WhateverMan and Wilson

I am a man who does not know a lot about a lot of things.
One of those things I do not know a lot about is Comics.
When I was young, I read the Archie comics, some war comics (Sgt. Somethingorother?), and the odd Weird Tales comic here and there.  I never had a collection, nor wanted one, and I was never one to wait eagerly, impatiently, excitedly, for the next issue of WhateverMan to come out.  Comics were a casual part of my childhood, and when my childhood ran its course, so too, did my desire to read them.

I think I am a month too old (really, though: years too old) to have been part of the PEI resurgence of the Comic Book as art form or literature (or was it simply a surgence?) in, I’m guessing, the late-’80s, early-’90s.  Could have been earlier, could have been later, I’m not good with dates.
So, when friends who were younger than me, or contemporary-aged friends who were hipper than me, began to read comics and graphic novels, I was aware but not interested.  As the popularity, and culture-significance of this Comic Book World grew, I remained ignorant.  And, at times, as it is with my personality, willfully-ignorant.
I read The Watchmen series sometime around 1990, probably. I enjoyed it.  I am, and have been, aware of, and have read, a scant few other series and publications since then, but am woefully ignorant.  When I am in the proximity of conversations about comic books, I generally zone out, due to my immense lack of knowledge of the topic(s) at hand.

All that to say: I am not in my comfort zone when I walk into a comic book shop.

I have a friend, Dylan Miller, who owns a comic book shop: Lightning Bolt Comics  I’ve always felt the desire to support him and his small-business enterprise (and feel guilty for not doing so), but a couple of things have kept me from doing so.

The first is (was) the fact that for so long, I was consumed by credit card debt.  The first 20 years of my adult life, credit card debt owned me.  A number of years ago, my wife and I decided to eradicate that debt from our lives, and so we went on a serious spending freeze.  Not that we were spending much on what I’ll call frivolous things, but we put a halt on practically all non-essential purchasing, and put all our money towards paying off the debt.  And finally, a year or two ago, we succeeded.  We are debt-free.
However, one of the side-effects of such a purchase-purge, is that now I am very much the type of person who hardly spends any money.  Like, I spend practically nothing.  I find it difficult to justify spending money on new underwear, that type of level of miserliness.  I have become a living example of the Scottish SkinFlint cliche.

The second thing is, when I go into Dylan’s store, I feel a bit (a lot) like an illiterate in a library. Imposter!! Looking at the items offered is a bit like looking at things that don’t make sense in my world.  It’s all a jumble of “I have no idea what I’m looking at, or for”, and it’s a bit overwhelming and uncomforting.  This, I realize and admit, is a problem of mine.  I should be “who fucking cares”, but I’m not.

So, for a long time, I wasn’t purchasing anything, and Dylan’s store was one of the many that didn’t see support from me. Yet, now I am beginning to see a light, and, with a bit of a pleasant balance showing in our bank accounts, I am tentatively putting my toe in the Superfluous Purchase Waters.

I made the decision to buy something!  This may seem like a minor thing to you and your lifestyle, but to me it was a bit more epic.  Furthermore, I decided that the first place I’d go is to Lightning Bolt and support my fellow Popalopalot.  Trouble is, I didn’t know what I wanted, didn’t know how to go about finding out what I might want.
Then I hit upon an idea:  why not ask an expert what I might enjoy.  Dylan knows me a little (I’m a hard fellow for anyone to know, I know), definitely knows his stuff, and it might be a fun little adventure.  So I asked Dylan to pick out something from his store, around $30 (I know, big spender right!), that he thinks I might like, and I’d buy it, no questions asked.  Dabbling my toe in the water, you know.
Dylan agreed.

And this is what Dylan picked out for me.  This is what I bought.

I had seen the movie Ghost World, based on Daniel Clowes comic, but had to be reminded of the connection.
So, I read it and really liked it.

Yeah, that’s a long way to go just to say “I bought a book”.

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