10th Jan2011

Adventures West Coast – The Archie Wedding: Archie In “Will You Marry Me?”

by Will

The beauty of writing these things when I do is that I get to miss the hype that accompanies the initial release. At that point, everybody’s writing about it and you run the risk of having your own opinion tainted by what you end up reading in those reviews. I read a lot of articles dedicated to this particular storyline, but luckily I no longer remember most of them. What I do remember is that most people hated the story, which sounds about right seeing as how most comic fans hate everything.

The Archie Wedding: Archie In “Will You Marry Me?” collects the eight-part headline making storyline where the ambivalent teenager finally puts an end to the 70 year old question: “Betty or Veronica?” The catch, however, is that he chooses both. Using a plot device that finds Archie walking up Memory Lane instead of down, he ends up getting a glimpse of his own future. Framed around Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, Archie first chooses the path on the left, which shows him what his life would be like if he were to marry Veronica.

The Veronica Marriage turns out to be nowhere near as bad as I would’ve thought going into it. Considering Veronica has behaved like a spoiled bitch most of her existence, I expected her to make Archie’s life a living Hell. Instead, however, it seems that the marriage and partnership between Archie and Ronnie turns her into a kinder person, and they become a stronger unit for it. Mr Lodge sees potential in Archie, giving him a prestigious corporate job. Archie and Ronnie have twins. Archie, who next to Dick Clark is America’s oldest teenager, *gasps* becomes a responsible husband and father.

The thing I found funny about the whole affair is that up to the very point of proposal, the entire town had no clue which way he would go. Even Archie’s own parents only figured it out because the bank called to verify the amount of the check he had cashed to buy the ring, which indicated to them that he had chosen Veronica. There’s no indication that their relationship had really grown in the “missing years”, and it had the same impact as if he had simply proposed in high school.

After putting his twins to bed, Archie takes another stroll up Memory Lane, and ends up taking the other path. At this point, he finds himself back at the day of his college graduation, and he realizes that his future with Ronnie hadn’t (hasn’t?) happened. Here’s where things seemed a bit fucked up to me. You see, at the graduation afterparty, all signs point to Archie choosing Veronica. He even pulls her aside to talk with her, but she blows him off because all she can talk about is the European trip she’s about to embark upon. It’s at this moment that he realizes he’ll never fit into her jet set world. So, he slinks away from her only to cross the room and promptly propose to Betty. See, in the Veronica story, he was genuinely in love with Ronnie, but in the Betty story, he’s still in love with Ronnie, but *settles* for Betty. What a great foundation on which to build a marriage!

Archie’s parents seem bewildered by his choice. They were excited when it was Veronica, but freak out when it’s Betty. I think Mr & Mrs Andrews might’ve been a bunch of golddiggers. Also, Archie and Betty have no money, so their wedding is a small affair at Pop’s, while he and Ronnie had a media circus of a wedding. Once the festivities are over, Archie finds himself jobless, while Betty has a jr executive position waiting in New York. They move to the Big Apple, where Archie becomes a struggling musician, while Betty succeeds in the corporate world. He’s pretty miserable, which is only made worse one night when he’s berated by one of Betty’s superiors. Standing by her man, she tells off her boss, quits her job, and they move back to Riverdale. Gradually, things get a little better, as Betty begins teaching at Riverdale High, where Archie becomes the new music teacher. They both flourish in their new roles, and go on to have twins.

There are a lot of problems with this storyline, but the main one is that it’s simply not fun. Now, I realize that times have changed. While the comics do quite well in Europe, American children no longer grow up regularly reading Archie. That said, the books are still being published for that audience, yet this particular series clearly wasn’t written with children in mind. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to know who is the target audience for the book. The general tone of it is “adulthood sucks”. There’s no real silver lining, nor is there an awesome ending. Give this thing to an emo teen, and he would promptly commit suicide, as its view on life is pretty bleak. If the book was geared towards adult Archie fans, then it’s still a slap in the face, as it serves as a mirror of their own mundane lives. It’s Archie’s lowest creative point since the time when he was featured in those Spire Christian Comics.

I now realize the story isn’t over, as this miniseries just served as a set-up to continued over time. There’s a new Life With Archie: The Married Life magazine which follows the adventures of Married Archie, both with Veronica and Betty. I just don’t know who would want to read more. It’s depressing, almost like certain Family Circle or Funky Winkerbean strips. For example, it’s just been revealed that Ms Grundy will succumb to cancer in an upcoming issue. Why?!! That’s like giving Mr. Belding Alzheimer’s?! Who the fuck wants to see that? This story is tailor made for the same people who always watched those Brady Bunch reunion movies. You know, where Bobby has a race car accident and Jan’s getting separated from her husband? It’s continuity porn for the mundane, and it never needed to exist.

I LOVE a good future tale, especially if there’s a chance that it might be the “definitive” future, but you use that format as an opportunity to take some chances! Say that Archie and Veronica tour the world as a Sonny & Cher-esque spin-off of The Archies. Say that Archie and Betty are saving pandas or some shit. Do NOT give Archie a 9 to 5 and a minivan!

I’m sure somebody out there was glad to see this, but I’m certainly not one of them. Then again, I want to think there’s more a more colorful future for Archie than the boring-ass shit depicted in this story. I did, however, like that Archie seemed to choose Veronica in both cases. Sure, it’s not balanced, but everyone loves a good bitch. Plus, you just know that Betty gets fat.

15th Oct2010

Happy Anniversary, Lindsay!

by Will

If you’ve been with the site for some time, you’ll notice that I don’t do “personal” as much as I used to. When I first started, it was more like a public diary, and you’d get ALL the nuts and bolts. Over time, I’d look back at those posts, and feel kinda dumb for sharing that with a bunch of strangers. So, I decided to just focus on snark, and downplay “Real Life Will”. Sadly, that decision came with a price, as it meant I neglected to talk about the people who mean most to me. With that in mind, I’d like to wish a happy anniversary to the wonderful Lindsay.

Two years ago today, we went on our first date. She was a pretty cool chick, and she didn’t murder me – which is always a plus! Anyway, I met her that night and haven’t left her side (2 years is a long time in Adult World!). They’ve been the best 2 years of my life, and I just want her to know how much I love her. Plus, this whole thing is FREE, so it gets me off the hook for a gift. Bazinga!

17th Sep2010

Origin: The Final Frontier

by Will

By this point, we’ve covered how I found comics, how I came to love comics, as well as the memories and experience they provided. Back in Origin Zeo, I mentioned the time I discovered the sense of community that surrounds comic books. That might sound lame to some, but it is almost like a family in itself. We rarely agree on anything, but we’ll defend the medium to the bitter end. For me, comics have been an important means of social outreach. I’m a bit introverted, though you might not think so, what with me having a blog named after myself and all. I’m actually pretty shy, so I don’t just put myself out there to make friends. I will say, however, that most of my enduring friendships have been the result of my love of comics.

When I was in middle school, I attended a school for 6 weeks before we all realized that it wasn’t “the right fit”. I ended up enrolling in public school (for the first time, mind you), 6 weeks into the semester. It was hard enough being the new kid, but it was even harder being the late new kid. As dorky as I was, I didn’t get beaten up or anything, but I can’t say I had any friends, either. That all changed when I noticed a kid from my church, and we found ourselves talking about X-Men and Power Rangers. That kid was Brett King, and that conversation led to 10 years where we dissected X-Men developments, and debated new Zord combinations. We traded Marvel Masterpieces, created our own battles with our action figures, and even attended Professor Xavier’s funeral together (it was an event sponsored by a local mall). Up through college, he was truly my best friend, and it was all built on the foundation of a shared love of comics. I don’t know how I would’ve survived that period without him.

Once I got to college, I met James Lamb. To call him “interesting” or “complex” wouldn’t even come close to describing the man, as he’s an enigma. Passionately political one minute, and hardcore Marvel fanboy the next.  He’s gonna kill me for this, but he’s basically an amalgam of Malcolm X and Stan Lee (“Excelsior, crackers!”). I always tell people that I majored in “A Cappella”, as that was my primary focus while in school. Sad, but true. When I wasn’t singing, however, I was with James, discussing the nuances of “Hush” and “The Age of Apocalypse”. Once we both graduated, and found that we weren’t the Captains of Industry that the world expected us to be, we had MANY 4 AM conversations where the topics would range from Jason Todd to Jim Crow. Those conversations kept me sane in my years as a “boomerang kid”, back living in the room in which I’d grown up.

Eventually, I found myself actually living the dream, when I was hired by Diamond Comic Distributors as a Purchasing Brand Manager. Basically, we created Previews – the catalog that all comic shops use to place their orders. My job was to gather information for a particular part of the catalog, while also seeking out new “small press” creators who might have projects that they’d like to have promoted to retailers.

Diamond was a great opportunity, as it allowed me to learn the other side of comics. Up to this point, I had simply been a reader/fan/collector, but now I was working alongside creators/publishers/newcomers. I had some great experiences, like hanging out with a former Batman editor, being starstruck at SDCC, and even being drawn into a comic. I felt honored by the opportunity, but I also met some great people from that job.  Jim Kuhoric: all-around good guy/comic creator (and greatest boss). Steve Leaf: the fanboy I’d like to be when I grow up. Jay Spence: the filmmaker who’s the gonna be the next Kevin Smith. Then, there’s one fellow who’s gonna need his own paragraph.

