Saturday, August 14, 2010

What? Is That a Funnybook You're Reading?

Doug: Back in the mid-80's when the "prestige format" was introduced, and when trade paperbacks started to become more common, an editor (forgive me -- I can't recall who nor where I read the comment) remarked that these new, more mainstream, formats would allow the comics fan the freedom to read his/her favorite tales on the subway, an airplane, or in a coffee house. Today's question is: Is that true? Do you take your four-color fun into public areas? Do you read tpbs or hardcovers on the airplane or during your commute? Or are you, like me, for the most part still "in the closet" about this addiction of ours? I will read a book about comics on an airplane, but I guess I'm not yet liberated enough to read a graphic novel or compilation for all eyes to see. Shame on me, perhaps.

What's your take on this issue? Do you have a "success story", or a "yeah, I thought it would be OK..." tale to tell? Please share...

13 comments:

Eric Goebelbecker said...

I have always been willing to take trades or hardcovers on mass transit and places like a cafe.

When I used to buy actual comics I would buy them at Chameleon or Midtown (depending on where I was working at the time) and read them over lunch. There was usually someone else in the vicinity doing the same, so I never really felt that out of place. Part of the advantage of a big city I guess?

ChrisPV said...

Part of the reason why I'm moving away from singles is exactly this point. Portability is a huge deal for me. I've tried taking a bunch of individual issues with me places, and it is a nightmare. Best solution I've come up with is to actually lug a box around, and that just looks silly. Trades also allow you to loan out stories to friends so they can experience them too. It's just a better model, methinks.

I've taken trades everywhere. I once spent a three hour plane ride with an Essential Marvel Two-in-One, and it was glorious. I came away with the understanding that I would give anything for a book entitled "Spider-Man and Ben Grimm Punch Dudes." Seriously Marvel, it's a license to print money.

Doug said...

As an aside:

Last week we vacationed in the DC/Baltimore area. While in Baltimore we went to the Geppi museum (which I'd highly recommend to any comics or pop culture fans) and they had a sale table in the museum shop. I was able to snag the Tarzan by Joe Kubert Archives, all 3 volumes, shopworn, for $10 apiece!

So later in the week I had to go back to DC for business. When I was on the way home to Chicago, I got stopped in security at Reagan National. As my suitcase was coming out of the scanner, I could see the attendant motion to another TSA official to come over. They asked me if that was my bag. I said yes, and of course I was asked to "step over here, please". The guy says, "You got a lot of books in here?" I said, yessir, I do. Next question was of course, what? So I said I had three graphic novels. He asked, "How graphic?" I told him that depending on what he thought of Tarzan running around in a loincloth, not so graphic. He made me take the books out and show him, he smiled, and then I repacked them and was on my way.

Still not sure why books got me pulled to the side, though.

Doug

ChrisPV said...

Well Doug, knowledge is power, and power corrupts, so obviously books are the greatest weapons the terrorists have. Simple logic.

Edo Bosnar said...

Wow, you get pulled to one side for three books? Jeez, every time I fly, esp. when returning (to Europe) from the States, my carry-on is packed with books, right up to the weight limit. Never got hassled.
As for reading "funny books" in public - no problem for me. I'm always reading something when riding the bus or tram, and could care less if I get funny stares for pulling something like "Essential Tales of the Zombie" or a Groo trade out of my backpack.

david_b said...

I'm deployed in Kuwait now, but for the long trips over the ocean..? Yep, even day trips somewhere with the wife driving, I'll bring a couple of old ones, to pass the time.

Typically on trips, I'll bring a half-dozen reprints. Haven't bought the 'essential' books yet, since I always disappointed in the b/w printing.

Daniel Graves said...

I am an Anglican priest and about once a week I drop into the Wimpy's Diner in my neighbourhood for lunch. I usually have some big theological tome that I'm reading, but every once and a while I have a stack of comics or a graphic novel. One of the waitresses normally comes by and asks "whatcha reading this week, Father?" They get a bick kick out of the wide variety on my reading list.

Fr. Dan

Karen said...

I'm still skittish about reading comics or TPBs in public. Too many bad childhood memories...

Karen

joe bloke said...

hell, I'll read whatever I want in public. I'm as comfortable sitting outside the pub with a beer reading the latest issue of the Justice Society as I am sitting outside the pub with a beer reading the newspaper. I gave up caring what people think of me a loooong time ago.

dbutler69 said...

Unfortunately, I'm still "in the closet" on reading comics. I wish there wasn't this sill stigma associated with reading comics. The only difference between a comic book and an action movie is the medium, and yet one is perfectly acceptable for "adults" and the other is not. Society can be silly sometimes.

Anonymous said...

The medium is the message, and, unfortunately, if the medium is comic books, then the message is (to non-fans) "this stuff is for kids and geeks." A lot of people will openly talk to their co-workers at the water cooler about going to the latest action movie, but would never admit to reading comics.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember the editor who said that tpb's would make comics respectable. I do recall Stan Lee in a column or an editorial saying (with the usual bombast) that soon comics in general would be respectable and that white collar workers would openly read them on planes and trains.

Anonymous said...

I've seen passengers on the bus or subway reading comics, and nobody else seemed to notice-or, if they did, they didn't care. I've also seen passengers reading paperback books (probably romance novels, almost as disreputable as comics), and no one stared at them or anything. And I've seen some reading the Bible, and no one tried to start an argument about religion. Generally, people in cities and suburbs like to mind their own business.

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