As It Is, When It Was

October 10th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

A friend of mine at work is really into comics. I mean really into comics. He recently attended ComicCon in San Diego and though he’s able to go there for work, I’m sure he’d gladly burn his hard-earned vacation days on the event.

This intrigued me. As of late I’ve been revisiting hobbies and activities that consumed my early years. Model building, Dungeons and Dragons and listening to records (actual vinyl records) have occupied my time (when my wife’s honey-do list hasn’t). As a kid, I wasn’t completely and totally into comic books. I had friends who were comic crazy but I just didn’t go that far. I had a box that held my favorites; Area 88, Akira, Sgt. Rock, Richie Rich (!) and Star Wars and that box eventually got sold back to the comic store for pennies on the dollar, money which I’m sure I squandered on Joy Division records.

But talking to my friend piqued my interest in comics and I decided to give it another run. He gave me some pointers, what to look for based on my interests, some shops in San Francisco to go to. I found myself walking into Comix Experience on Divisidero because it’s right next to Gamescape; I could dig comics and D&D stuff and it was near The Page so I could, if time permitted, take my bounty, get a beer and settle in for some quality geek time.

When I walked into Comix Experience I fully expected the owner/proprieter/counter person to be exactly like the one portrayed on The Simpsons. Nerdy. Older. Confident in his lack of confidence. What I got was somebody nerdy, older and confident in the fact that he not only knew his shit but he knew his shit so well he could set me up with various graphic novels and comics and I’d walk away a happy customer who would, once the reading material was read, return for more. I think his name was Brian. I told Brian I was interested in reading comics and that it had been a while. He asked what I last read. I told him and he said something about the early 80s and that things had changed. I didn’t mention Richie Rich.

Now I was the old nerd, confident in years. Oh well.

He then asked what I liked to read, bookwise. This caught me off guard, I wasn’t ready to walk down any kind of road that had a story, I was just expecting amazing artwork with some text that may or may not add to the overall experience.

Brian gave me a full tour of the store, walking me through Anime and Manga, the Marvel and D.C. section, alternative comics and yes, even pornographic comics. At each shelf he pointed out things I may or may not like and recommended where to start with them, as many were a long series that were already in progress. Here is what I walked out of the store with:

War Stories, Volume 1 – My love of Sgt. Rock and World Wart II stories in general brought me to this novel.
The Sandman, Volume 2 – This Neil Gaimain series is supposed to be just stunning. Brian said start with Volume 2 to get the best understanding of the story and then go back to Volume 1.
Watchmen – My friend would never forgive me for not buying any of his suggestions. Truth be told, this was the only one that wasn’t sold out. The rest, Maus, Marvel 1602 and Bookhunter, weren’t available.
Star Wars: Rebellion, Volumes 13, 14, 15

Brian was most helpful even before he rang up my $75+ tab. I was stoked and anxious to get home and start reading. The Page would have to wait another day. But I will go back I’m sure. What a splendid way to spend a Sunday afternoon, comics and beer in the friendly confines of a (hopefully) sunny San Francisco.

I’ve already read the Star Wars comics, War Stories and Sandman. Just about done with Watchmen and that means a trip back to the comic store for more illustrated goodness. And beer.