When I first met Keith Davidsen, I didn’t quite know what to make of him. He seemed to be vying for the “class clown” position, which made me a bit competitive, as that’s the slot I like to have. There was no rivalry, however, as we ended up as a pretty good duo. I can’t even remember our first “adventure”, as we basically lived at Diamond. We’ve had craziness from San Diego to Miami, but it’s all based on a shared love of comics. Nobody loves 90s comic gimmicks like this guy. Rob Liefeld, Ghost Rider, X-Force – they were all created for Keith Davidsen. Since these were prevalent when I was getting into comics, it’s almost like we grew up in the same town, but went to different schools. For the better part of 5 years, he has been one of my best friends, and that’s all traced back to comics.

After comics, I worked at one of the (allegedly) shittiest companies ever, where we were all basically telemarketers. Under the guise of “research associate”, I dealt with a lot of people who begged me to stop harassing them. My God, did I hate that place! Anyway, I had one real friend there, and wouldn’t you know, he was a comic fan: Jason Larbi. While this analogy might offend an actual veteran, working at that place was akin to being in battle, and Jason was right there in the trenches with me. Whether we were discussing “Old Man Logan”, or he was trying to make me believe he had found a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 in his alley, he was the only thing that got me through the day. That was also the saddest part about leaving that place: I got discharged on Section 8, while he’s still in the fight.

I’d also can’t forget about Toys “R” Us. While I’ve written about it quite a bit, I worked at that place for 10 years. My first store was full of characters, but it wasn’t until I got to the Columbia store that I actually made friends. Once that happened, it didn’t even feel like “work”. Sure, it got rough during summer and right before Christmas, but most of the time it was just like hanging out at a friend’s house – except you wore a uniform, there were shelves, and strangers were constantly going in and out of the place. Anyway, I looked forward to going, and discussing Batman Begins and Iron Man with Amy, “Special Forces”, Patty, and the late, great Lenny. I really should have quit that place years before I did, but I kept going back for the camaraderie and the geeky atmosphere. It was my Geek Barbershop.

At the end of the day, what I’ve been trying to say here is that comics have been my gateway for the past 18 years. Whether as a form of entertainment, or as a source for conversation fodder, I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have them in my life. Some people might think it’s sad, but everybody’s got something. I just wanted to let you guys in on what comics have meant, specifically, to me. They started out as just “something to read”, but later turned into an instrument in the creation of a make-believe family, which eventually gave way to be replaced by a surrogate, comic reading family. We get a bad rap as anti-social nerdlings, but I think that’s incorrect. Comic fans are some of the most social people I’ve ever encountered. In some cases, they might even be too social. That said, there is an almost overwhelming sense of community that surrounds comics, and I think that’s a big part of their charm. Just like you can strike up a conversation with the guy wearing the McNabb jersey, I can do that with someone I see reading DMZ. For example, I recently started a job at a school, and one of the principals is a comic fan. We often have conversations about Wolverine or Walking Dead. Just another example of how pervasive the community can be.

This is the first time I’ve ever taken a look back over the course of my comic fandom. It was certainly more emotional than I ever thought it would be, but it included some stories that I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to tell. Taking it all in, it’s clear that comics have been very influential in my life, and I can’t wait to see where they take me next. Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

16th Sep2010

Live Free or Origin Hard

by Will

Comics as escapism – this is a concept that is always bandied about when people try to explain the notion of collecting & reading comics. Supposedly, we read superhero comics because they take us out of our day to day lives, and might even inspire us to greatness, as we observe acts of heroism. I don’t discount any of this, but I know that, for me, I enjoyed the escapism that the hobby provided me. This is going to get into a lot of family stuff, and may not be as action-packed as the other stuff, but there is a point here. Trust me.

So, we already covered that my mom had me late in life, but it should also be said that my father passed away from an aneurysm when I was three. So, I tell people that I was raised by the Black Golden Girls: Mommy, Muddear, and the Aunts. Being a single mother, my mom was at work most of the time, so I spent most of my time with Muddear, hence the Alabama trips and whatnot. Then, around 1993, something changed.

To go even further back, my mom had been married before. This is actually a bit of an odd story. She got married when she was 26, to a guy named Fred West. He was a bit of a cad, but their marriage lasted about 14 years. When it ended, she said that she was never changing her name again. She eventually met my father, Willie West, who was not related to Fred. So, she got to keep that name-change promise.

In any case, I bring up Fred because he resurfaced around 1993. You see, he had time to think about what he had done (whatever that may have been), and he decided that he wanted her back. Since he had “con man tendencies” about him, he knew how to get to people. He realized that the best way to get to her was through me. Now, this isn’t a standard “creepy stepdad/mom’s boyfriend” kind of thing. I LOVED him. He was a really fun guy. It was hard for me to think he could’ve done anything wrong, and he genuinely seemed to care about me.

So, how does this relate to comics? Well, he used to SHOWER me with toys and comics. Of course it was in order to curry favor with my mom, but I would have these free-for-all days, where he would pick me up in the morning, and we would hit 4 comic shops, 3 Toys R Us stores, and a McDonalds. Even though I’ve exhibited the whole “I’m asking for this just to see if I can get it” behavior, it wasn’t like that here. We’d get in the car, and he’d ask, “So, where to today, buddy?” This was how I learned about comic shops and the back-issue market, as I was always looking for new places for us to go. This took place during the summer, so we’d make these runs about 2 or 3 times a week. Honestly, it got to the point where I had run out of shops and things to buy.

These Fred Sprees were fruitful, as they taught me about local comic stores, like Geppi’s Comic World and Barbarian Books. I also had my introduction to back issues, as I tried to catch up with what the characters had been doing before I got into comics. Geppi’s used to have these $5 grab bags, where you’d just end up with the worst comics. I didn’t know that then, of course. They ALL seemed cool to me, even if it was a Crystar comic from the 80s, or Moon Knight #27. I loved those grab bags because they taught me about other types of books on the market, and they all seemed like these ancient treasures. Even if they were just 10 years old, they felt like these relics from forgotten times. I loved seeing the ads for canceled cartoons and failed breakfast cereals. I also realized that many of them didn’t also didn’t end in one issue, but that just gave me something to search for next time. The seeds were being planted for my love of The Hunt. I was beginning to see comics as things to be collected, and as I had already learned from the Happy Meal toys, I’m a bit addicted to collecting.

*Not actual family. I wasn’t that lame.

Anyway, as this was going on, there was a period where we were almost like a nuclear family. Sure, the aunts and Muddear were still around, but Fred would come by and take Mommy and me to dinner. We’d be in a booth at the Hot Shoppe (that’s for you MD/DC folks!), and I’d be reading an old copy of All-Star Squadron, as they laughed at some joke he just told. I liked that, as it was something I had never had before, but had always seen on TV. It was like I had a mom and a dad, and we were all just happy together.

So, eventually my mom put a stop to the Fred Sprees because she really didn’t think he had changed, and she didn’t want to give him false hope. There was no need for him to waste all his money on comics and toys if it was going to be in vain. Fred stuck around for a while, but he finally moved to Virginia. He died a few years ago, from Alzheimer’s. I could tell he wasn’t necessarily “all there” back in the day, but that was part of his charm. Just another reason I loved him.

So, when I think of “comics as escapism”, I’m not thinking of how cool it would be to be Batman, or what it must be like to live in Metropolis. I fondly think back to the time when I had what society considers a “family”, and how much I liked that feeling. It was fleeting, but comics were there for the whole thing. I can look at a copy of All-Star Squadron now, and it all comes back to me. Maybe that’s more accurately “comics as nostalgia”, but isn’t nostalgia just escapism from the present? Next time, I wrap this all up and bring us to the present.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Five

15th Sep2010

Origin Forever

by Will

OK, so up to this point, we’ve covered my first comic experience, as well as the summer where I fell in love with the medium. At the time, I had no idea that I was on the cusp of a full-on comic explosion! I’m not sure if you’ve been paying close attention to the timeline, but we just ended the summer of 1992. Fall of that same year would mark three very important events that would shape my comic reading hobby. Let’s take a minute to explore those milestones.

On September 5, 1992, Batman: The Animated Series premiered on Fox Kids. We all know how revered the show is, and we all know about the Emmy wins. I wish, however, to point out what the show meant to me.

Unlike most of my generation, I don’t have fond memories of He-Man, Thundercats, or even Transformers. It’s not that I didn’t like those shows, but I just never saw them. I used to carpool with one of the teachers at my school, so I was usually in after school care, waiting for her to finish up for the day. By the time I got home, it would be after 5, and those shows would be over. I might get to catch them on the occasional sick day, but those were rare as I loved school. Just like with Dr Seuss, I’ve tried to go back and understand what I missed, but I guess you”just had to be there”.

The reason that B:TAS was so important to me was the fact that it was the first animated show that was “destination television” for me. I already loved Batman, but most fans will tell you that B:TAS rejuvenated the franchise. Sure, the movies had been great, but the show was the last step needed to cleanse the collective consciousness of the campiness of the 60s show. Don’t get me wrong – I had loved that show, but my comic reading was making me realize that it hadn’t depicted the “real Batman”. Anyway, I found myself taking over my mom’s VCR, programming it to tape B:TAS every day. The more I watched, the more I wanted to know more about the lore. This, in turn, led me to seek out more Batman comics.

A month after Batman premiered, the X-Men cartoon debuted on Fox Kids. I have to admit, I had almost no knowledge of X-Men prior to watching the show. As you learned in the last installment, my Marvel knowledge didn’t extend much outside Spider-Man. The artsy kids (or, as artsy as you could be in 6th grade) at school were really into X-Men, but I just nodded along with their conversations. I kinda knew there was a guy with knives in his gloves, but that was about it.

So, while X-Men also became a VCR staple, it was for different reasons. Whereas Batman had deepened my appreciation for the character, the X-Men cartoon served not only as an introduction, but as a full immersion course. We all know the general Batman stuff off the bat (no pun intended): rich guy, dead parents, bat flies through window, strikes fear in criminals, sometimes has sidekick. X-Men isn’t nearly as accessible. I think 1992 was probably the most accessible period in X-Men history (it was on the eve of that franchise’s 30th anniversary), and that’s still not saying much. It’s kind of jarring to grow attached to the character of Morph, only to get into the comics and find that he never existed prior to the show. It would take a Ph. D to fully understand the X-Men franchise, and I thank this show for getting me in on as close to the ground floor as possible. As with Batman, I had an urge to seek out more X-Men comics to see what I’d been missing.

I remember that my very first issue of the X-Franchise was Uncanny X-Men #297, which made absolutely NO sense to someone only acquainted with the cartoon. It was the tail-end of a huge X-book crossover called “X-Cutioner’s Song”. It came bagged, with a trading card, so I thought I was onto something really special! Now, the X-Men books have had some confusing storylines over the years, but that one still might take the cake for “most convoluted” – and that’s saying a LOT. I stuck with it, though, I only have a slightly better understanding all these years later. Yup, I still have that issue, too.

It was the 3rd event that made all the difference in the world. In the comic world, Fall of 1992 also marked the Death of Superman storyline. I’ve already discussed this in an Adventures West Coast post, but to say this was a BIG DEAL would be an understatement. It also served as a good link to getting through to my mother.

For those who only know me through the internet, my mom had me later than most moms. In fact, she was 43; I was a “surprise”. So, when I first started learning about Superman, I realized that his debut was the month before my mother was born. So, any chance I got, I would use that as a means to open up a dialogue. “Oh, your birthday’s coming up. I know because Superman’s anniversary just occurred.” Yes, it was lame, but what could I do? I thought I was clever! She never had any real love for Superman, so it’s not like this appealed to some part of her. It did, however, allow me a chance to demonstrate how much I knew about, as well as how much I loved, comics.

The whole “death of comic character” gimmick wasn’t common at this point, and the event was getting a LOT of media coverage. I think people at her job had even been talking about it, so she understood the magnitude of it all. I didn’t yet understand the whole concept of miniseries and future solicitations. So, I got her to take me to the comic shop (yes, I had discovered them by this point), so that I could get what I thought was the death of Superman issue. Instead, it was just Part 1 of the storyline. Well, she was already used to my whole “I just need one more” pleas from my days of collecting Happy Meal toys, so this was nothing new. She hated it just as much as she had with the aforementioned toys, but she was used to it. Not only did she take me to get all the books where Superman “returned” as four other characters, but she also took me to get the comic where he really did come back.

I think that mainstream exposure did a lot to let my mom know that comics weren’t just “funnybooks” anymore. She still hated X-Men, though. They were “demonic”, and she threatened to throw away any issues that were left in common areas. Still, we were making progress. Next time, I’ll get into exactly why I love comics.

Part One
Part Two
Part Four
Part Five

14th Sep2010

Origin Zeo

by Will

So, when last we met, I recounted the tale of how I discovered my love for comics. Rather, it wasn’t love at that point, but was more of a passing curiosity. That all changed when Muddear and I went back to Alabama in 1992. At that point, Cephus and his Winnebago were M.I.A., so we ended up taking an Amtrak sleeper for the trip. I can’t read in a car, but I can somehow read in a train. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up about 24 hours.

Not much had changed about me in 3 years, so I still needed to be bribed to make the trip. I no longer had the scooter, so I was really worried as to how I was going to entertain myself while down there. Let me paint a picture for you: we live in the COUNTRY. We didn’t have an indoor toilet until about 1994. There was no cable, and we lived on the side of the highway. Unless you planned ahead, your days would consist of listening to big rigs, watching The Beverly Hillbillies through screen snow and swatting wasps. So, as you can understand, I NEEDED stuff to take with me!

The night before the trip, my mom and aunts took me to Waldenbooks to stock up on supplies. Now, I should also mention that I had a SERIOUS love for the Hardy Boys at this point, but that’s a story for another time. Let’s say that I was reading those as voraciously as I currently read comics. So, I intended to pick up some more Hardy Boys volumes, but realized that I had read all of the books that particular store had to offer. I probably threw a fit, because I’m an only child, plus it sounds like something I would do. At that moment, however, I noticed the spinner rack near the register. I was determined to get something, and since I was doing them a favor by going to Alabama with Muddear (or so my little, disillusioned 11 year old mind thought), they could break the rules a bit. I saw a comic on the stands that caught my eye immediately: Superman, but guest starring Robin. Not just that, it was Robin and Superman fighting VAMPIRES!!! In today’s industry, that comic would solve all of DC’s problems – the true definition of a gateway comic.

So, let’s focus on what we were dealing with here: comic book (bad), Superman (good), Robin (inconclusive), vampires (BAD). These were the factors in play in the middle of that mall bookstore. I appealed to Aunt Mary, ’cause she’s the kindly one of the bunch, even though she’s also the one who would be most opposed to the vampire aspect. I explained that Superman and Robin were FIGHTING the vampires. They were trying to vanquish evil, not become a part of it. Somehow, my Shopping Mall Perry Mason routine won out, and I got the book. Yep, I got the book, but I couldn’t really flaunt the cover, which depicted a vampire chick about to bite Superman’s neck (yeah, I was also the kid who couldn’t have toy guns). I also grabbed some copies of Detective Comics, mainly due to the fact that the covers were innocuous, and “Detective” didn’t sound like something that the aunts could argue about. After all, I’d been reading Hardy Boys, and I didn’t yet realize that Batman also starred in Detective.

So, I got my comics, and hid them away for the night, fearing my family would change their minds and try to throw them away prior to my departure (similar events had occurred – again, for another time). I swear, the minute our train pulled out of Union Station, I was reading those comics. It was exciting, kinda like when you read your first Playboy – plus, the boobs are roughly the same size in both. It wasn’t until I got to the end of the Superman & Robin vs. Vampires adventure that I learned a harsh truth about comic books: the stories don’t all end by the end of the book! Up to this point, all the “real” books I had read had completed their narrative by the final page. I’m sorry, but The Cay and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry didn’t end on cliffhangers! How was I supposed to find out how this ended?! I mean, it was hard enough just getting this issue! How would I even go about finding the next part? Did they only sell comics in certain stores? These were the questions going through my head.

A few days after we got to Alabama, we went to Kroger for groceries. While in the store, I saw a spinner rack full of comics. I was still somewhat burned by the fact that my last comic experience had been…incomplete, but I found myself checking out the books. That’s when something caught my eye; an issue of Action Comics, with Robin and Superman on the cover, still fighting vampires! Was this the same book? How many Superman books were there? When did this come out? Looking at the title page, I thought I had found the next part of the story! Oh happy day! At this point in my life, I had my own allowance, in addition to the money Muddear had been given for me. I grabbed the Superman book, as well as some more Batman comics and went home to finish my story. Years later, I realized I had read them out of order, and this “miraculous” find was actually Part 1. Why were comics so confusing?!

Over the course of that trip, Kroger visits became more regular, as I was trying to find any reason I could for us to go into town. “Muddear, we need bubble bath.” Or “Muddear, I want Spaghetti-O’s without the hot dogs in them.” I was starting to learn that comics came out on a weekly basis. Sure, there wasn’t an issue of Superman each week, but there did seem to be a weekly comic starring Superman, regardless of the title on the cover. I also started stocking up on more Batman comics, as well as G.I. Joe. I had always loved the Joe cartoon, but didn’t know there were comics of that, as well. The comics were grittier than the cartoon, and characters actually seemed to die.

I also found myself branching out, gaining interest in different characters. Superman wore thin quickly, but Spider-Man piqued my interest. He was a down-on-his-luck loser, yet he was married to a hot redhead who was always in his corner. The real kicker, however, was the fact that this summer was actually the 30th anniversary of the character’s first appearance. This meant that there were several comics that featured hologram covers. I don’t know if I’ve ever expressed this, but I LOVE holograms. Sure, it’s a dated “technology”, but I wish holograms were on EVERYTHING! Sure, those books were a bit more expensive, but I was getting an extra-sized comic AND a beautiful hologram cover. In my mind, comics just kept getting better and better!

Needless to say, that summer was FILLED with comics, as I couldn’t get enough of them! Still, my reading was pretty much isolated to DC characters, and Spider-Man. On the train ride home, one of the porters noticed that I was reading comics, and he started a conversation with me. I remember thinking, “Adults read these things?” I’ll never forget that, as it was the first time that I realized that there was a sense of community about all of this. He told me that I should read Marvel comics. I said, “Nah, I’m good with DC.” I remember being excited about the thought of new comics, but feared what my mom would say when I got home. Would she allow me to continue with this hobby? Where would I find comics other than the ones at Waldenbooks? Marvel published books other than Spider-Man? These are the mysteries surrounding my homecoming, and we’ll touch on that next time.

Part One
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

13th Sep2010

At Long Last – My Comic Origin!

by Will

I’ve been wanting to write lately, but really haven’t had much to write about. I’ve been to a LOT of comic cons and stores lately, and it made me realize that I’ve never really explained *how* I got into comics. This isn’t just a blog thing, as many of my “in real life” friends don’t really know this tale either. So, it got me to thinking, and those memories have brought us here. Let’s go for a little ride, shall we?

People never believe this, but I started rudimentary reading at 18 months old. This, combined with the fact that my parents were older, meant that I skipped a lot of “typical” children’s literature. I never had any fairy tales, and I missed out on Dr. Seuss. I probably sound like I snob, but I realize that I truly missed out on some classics. Later, I went back and tried to read The Cat in the Hat, but it was too late – the damage had already been done. So, what did I read? Mainly, I read the Style section of the Washington Post. Yeah, there were pictures, but I also learned a LOT about the television industry.

My mom and aunts loved to encourage my reading, so they were always willing to buy books for me. They, however, had to approve of the books, so the covers couldn’t show anything demonic, and they couldn’t be something that was a “waste of time”, like “funnybooks”. Anyway, they used to make me go to Alabama for the summer with my grandmother. The thing about those trips was that I HATED going, but ending up loving it once I was there. In any case, I would throw a FIT prior to leaving, so they’d always bribe me with books and toys so that I would “be a good boy for Muddear”. Also, Muddear was given money to keep me pacified while down there.

The first time I was sent to Old Dixie was 1989, and my cousin Cephus (we are from the South!) drove us down in his Winnebago. There wasn’t much to do, but I had a scooter, and our front yard had a ditch. If you do the math, you’ll realize that I had my own Fat Kid X-Games event going on. I’m still amazed that I never fell in and died – this was a DEEP ditch. I remember, though, during one of my ditch-jump lulls, buying my first comic at the local bait shop. Rather, I didn’t pay money for it, but it was bought for me by a cousin during an ice run for a cookout. I can’t remember the issue number, but it was a Star Trek comic published by DC. This was during the Original Cast Movie Era, so those were the uniforms they were wearing.

Now, I’m gonna be real honest here: I don’t think I ever even read that thing. I mainly asked for it just to see if I could get it. Yeah, I was that kid. Since I hadn’t really been allowed to go near “funnybooks”, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Plus, I was as much of a Trekkie as you could be at the age of 8 (I’d been watching TNG since its premiere, and had seen all TOS episodes). Seeing it on the stands, it was familiar to me and that’s what I went for. I think it had Klingons in it, but didn’t they all back then? I know that comic made the trip back to Maryland from Alabama, but I really don’t remember what became of it. I guess it got thrown away during one of Muddear’s cleaning jags. The main point is that, while I remember owning it, comics had yet to make any real impact on me. I think I had it more for its connection to Star Trek than for the fact that it was a “forbidden comic book!”

Over the course of the next year, I had another one of those “I wonder if I can get x to buy this comic for me” moments. One Sunday afternoon, my aunt’s boyfriend took me to 7/11. It’s a long story, but here’s the gist of it: Muddear lived on a street in DC that wasn’t exactly the nicest. The ice cream truck came through, and I really wanted ice cream, but Muddear was always of the opinion that the ice cream truck was really just selling crack. So, she wouldn’t let me near it. I think I cried, and Mr. Jackson (my aunt’s bf), who had been doing some work on the house, volunteered to take me to 7/11 for some non-crack ice cream. So, in addition to my Push-Up, I ended up with a Heathcliff comic. Now, I’m not sure if y’all remember, but Heathcliff was the Flavor Aid to Garfield‘s Kool-Aid. He was not the A-list cartoon cat, but I remembered that his cartoon had a really cool theme song (one that I still find myself singing at times). Plus, the kicker was that he was dressed as Batman on the cover. Now, my whole love of Batman extends back to the Super Powers toy line, as well as syndicated reruns of the ’66 show. Surprisingly enough, I had never thought about seeking out Batman comics. This changed all that, as it was the first time I really thought “Wait, Batman started as a comic character, right?” Anyway, I remember that this comic was just a loose parody of the first Michael Keaton movie. Still, it was the first time a comic actually kinda stuck with me, and I still have that book in my collection today. This was not, however, when the collecting bug bit. No, my friends – that happened on the next installment of Will & Muddear’s Alabama Adventures, which I’ll talk about next time.

