the comic book store
May 4, 2003 05:34 PM

Yesterday we were at the comic book shop. Fun.

Comic book stores are one of the few grounds exclusively reserved for the hard core. The geek. Each store's organization is slightly different, organized by publisher with the store's favorite publishers up front. [A hint about identifying good comic book stores in my opinion, is to look for independents at the front of the store - if you don't see anything but DC or Marvel in the front, try the next store. But then, my idea of what makes for a good comic is stuff like this and this, not the sort of comics movies get made from.]

So, yeah. I don't get comic book stores. The organization confuses me. The shopkeeps and patrons slightly intimidate me. I basically go in and browse, hoping the things I like will leap from the shelves and assault me. I do not ask questions, having been subjected to the disdain of comic book store employees in the past.

Comic geeks aren't like gamer geeks. Meaning, specifically, that comics have a distinctly male, slightly territorial quality. Gamers, male or female, recognize the geek nature of what they do and are not only serious about it but eager to share. Ask a stupid question and you generally get a sincere answer. There are, of course, the rare, territorial gamer dorks, the boys who don't really ever grow into social skills - they'll be unwelcoming - but the bulk of serious gamers are smart, friendly people.

I don't know if girl comic book geeks are different from the geek boys. Honestly, I don't think I've even met a true girl comic geek, one who wasn't at heart a gamer who happened to hang out with comic fans. I read some of the books they write/draw, though, so I know there are some. I imagine it must be odd to be female in that environment. Not for the cliche of the unrealistic female bodies and objectification of women (contemporary male and female comic artists are creating some superb female characters), but for the extremity of the dorkiness, the disconnection from most people's reality. And, you know, the lack of other chicks.

That said, you have to respect the comic book geeks for creating a space that locks them in and others out so effectively. It has to be satisfying, as a geek, to mock the accidental patrons in the comic store - the ones who don't know what they're looking at, let alone what they're looking for. I think every geek has some core part of them that sits judging the intelligence of others - and mostly finding them lacking. How much fun must it be to express that on a regular basis?

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your wicked thoughts

oh hello. i'm a girl comic geek. and not a gamer.

point being - i found a lovely little comic store in yorktown-ish during a bizarre tour of the greater newport news area, following an afternoon viewing of X2. it was the kind with bizarre organization and not one but three different wall-shelf units with new issues. what? and of course i didn't ask around, either, because of the whole comic store thing, and the fact that half of the store was devoted to pre-teen gamer boys and girls. in yorktown!

and it was so cool - there were moms and dads dropping the kids off for a friday evening of fun, and the store owners/workers were obviously really fond of the kids, and the kids were so full of excitement and seriousness and fun and pizza.

so maybe you're right, gamers are more fun than us comic geeks. and maybe gamer kids will grow up to be more socially ept than we are (i am).

but there's hope: i found a new trade paperback of wolverine/havok: meltdown [wolverine legends 2] and immediately freaked out because i'm so incredibly cool that i not only own the original issues, but stole them from a stupid ex-boyfriend. i very excitedly explained the whole thing to my girlfriends, and the two adorable comic boys standing there meekly joined in the conversation, awkwardly flirting with me, clearly stunned that an old purple-haired woman was a big old comic geek. and damn. that made me feel fabulous.

these are the thoughts of missmeridian on May 4, 2003 07:25 PM

you know, i always think since you watched the x-men cartoon that you must not be a real comic geek. but, yeah, i have to rescind my earlier statement, even if you don't fit the "profile" you are indeed a geek of comic proportions.

oh, and you absolutely HAVE to read Subway Series (linked from my blog & journal). you can borrow the copy i bought next time we hook up.

these are the thoughts of april on May 4, 2003 08:08 PM

plus, i don't think gamers are more fun - just, more willing to teach, more open.

and, yes, frequently more with the social skills.

these are the thoughts of april on May 4, 2003 08:10 PM

After reading your post it made me think about what you said,
-"I don't know if girl comic book geeks are different from the geek boys. Honestly, I don't think I've even met a true girl comic geek, one who wasn't at heart a gamer who happened to hang out with comic fans."-
In a way I do agree with you. I consider myself a comic book geek and i am a girl. But being a girl and living in a society in where many girls my own age devote themselves in things that hardly interest me one bit.
I found that i am much happier when I am seperate from that. Although I have only met 3 girls who were also comic geeks. the life of a comic geek girl, in my experiance, is sometimes a little lonely. Although I have tons of guy friends and around 2 female 'aquantances' -through work association- I couldn't think of myself as doing anything any different. Although, because of my association to the 'comic geek' quo. i have also become a bit anti social and weired. But i guess that mainly happens from the lack of commond interest and acceptance from the society that you come from.
But if you really try hard you could find a lot of female comic geeks. try looking into the "friends of lulu" org. you could find many femae comic book lovers and artist right there.

And although gamers and comic geeks have a somewhat similar interest I do have to agree that gamers in a way are more social, friendly( in some cases), and a bit more willing to want to share their knowlegde with other people.

Comic fans on the other hand vary, depending on how seriously they take their love of comics. I have to admit that personally i sometimes become less friendly than what my regular nature is, when it comes to somebody wanting to take advantage of the comic geek name. And that happens ofte if you look at it.. I think its more of a subcultural phychology thing than anything else.

these are the thoughts of wendy on September 23, 2004 05:42 PM

hi! I am a male comic geek. I know exactly the type of person you refer to when you talk about the typical male comic geek, but I myself try to be as open and social about comics as I can. I like to socialize all my hobbies to whatever extent I'm able, because that brings a whole new dimension to the hobby other than just sitting on my bed reading comics. Rest assured, if I saw you lost in a comic book store, there would be no mental chuckling on my part, nor any disdain if you asked me a question. I wish more women were into comics, not just as geeks (though the geeks could use some chickification) but just as readers in general. Fortunately, books like Strangers in Paradise help with that, and even more sci-fi/fantasy titles like Sandman.
Also, when you refer to objectification of the female body, please do not forget that male objectification (big torso, twenty-pack abs, etc.) is a "problem" in comics as well- I put that in quotes because I'm not sure how much I consider that a problem more than just a personality trait of comics, specifically the super-hero genre.
Anyhoo, it was interesting to read your post. I hope you find some friendly faces in the comic world! Ta!

these are the thoughts of Nate Dovel on January 3, 2005 05:03 PM

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