, In doing some research on new titles going to shops outside of my local store, or trying to buy stuff online, it still feels like elements of old-school fanboyisms exclude the novice reader from understanding backstories etc. In pushing some students I work with to explore their passions for an hour a week, I plan on doing the same thing, sitting and writing about a book every couple of days or so that I loved or hated, in a way that doesn't require a PHD in any of the ongoing comic book universes.
And really, if no one else reads this but me, at least it will be a nice bit of cathartic writing from time to time that probably has some benefit.
In the next post, I won't be writing about House of X...yet...there is too much going on for me to wrap my head around, however, I will be talking about the storyline that was relatively new to me that got me back to the store immediately, to pick up all of the back issues of. The first book/series review I'll take on is Chip Zdarsky's helming of the Invaders. (edit--this is coming later, I decided to review a NEW book first...)
The journey of a 30-something father of three who's trying to break into the world of reviewing comics after a loooooong hiatus...