“This will not do!”
It always amazes me peoples’ varied perceptions of our cumulative geekiness as comic and SF fans. And were you in my position you, too, would struggle with the connotations people in “the real world” associate with my work in a store that sells comics.
I was at my friend’s birthday party this past weekend when it was remarked to me, “Oh, you’re comic book Jeff.” While I was fully aware that this was an allusion to the birthday girl having at least two friends with the name “Jeff,” and that I’d been designated by my occupation and not my general demeanor, the horrible- yet funny and occasionally true- stigma that Matt Groening, Hank Azaria, the Simpsons’ writers, and dozens of dweeby comic store employees have attributed to people such as myself crept in my mind faster than the indigenous brain slugs of Seti-Alpha 5, and I found myself, once again, become much too defensive.
For those of not in the know: the Simpson’s character Comic Book Guy is also named Jeff. It was revealed in Season 16, episode 8, and has been a source of consternation for me since. Kinda hard to shake off those associations when you share a name with them. Y’know, that image of a lazy, obsessive dweeb whose adolescent fantasies and inability to deal with the real world plant him firmly on a stool behind the counter of The Android’s Dungeon spewing sarcasm, insults, the kind of platitudes that come with an overly-compensatory superiority complex?
Well that just ain’t me. And to many a stranger I meet, I find myself having to demonstrate that all too often.
We should embrace that which we are, though. Gnothi Seauton. Know thyself. I supposed I am “comic book Jeff,” however much I wish certain associated pre-conceived notions didn’t come with the moniker. And I realize that’s a bit of a flip-flop of I am Not Spock/I am Spock proportions, but so be it. I am large, contain multitudes, and am versed in Klingon to boot.
6/25 Releases on Comic Book Guy’s shopping list:
Get Lost– by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito. The publisher (Hermes) solicitation for this book is spot on, so it shall be reprinted here: “Love Harvey Kurtzman’s original MAD? [I do! -j] Then you will have to have Andru and Esposito’s historic satire and parody magazine, Get Lost. Originally released in 1953, Get Lost delivered three groundbreaking, laugh-filled issues before Bill Gaines sued the magazine’s distributor, shutting down production of the magazine. Even though Gaines lost the lawsuit, Andru and Esposito never produced more Get Lost. Hermes Press’ historic reprint collects all three issues of the magazine on heavy coated matte paper together with an introductory essay by noted pop-culture historian Ron Goulart, an interview with Mike Esposito, and tons of documentary material in one volume. For this archival edition Hermes Press has painstakingly reconstructed Get Lost’s artwork using the original black-and-white line art and recoloring it from scratch. Mike Esposito says it ‘looks better than the original.’ MAD’s most noteworthy competitor is a treasure to behold for fans of Alfred E. Newman as well as comic book collectors, fans, and anyone looking for a good laugh.”
Final Crisis #2– by Grant Morrison and JG Jones. So much to say so little room. Not overly feeling this new mega-seriesso far, but hope you are.
Science Fiction Stuph
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this to you cats before, but I’m a big, big fan of the SF and essays of writer Cory Doctorow. While perusing the phenomenally interesting blog/webzine he contributes to (BoingBoing.net) the other day I learned he’d just won a Locus Award (his fourth in four years) for his novella “After the Siege,” which was collected in his short story collection Overclocked (available now at FP) and graphically adapted in comic format in Cory Doctorow’s Future Tales (also available). Congrats to Cory, and all the winners of this years Locus Magazine Awards, reprinted here:
SF NOVEL The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon
FANTASY NOVEL Making Money, Terry Pratchett
YA BOOK Un Lun Dun, China Miéville
FIRST NOVEL Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill
NOVELETTE “The Witch’s Headstone”, Neil Gaiman
SHORT STORY “A Small Room in Koboldtown”, Michael Swanwick
COLLECTION The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories, Connie Willis
ANTHOLOGY The New Space Opera, Gardner Dozois ed.
NON-FICTION Breakfast in the Ruins, Barry N. Malzberg
ART BOOK The Arrival, Shaun Tan
EDITOR Ellen Datlow
ARTIST Charles Vess
Finally, I highly suggest you seek out, procure, watch, and enjoy a little documentary film titled “Tilt, The Battle to Save Pinball” from producer/director Greg Maletic. Every bit as good as last year’s “King of Kong” this film “tells an account that any follower of technology, design, or business will find fascinating.” A pinball fan myself (my trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas is in a scant 3 weeks) I found it doubly so!