Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jamie has gone to Lawton for the weekend.

It's been years since she left me to my own devices for a trip not involving doctors. I do not know what she is doing in Lawton. I am hoping it involves a great deal of fun.

I dropped Jamie at the airport and, immediately, I realized I had no idea what to do with myself. It's been, really, since May of 2002 that I have been faced with nothing to do in a town full of people I can actually call.

But first I headed for Austin Books. One must always seize the chance to wander the vast aisles of Austin Books when one gets the chance to do so with no one in tow (who will inevitably get bored of seeing you pore through bagged and boarded back-issues of "Superman's Girlfriend: Lois Lane"), or without anyone worrying about when you will return for supper, etc... It was just me and those endless longboxes of lovely, lovely comics.

I bought only one new comic, picking up a handful of back issues (I got a good deal on Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen #133 in decent condition) and Will Eisner's "Life on Another Planet".

The one new comic was "Apocalypse Nerd" #4. One day, remind me and I'll write about this series. In the meantime, this is a comic every knob like me who makes a living working in front of a monitor should pick up.

I admit, I go into giddy comic-fan sensory overload everytime I walk in the door of Austin Books. I enjoy my usual weekly trip to my local comic shop, but as well-run as I find my LCS, the shop simply doesn't treat the history of comics with the same reverence, it doesn't treat the artists like artists to be studied, it doesn't look at the medium as an artform in quite the same way.

Back-issues at my LCS are not preserved pieces of pop-culture, they're old stock which needs to be taken off the shelf, like potato chips or twinkies. It's not that my LCS manager doesn't have an understanding of these things, or that he doesn't have an appreciation for comics. I think he's actually a very good manager. But he can't afford to take the chance on stocking the items he might want to put on the shelf as his audience is far more interested in what's new, what just came out, what's the latest...? The story behind the comics doesn't hold a candle to the story contained within the comic. And that's kind of too bad.

I like a somewhat scholarly approach to the medium. I like knowing I can walk in and pick up a book of interviews with the early creators of JLA comics, or a Wally Wood retrospective, or a Terry and the Pirates Compendium as readily as I can pick up this month's issue of "Super Teen-Aged Misfit Vigilantes". I'm glad someone just got Pekar's latest in paperback.

But I'm also glad they're across town. Otherwise, we'd be dead broke.

Jamie reads my comics, but she doesn't collect them. I have bought Jamie her first back-issue. It is hers. It is not mine, and I will not put it in my long-boxes. I want her to have it so she has one, shiny, pretty comic which she can say "that is mine".

I thought I'd spend this evening alone with the pets, but I didn't. I bugged some folks, but was having trouble finding someone to amuse me when Jason called. Thus, Jason, Mandy, Ellie and I wound up on S. Congress at Southside Flying Pizza, then at Jason's for a quick beer. Mel and Lucy came with me to the Hop-a-Long Lounge where they romped in the breezy weather with Cassidy.

It is now windy and cold out. I wonder if Fall is finally fallen.

Tomorrow I think I will try to summon folks to my house to watch the UT game and have a drink or two.

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