Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The crowd at my LCS is... weird (or is it me?)

I've been hitting my LCS for a little over a year now (since i've been back) pretty steady week after week and i have yet to see anyone like me in there. It's gotten me wondering: am i the only normal-ish married 30-something 9-5er desk jockey reading comics?

I mean my LCS is packed w/ middle school age kids and/or strange, strange cats that def don't get enough sunlight and/or attention from fellow humans. At the risk of stereotyping, this is more a basement dwelling D&D crowd (to give you an image) than guys you'll run into at the office that's for sure.

Now don't get me wrong, i've got ZERO problems w/ anyone, no matter how you live, love, or party... It's the difference i'm pointing out here not getting on a high horse claiming one to be better than the next.

You know what though? I can't help the feeling that it's not these guys who are the weirdos (in this situation) - it's me. I'm the one that's out of place i think - not them - and that's a crying shame.

I definitely think comics are more accessible today than they have ever been (with the variety of work available for all ages and tastes), but i'm still not sure that the stigma surrounding comics readers has changed much since i was a kid. I've got friends who read the same novels i read, and who i KNOW would like certain comics, but they're so damn apprehensive... just because they don't want to be "comics guys"...

Not sure where i was going with this (it's getting late) but... well... it's a shame. It's a shame that the whole world isn't reading comics (young, old, male, female) and they still seem somewhat reserved for a specific sub-culture.

Unless you're an out of place care-less-er - like me.


04 March, 2006 02:46, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're definately not alone. I am also 38, an executive in a power company and like you, recently for whatever reason, decided to catch up on a 20 year comics hiatus since I left them in college. The amazing thing is, they still resonate with me. Of the best, the stories are fantastic (Ultimates 2, Astonishing X-Men)the mythology continues to run strong at Marvel and DC and the 3rd party titles are compelling as ever in storytelling and originality (Powers, Ex Machina Global Frequency). Now that I have a baby, I don't have time to go to the movies, but am finding that the best that comics has to offer are more artistic and story oriented than many big blockbusters. And now that I make a little money, I can buy whatever I want. The bottom line is, your site makes me feel there are kindred spirits out there and that's good enough for me regardless of who hangs out at the LCS. I do dig your site and am grateful for it! I will close with a recommendation for those that grew up with comics like me way back when. The new Marvel DVD compilation series where you can get all 40+ years of every X-men, Fantastic Four and Spiderman comics is awesome. I just got the X-men and FF4 DVDs and it took me right back to that time I just loved comics. Now I'm able to relive my favorite issues on the convenience of my computer. I'm psyched about the 40 years of the Avengers DVD out in April. Stay Out of place care-less-er. It's the only way to go.

04 March, 2006 09:52, Blogger Michelle said...

You're definitely not alone!

04 March, 2006 11:20, Blogger zilla said...

Anonymous - thanks for the words my friend. i've always kind of hoped this blog would be a gathering place for readers "like us" (among others). Nice to get comments from people reading from the same (or similar) perspective as i am - sprinkled in with anyone else who enjoys my hack comments and writing ha.

i have to agree w/ you though - comics today are FAR more interesting (to me at least) than anything on TV or at the movies, and you get a lot more variety and creativity than in "text only" books it seems (though i've always got one of those in progress too).

i guess this is why it's such a shame that more folks won't give comics a try. i wonder if we'll ever get to a day where a comic shop is as diverse in consumers as a book store? prob not... but why? i'm serious when i tell you that i've got pals (young and old, men and women) that i KNOW for sure would love this comic or that one... but...

04 March, 2006 11:22, Blogger zilla said...

Michele - i am so friggin' happy i have a female reader around here (talking to diversity of readership in comics you're another rare breed just like us old guys). So please, since you're the only one - chime in sometimes ;)

04 March, 2006 11:27, Blogger zilla said...

just waiting now for Mr. X, Kurt, and Ed to get in on this and amp up the floating warm fuzzies even further ;)

04 March, 2006 11:30, Blogger zilla said...

wait michelle - i hope i haven't offended you with my texas ignorance (if you're really a dude). one of my good friends dad is actually named michele (he's a famous chef - michele rashard) so got me thinking that i may have stereotyped your gender just by reading your name :)

either way thanks for the words hoss (or hossette).

