It Happened (or, Yeah, I’ve Given Up My Life to the Joy of Comic Books) #WeekofJoy


I officially have a pull list with my local comic book retailer.  Stranger yet:  the guy who owns the place now recognizes me when I walk through the door.  Clearly I buy a lot of comics…  And, well, this is actually kind of awesome.  Most of my comics are coming from a local place called All Star Sportscards & Comics.  It’s probably the best place in Gainesville to get comic books.  Though it’s not as big as the other major comic shop in town — MegaComics — the prices are better, the staff seems friendlier and more helpful, and every time I go there, I spend money (which is great for the owner, but not always so good for my bank account — oh, hell, who am I kidding?  I love comics).

In a way, I’m fortunate to live in a town that even has a comic book shop.  Short of buying hardback or trade paperback collections, without a shop, I’d have almost no way to rebirth my interest in the form.  And that, I think, would be a horrible thing for me, as one of the things sustaining me through what is one of the toughest years I’ve had in a while (in terms of work and intellectual requirement) is this rediscovered passion for comics.  I’m having those little kid moments again.  You know the sort.  You open a book, movie, comic, or pack of collectible cards and you experience some variation of the following:  tingling skin, goose bumps, elevated heart rate, an uncontrollable desire to smile or jump up and down, and just an overall feeling of excited euphoria.  I had those moments when I was a kid only a few times, really.  Video games and movies were part of what helped me survive what I would describe as a relatively shitty
childhood.  Comics were part of that, too, though I certainly moved away from them when I hit my teens (RPGs and video games filled that gap).  In a way, I’ve always been a geek, so there’s something nostalgic and generally pleasurable about rediscovering something that made you happy when you were younger.

That’s what it’s been like the last few weeks.  With all the things going on in my life at the moment — most of them stressful, but not necessarily “bad” — I need something to help me decompress.  Comics are doing just that right now.  And I’m loving every minute!

Anywho.  You may wonder what I put on my pull list.  Well, here you go:

  • Superman Unchained
  • Superman & Batman
  • Justice League of America
  • Cable & X-Force
  • Uncanny X-Force
  • X-Men (Vol. 4)
  • Nova
  • Secret Avengers
  • New Avengers
  • Iron Man
  • The Wake
I also have subscriptions to Batman, Justice League of America (through a donation I made, which is cool), Uncanny X-Men and Uncanny Avengers.  I may switch the last two to the regular pull list when the subscriptions are up; apparently the comics are not properly bagged and boarded when shipped, which means they get a little beat up through the mail.  I’m a bit of a collector now, so I’m not a big fan of slightly-mangled comics.
That list will probably change over time, depending on how the stories progress.  Right now, I am pretty much obsessed with Batman, Uncanny X-Men, and Cable & X-Force, though I’m sure Superman Unchained will join the obsessions list soon (Scott Snyder is writing it, which means I am almost guaranteed to love it).

Needless to say, comics are one of the many things I am grateful for right now.  If ever there was something to discuss during my Week of Joy, comics would be it!
What about you?  What are you reading, watching, or just straight up loving right now?  Let me know in the comments.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

3 thoughts on “It Happened (or, Yeah, I’ve Given Up My Life to the Joy of Comic Books) #WeekofJoy

  1. Jesus, you're even using the term "pull list" now. Yeah, you're a new convert for certain.

    I used to visit the comic shop every single week, for almost 20 years I did this from childhood to probably mid-20's. But eventually the mainstream single issue cycles started to repeat themselves a little too fervently (and speedily) and a few years ago I stopped cold turkey and never looked back. I still love comics, but no longer do I do the comic shops or the single issues, pretty much ever.

    It's interesting though, because comic shops were very much hobby/underground nerd shacks back in my day. They've some quite a ways since then. Sometimes I definitely reminisce about the way comics used to make me feel (they were THE best part of any week). But even if I went back to the shops, the feeling would still be gone. Enjoy it while it lasts, m'man! When the bug is in you it's such a friggin' blast.

    • The cool thing about the comics world right now is this: there are so many indie and unattached series running that I don't think I'll ever run out of things to read. I'm sure I'll get tired of X-Men and what not after a while, but that just means I can switch my attention to something else, maybe some sort of standalone thing from Dark Horse. Take The Wake, for example. It's by Scott Snyder, who is writing Batman and Superman Unchained right now, but it has nothing to do with his DC work. It's separate (and amazing). So, yeah, I won't run out of stuff to read so long as I keep myself open to checking out new stuff.

      You need to rediscover your comic love, my friend. And you don't have to do it through DC or Marvel (though I really think you should read Court of Owls — get the trade paperback). There are so many amazing things coming out through IDW, Dark Horse, etc. etc. etc. I'm gong to make you read some stuff. Against your will…if I have to…

    • I hear you, and believe me, it took me 20+ years to run out of "comic love", but run out it did. Even including the indies, the stand alones, especially from "big small press" groups like Dark Horse or Boom! or IDW, those begin to repeat themselves, too, series after series, creator after creator. I find the art and the stories eventually feed from generation to generation a little too closely, where the majority of creators have lost the difference between an influence and an homage/rip-off. Stick to 'em long enough, and it all becomes the same comics, over and over again. Even the indies start to become INDIES, where the tone, style, and feel are everlastingly the same. This of course plagues all media to some extent, but I think the smallness of the comics industry exacerbates the problem and keeps it inbred more than books or film or TV. At least I've never experienced this problem with any of the others, to quite the same extent.

      And I DO still go OGNs and online comics, but I'm insanely selective these days. It has to really feel like an author's baby/unique vision to make it through my displeasure with comics' general redundancy.

      But that all said, I want to repeat that I totally know the joy you're feeling right now. I definitely had a nice long run of that myself. There's an insane range of comics to dive into when you're just starting out. And hey, maybe it'll change. But I've been keeping tabs, and it seriously hasn't changed enough yet for me to come back.

Leave a Reply