At last, the comic book geek. Ten years ago comic book readers were forced to find shelter in a cave, hide behind an alter ego, and wander alone and ashamed through a world that wanted nothing to do with them. How times have changed. With ComicCon’s transformation into a mainstream media affair and Hollywood backing all sorts of comic book adaptations, comic book geeks can finally start to show their true colors. But fan boys still have to tread lightly, lest they fall into the trappings of stereotype (such as the Simpson’s “Comic Book Guy”). So how does a person with a certain love for the illustrated word manage to maintain social acceptance? Well, there’s a couple of base rules to follow.
Specific Comics Knowledge is Not Cool – Look, it’s great that you know the exact issue in which a character discovered that if they use their power in a certain way that they can generate enough energy to negate the atmospheric photons of Venus for exactly twenty-two minutes. No one else cares. Memorizing nuances connected to issue numbers and obscure pointless character trivia dating back to the 1940’s will do nothing but prove to others how very pretentious you are. That kind of flaunting alienates others and serves as a character flaw that isn’t tolerated outside of comic book knowledge, let alone in an area of culture that still isn’t fully accepted.
Elitism is Only Acceptable to a Certain Point – Take a minute to consider a conversation conducted with friends, co-workers, or family. Is a holier-than-thou attitude appreciated by those people? Would they accept that your opinion is the alpha and omega of the universe? Probably not. The same goes when discussing comics, yet all too often does a discussion devolve into “well this book is awesome and that book sucks”. While this same logic could be used during any discussion concerning any genre of pop culture, it’s even more important to keep this is mind when discussing comics in order to avoid further negative stereotypes falling upon the readers who do behave themselves.
Know How to Recommend a Title – The more people that read comic books, the more the genre will grow. So, turning more people onto the medium is somewhat important to the future of the industry. It falls to fans, for the most part, to impart their recommendations and viewpoints to people that have never before touched a trade paperback. However, it’s incredibly counterproductive to start telling everyone to read Superman (for example) because not everyone wants to read a book about a guy in tights. It’s the duty of a responsible geek to be able to gauge the interests of his friends and be able to recommend an appropriate title.
Read the Right Titles – Depending on how big of a comic book geek you are, you might be picking up a different number of titles a month, or you might only pick up graphic novels or books in trade paperback. Superhero books may or may not be your thing. Either way, each catagory has its essential reading. Especially in the age of the superhero movie, when many people who have never read a comic before might be asking what it’s all about, it’s very important to know the best of the best. Haven’t read Watchmen yet? Get on it before it’s too late (when the hype explodes around the time of the film’s release). Enjoyed the recent Batman franchise? Know where it came from by reading Batman: Year One and The Killing Joke. But the right titles aren’t just the classics. They could also be the best of the current releases. Find out who the best authors are and follow their stuff if the plot line/synopsis seems interesting.
It’s a good time to be a comic book fan. Better than ever before, actually. Just don’t be a prick about it, and don’t give other fans a bad name. For more comic book discussion, or if you just want recommendations, be sure to check out CHUD’s comic forums.
Up Next in this Series: Gaming!
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey