Reading Between the Panels

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Reading Between the Panels

I have seen many a comic-related sight.  I’ve purchased my first Batman comic and had The Riddler look down maniacally at me and the criminals in the foreground.  I’ve seen the old ads that enticed me and lured me into buying products that had not been available since before I was born.  I have grown to appreciate the smell of yellowing comic book pages that only attain more character as they age.

I have dealt with ecstatic and illogical fans that got caught up in what was happening to their favorite characters.  I have been the crazed fan who ranted and raved when my beloved writer was exchanged for a new writer.  I have been the lunatic who tore out his hair and lamented my loss.  I have struggled to find the proper way to heat humble pie when I found out that new writers and artists can bring fresh excitement to something I had thought I could not enjoy more.

I have known the suffering that comes from wearing a full black suit, complete with utility belt, cowl, gloves, and batarangs.  I have tried to keep cool dressed in Batman attire on a July afternoon while the sun beat down on an all-glass building which heated up quickly in warm conditions.  I have attempted to keep my cool from the sun and around two visiting comic book creators whose work I had admired from afar up until that day.  And I have found myself valiantly trying to maintain my composure while a brilliant sketcher penciled out a terrific piece of art just for me.

I have shown up to hundreds of shifts in a comic book store.  I have been hired and later retired.  I have been hired back by a new owner, and I have retired a second time.  And I have been hired a third time, perhaps in the hopes that I would accept my destiny and not quit a third time. 

In all those years I have seen all types of fans.  I have seen the double-large sweatpants crowd as they rumbled in the door like a Thing or Incredible Hulk.  I have nodded to the muscle-bound jocks while they flexed every muscle possible to turn a page in the newest books.  I have watched as quiet and nerdy females were joined over the years by overly attractive models.  I have noticed how comics have been made into movies, and a hobby has been opened up to a whole new world of fans.

I have read about fans getting into brawls over whose opinion on an imaginary conflict is more correct.  I have seen people horde exclusives and limited editions to resell for what they believe will reap a heaping profit.  (I have found that those profits tend to be more imaginary than any fight on a four-color page.)  I have heard aficionados cuss a creator a blue streak that would make even the cruelest villain cringe.  I have seen fans dismiss one another and argue over who should be allowed to buy the last copy of a greatly sought-after book.

However, I have also seen fans band together and pay for creators’ surgeries.  For every bitter fan that left a rude note or a snide remark, I have seen five fans rise to praise great art or line up for hours just to see their hero on the silver screen.  I have seen thousands of people believe that one person can make a difference, that good does prevail, and that great stories should be shared.  I have seen how a movie about a teenager who climbs walls and shoots webs can make a nation believe in heroes and grin a little more the summer after a terrorist attack.

I have seen awe spread across the face of someone who has just finished reading a fantastic tale.  I have felt my mind go numb, my voice speechless, and my glee for an art from grow as I come across a story so perfect; so unexpected, that I had no means to convey how delighted I was.  I have seen all these things plus so much more, and smiled because of them.


About Cosand
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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