I Make Up for It with Enthusiasm: How I Fell for Comics

The first comic I remember reading was X-Men Volume 2 Issue 30, the one where Scott Summers and Jean Grey get married.  This is a fact that I can flesh out with specific title details because:  Google.  I just knew that it was awesome and had a beautiful two-page spread of the wedding ceremony.

Over the years, I picked up random issues, but mostly stuck to things that I could consume from beginning to end:  Strangers in Paradise, Wet Moon, Scott Pilgrim.  It looked like I was amassing indie cred, but mostly I was avoiding the two main and rabid fandom families.  This way I could hide the fact that I hadn’t been reading every kind of Avenger since before I was born.  I didn’t know how many suits Iron Man had or how many Jean Greys there really were.  Did you know that Batman has actually *mumble, mumble* different Robins?  Yeah, me neither.

Let’s be real, comics and the people that surround them and the places they can be found can be super intimidating.  I felt like a poseur every time I walked into a shop and looked around.  I felt like I couldn’t pipe up in any conversation about comics.  I felt like tastes I had in art or writing style weren’t valid.  I felt like I’d eventually be found out and ridiculed.

It should go without saying that there is a huge intersectional discussion to be had about this and you should absolutely read  all about it.  You should continue it.  It’s necessary.

But your girl is keeping this low-key and informal and on more of a microcosm scale, i.e. Imma talk about myself.

So there I was, drifting along as a comic lurker, hiding in front of the littlest shelf in my local shop, the one that had Oni Press and First Second and Image all crammed together away from the bulk of the inventory.  I could fake my way through a quick conversation with a stranger which, since my entire social life was my Twitter followers and friends, was all I needed.

And then, of course, I fell in love with a comic artist.  With a damn near eidetic memory. And lore knowledge like the ocean.

And he let me in on a little secret:  Comics are supposed to be fun!  You know what you should read?  Whatever looks or sounds cool to you!  You know who’s in charge of what’s important?  You are!

And so I really jumped in this year.  I picked characters I wanted to read because they had a cool hair cut, or they liked to watch baking videos, or …. they had a cool a cool hair cut.  I found what I liked and I dug forward and back.  I tried out the side characters that showed up and made me laugh.  I read through the whole Marvel Civil War II event. Not everything was a winner, but now I have favorite characters, writers, artists.  I also lucked out in my timing and fell in love with one marvelous blockbuster just before she hit the big screen.

But, most importantly, I broke through my self-imposed fear of being found out.  There’s no such thing as not being a real comic fan.  It’s like a beach body meme.  Take that body to the beach, ta dah! Beach body.

Read a comic, be a fan.  Ta dah!