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What Does It All Mean?

-by Barry Wolborsky

An Interview with the Interviewer

Vol. 1, No. 1

This is the first sentence in the first paragraph of my very first column about comic books. Pretty exciting, huh? Not really, no.

Rather than bore you with a detailed explanation about just who the heck I am and what the purpose of this column is, I thought I'd bore you with a self-consciously clever attempt at interviewing myself. This will hopefully tell you all you never wanted to know about me but were terrified to ask.

Before I begin this spine-tingling interview with myself, you may notice that the format of this column somewhat emulates the format used by fellow columnist Cth in his debut column of Cth's Cryptic Comments. This may cause some of you to accuse me of plagiarism or of stealing his idea. Well, you'd be wrong, I tell you, WRONG! I wrote my column weeks, no, MONTHS before I ever read Cth's stunning work of prose. OK, days. But it's really no more than a strange and frightening coincidence and yet further proof that great and twisted minds think alike. 

So after spending several days getting in touch with my publicist, that rat bastard finally returned my calls and I was able to get a hold of myself (insert crude joke here) and land an exclusive interview. With myself. So without further ado, let me introduce you to the author of this column, Mr. Barry Wolborsky. 

WDIAM: So why don't you tell us a little about yourself.

BW: OK. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY in a small Jewish family…

WDIAM: Not that much.

BW: Oh. OK. Well, skipping ahead about 30 years, I'm currently employed at a very large corporate conglomerate as a Technology Manager for one of their newest magazines. It's a great job, the benefits are nice, and I work with a lot of great people.

WDIAM: Trying to suck up to anyone at work reading this, huh?

BW: Oh yeah.

WDIAM: What are some of your hobbies?

BW: Listening to music, specifically Rock and Jazz. Playing guitar, watching TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Simpsons. I also enjoy movies, especially buying them on DVD, surfing the Net, and of course, reading comic books.

WDIAM: Yes, which is what we're here to talk about.

BW: You are correct, sir.

WDIAM: So, tell us about your interest in comic books.

BW: Basically, I've been collecting comics since I was a little kid, even before I could read. I would just look at the pictures and make up the words. I was the annoying kid that would always get thrown out of the candy store for reading all the comics on the spinner rack without paying. Ah, the memories.

Once I hit my early teens, I'd stopped reading comics partly because I felt like I was outgrowing superheroes, but also because I started getting more and more into Rock and Roll music. I was a big ol' nerd in High School and wanted to feel cool. So I thought if I ditched comics, and listened to Rock music and joined a band, I'd be much cooler and girls would like me. Sad to say, it didn't work. When I started College, I came to the realization I would never be cool, and started reading comics again. Soon, I was re-hooked, and I've been reading them on a regular basis ever since. That was about 13 years ago.

WDIAM: So you would classify yourself as a geek?

BW: I'm a computer professional. Star Wars and Superman are my favorite movies. I have no steady girlfriend, and I read comic books. You tell me.

WDIAM: Yep, you're a geek.

BW: This is what I'm saying.

WDIAM: Comic books. What's the appeal of reading word balloons on top of little pictures of men in tights fighting each other?

BW: That's a good question. There's really no simple answer. Actually there is. They're FUN! Fun, fun, FUN!!!

WDIAM: Settle down pal.

BW: Sorry. I just get enthusiastic about comics. I could go into a whole spiel about superheroes being power fantasies that compensate for a lack of control in our lives, but I'll leave that up to people smarter and more pretentious than myself. Ultimately, I just love comic books and their versatility, especially in terms of the types of stories they can tell. It's really the only medium to combine both words and illustrations, and they have unlimited storytelling and artistic potential. Unfortunately most non-comics readers don't think of comic books this way. But there are plenty of folks who do. They're called "fans." Which brings me to the point of this column.

WDIAM: Yes, we were wondering when you were getting to that.

BW: Who's "we"? Anyway, what I hope to accomplish with this column are two things. One is to express my thoughts about comics and how they relate to other forms of popular entertainment such as music, movies, TV and literature (you know-the kind without pictures), as well as my random thoughts on the industry in general.

My second goal, and this is where I really hope to distinguish myself from other Internet comic book columns, is to interview fans. That's right. You heard me. Fans. "But why would I want to read an interview with some fanboy geek?" you ask. Good question. And the answer is: because some of 'em are just as interesting as the creators, if not moreso. Based on my experience posting on various message boards, I've come across comic fans who work in the movie biz, magazine publishing and who are trying to become comics professionals themselves. The industry wouldn't be what it is, for better or worse, without the fans, and I'd like to spotlight some of these very interesting and opinionated people (and I mean that in a good way). And if people actually read this column, I may get up the nerve to ask a comics creator or two for an interview, but from their perspective as a fan. I will also be interviewing folks who do enjoy reading comics, yet somehow lack any burning desire to go to the comic shop and buy them on a regular basis. This could help shed some light as to what the industry could do to better capture their attention and to keep them as regular readers.

What this column won't be about is negativity. No rants, just raves. While I may spotlight a series or graphic novel that I think deserves exposure and wider recognition, I won't be critiquing the writing and art. I freely admit to knowing nothing about either. I just know what I enjoy, what evokes a positive emotional reaction in me, and what doesn't. The industry has enough negativity from within and without, and it doesn't need any bitterness and anger from me. That I will save for my family and friends.

WDIAM: Anything else you'd like to add so we can go home?

BW: Just that I hope to write a column that both fans and non-fans alike can enjoy, with as much intelligence as I can possibly fake. I hope that people read my column and come away enjoying it and maybe think about something besides what they're going to eat for lunch that day. I also want it to be funny. That's it.

WDIAM: It looks like you'll need some work on that last part. But hey, thanks for joining us. Feel free to e-mail me at with any of your comments and insults. See you in two weeks!

BW: Who's this "us" you keep talking about? You're the only one in the room...

Copyright©2000 Barry Wolborsky