05 March, 2006 16:49, Anonymous CellarDoor said...


I know EXACTLY what you are talking about with the LCS crowd. I'm 28 yrs old, 2 kids under 2, working for the federal government in a science field, and I feel like a freak when I stop in and pick up my stack of comics. I invariably have to pry the owner away from a D&D game, and he's a great guy, but the looks I get from the rest of the guys who are role playing...man.

I agree with the anonymous poster earlier, it is great to read your take on things as you are in roughly the same stage of life. Comics do become a great form of entertainment for those 15 minutes of freedom I have when I come home from work and have put the kids to bed. Keep up the great work!

06 March, 2006 10:01, Blogger Ryan X said...

First off I want to say that the reason I come to Zilla's site is because this is the only place for me to talk to anyone about comics. Mostly I just post my thoughts, but that is more than I can do in my "real life". I have zero people to discuss comics with, hence, I am so grateful for this site and others like it (this is the best one of the genre IMHO). As far as my LCS goes, I have to say I may be in the minority here. I often run into guys like me (at lunch, Wednesday or Thurs, dress shirt, khakis, etc. typical automaton working for da man) at my LCS and the only reason I feel out of place is because I buy far less than anyone else there. The people that work there are totally cool to me and are always ready to discuss the titles I am buying (so I have one other outlet, but that is just weekly:)). Anyway, the main thing I wanted to say was, RIGHT ON CELLAR DOOR!!! The 15 minutes of freedom at night after the kiddos are asleep (two boys, 4 and 3 wks), comics are my movies. I look forward to that brief escape everyday. The fact that I know it is a little frowned upon by our age group makes it a little sweeter too...

06 March, 2006 10:07, Blogger zilla said...

ryan - i'm def w/ you in that i too have all of ZERO people to talk comics to that aren't vaporous 1010111011 pals like you guys ;) and how fun is it to read a great comic if you can't talk it over at least for a moment or two?

ps how the hell do you have two boys of 4 and 3 weeks??? J/K i know this reads as 4 years (1) and 3 weeks (2) but i laughed when i first read it.

06 March, 2006 17:55, Blogger Ryan X said...

Ha ha! That does sound pretty strange, unless I had twins? Then it becomes some sort of lateral thinking puzzle...

07 March, 2006 19:15, Anonymous Kurt said...

I definitely feel out of place Zilla, but I wear it like a badge of honor. I’ve already had one Dungeon dweller inquire if I was buying comics for my kids and another ask if I was a “pro or a salesman or something” – immediately assuming a guy in khakis and Cole Haans couldn’t be an actual comic geek. (I stuck out my hand and said, “Brian Bendis, nice to meet you.” He said he almost believed me until he realized I was about a foot taller than Bendis and I have hair. His other clue might have been that we were in Fresno and that I was actually paying for comics.)

The guy who owns my LCS is a longtime friend who’s actually pretty normal himself. We have longer conversations about baseball than we do about comics. (Note that I’m not necessarily using that as the litmus test for “normal”.) Around the time of the World Series we were discussing some now forgotten play from one of the games. When one of the other customer’s pipes in, shaking his head, “It’s like you guys are speaking Latin.” The owner’s right-hand man chimes in with, “Or Klingon.” To which the customer replied (in true, only-in-a-comics-shop fashion), “No, I’d understand that.”

So yeah, I look to the Net for a little more age-appropriate interaction, if you will. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the comicsblogosphere (as well as the people who frequent us) are a slightly older, more established group than what the general comic book market seems to be. If I’m going to talk comics, I’d just assume hang out here.

07 March, 2006 19:28, Blogger zilla said...

Kurt i'm laughing out loud my friend. this thread overall has made me feel... swell.


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel