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A Hamburglar’s Eye View


  Recently, a friend and I were hanging out on our day off. He was driving

  and I asked if he'd go to the comic shop with me before we went to my

  house(it being Wednesday and all). He looked at me with an amazed face.


  "Comics? You still read comics?".


       I almost felt like telling him I was joking, but why, why am I now

  trying to hide the fact that I love reading comic books? Instead of denying

  it like some kid with a mouthful of cookies, I told him flat-out that I was a

  comic fan and, quite frankly, I think he should be too.Well this li'l column

  is going to deal with the stereo-type of comic books and comic fans and why

  it has such a negative impact.


      Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, X-Men. Everybody knows who they are,

  they've heard of em, maybe seen a movie or cartoon about em, but most people

  don't read. It's weird, adults have no problem seeing Tim Burton's Batman or

  X-Men, still, to most, it would be almost socially unacceptable to go into

  their local comic shop and pick up those same characters in funny book form.

  What is it about those thin, magazine-like books full of carefully placed

  pictures and word bubbles that scare people away? I have a couple of ideas.


       There's a stigma attached to comic books. Comic book fans are perceived

  rather poorly. Some see them as pimple faced, geeky, prepubescents who get

  way too involved in a fictional work and might argue for hours over who is

  stronger, Hulk or Superman. Some are seen in the same vein as the comic shop

  guy from The Simpsons or  maybe as some forty year old guy in a trench coat

  who sneaks into the comic store as if he were trying to buy some really

  freaky porno magazine. For some reason, comic books are seen as childish and

  therefor, those who read em aren't acting like mature adults do. It's just

  plain silly to be reading about the same character featured on li'l Bobby's

  pajamas, right?


        No matter who you ask, if they don't read comics, they'll tell you

  that the medium is still about some guy with super powers saving the day with

  enough time to get home, eat dinner and say a prayer. Either that or they'll

  tell you that comics are just a bunch of pages featuring some female with

  giant breasts and very little clothing. While there are comics that fit that

  description, these days, it's the exception.


       From a guy with the voice of God who had to deal with a guy who 'loves'

  fish too much to kids under twelve who offer sex acts to eat food and buy

  drugs, comics aren't what most people think they are. In reality, comics

  are, and have always been, cutting edge entertainment. They feature alot of stuff

  yet to be experimented with in movies, sitcoms, TV dramas and novels.


      Why is it then, that reading authors like Tom Clancy and Micheal

  Crichton is seen as intellectual while reading Alan Moore, Frank Miller

  or Garth Ennis is still seen as low brow kid stuff?  Besides the suspense of

  waiting a  month and getting to look at incredible artwork, what's the

  difference? Both deal in fiction and are designed to excite the reader while

  making him/her think a little. Does an unrealistic power or supernatural

  occurance discredit the work? Then why are Steven King and Anne Rice so



      The same with movies. Often times the best, most popular movies are

  science fiction, horror or fantasy. ET, Jurassic Park and Star Wars gained

  the hearts of fans by taking them away for a few hours. Allowing them to let

  go and get immersed in a world unlike our own, a world created purely by

  one's imagination. That's what comics do. Except, they do it every thirty

  days and they make sure to keep you coming back for more.


      We fans, creators, writers, artists and industry people all need to make

  an effort to end the goofy stereo-type. People from Marvel, DC Image and all

  the others have to advertise, let everybody know what's really out there and

  make sure that they make non-readers realize that they're missing out. We

  have to spread the word, lend out our best stuff to friends , family and

  co-workers and make sure people at least give the notion of funny books a

  second thought. In the mean time, I'll be just fine walking into my local

  comic shop to pick up Powers, 100 Bullets, Kabuki Scarab and Hellblazer,

  stigma or not.


     If you were wondering about my friend and his attitude towards comics, we

  eventually went to the comic shop. About five minutes in there, I couldn't

  pull him away from the Star Wars trades, he said something along the lines

  of "Oh my God. Dude, you never told me they made Star Wars comics!".

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