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

02nd May2010

DC Comic-Con: Well, There’s Always Next Year…

by Will

So, today marked the 1st (annual?) DC Comic-Con. However, in this case, “DC” meant “Northern Virginia”, and “Comic-Con” meant “church bazaar”. I really had high hopes for this show. Established as a joint effort between Baltimore Comic-Con creator Marc Nathan, and the Laughing Ogre chain of stores, the show was poised to give the DC-Metro Area its first taste of a somewhat “official” comic book convention. Considering how great the Baltimore show has become over the years, this venture held a lot of promise. Unfortunately, something went wrong between idea and execution.

Now, I was actually supposed to volunteer for the show, as I first learned about it when I was in Marc’s store a few months back. He had a really good idea: he was already hosting a Free Comic Book Day signing in his store, so he figured he would just offer those guests an extra night’s hotel stay, and have them as his guests for the show. On top of that, he was going to make sure that all of the local shops had flyers available on FCBD, so that he could take advantage of the newcomers who might be flocking to stores. Considering his guest list was going to include Frank Cho (Ultimate Avengers 2, Liberty Meadows), JG Jones (52, Marvel Boy), Jo Chen (Buffy Season 8 covers), and others, it sounded like it couldn’t fail. Of course I wanted to be on board with that! He told me to show up early, and he’d put me to work. Well, fast forward to this morning, as I didn’t get to sleep until 7 AM because I’d been up working on restoring older entries to the site (I’ll explain that situation in another post). So, considering I wasn’t getting to sleep until about 3 hours before the show started, I simply muttered “Fuck that noise”, and went to sleep.

Over the past few days, I guess I lost most of my interest in the show when it didn’t seem like anyone really knew about the thing. I was in a comic shop yesterday, where I overheard someone talking about it, but their account of the thing was riddled with misinformation. On top of it, these were the retailers, themselves, and not just some fanboys standing around. So, it was becoming apparent that those flyers hadn’t made the rounds as planned. Also, the website was only updated intermittently. By Thursday, in total, there had only been about 5 update posts – none of which contained any major information, outside of the list of creators who’d be present. The only show-exclusive item was a variant cover of Witchblade, which would benefit the Hero Initiative. That’s good for the Hero Initiative, but the whole “Show Exclusives” part of the site looked pretty sad, as nothing else was being listed alongside it. It’s almost like, “Why bother?”

The worst crime of the site, however, was that it didn’t even list information pertaining to the price of regular admission. It stated that tickets would be available at the door, and not in advance (unlike the Baltimore show). Also, admission would be $5 IF you signed up for the e-mail newsletter. What if I don’t want to sign up? Well, there’s no information for that scenario. Guess I would just have to find out at the door…

So, I woke up around 11:30, and really debated whether or not I wanted to even bother with it. I had told Marc I’d volunteer, but it’s not like he really cared. He’d be OK. The main thing, though, was that I didn’t really know how to get to George Mason University. Sure, there’s Mapquest, GPS, and all that, but I hate the thought of trying to navigate a college campus. Cornell was basically the entire town of Ithaca. I knew GMU wasn’t that big, but I didn’t want to waste most of the day wandering around aimlessly. I checked the con’s site, only to see that they had uploaded a map of the campus, showing the location of the show, as well as the lot (Lot A) which was the only one open to con guests. Nice of them to post this…on May 1st. Yeah, they did it yesterday. The day before the show.

Honestly, though, I really just wanted to go so that I could finally meet one of my twitter pals. He’s one of the few people I can actually have a tweetversation with, and I think he’d be a cool “real life” friend. I knew he was making the trip from Baltimore, so if he could do that, then I could suck it up and drive to VA.

I headed down to GMU, but I was looking at the map on my phone, as I didn’t have the chance to print it. The Zoom option didn’t want to work, so I was flying blind. Once on campus, I couldn’t, for the life of me, find Lot A. Driving around Patriot Circle, the signs about the show/lot simply ran out. I ended up parking in the lot for a shopping center across the street from the campus. I didn’t want to risk tickets/towing by parking in the wrong campus lot, and I don’t mind walking. If I had found Lot A, it would’ve been a “5-10 minute walk” to the show. I’m not sure if that estimate was for the “normal” person, or for us geek types, who don’t have much in the way of cardio training.

I wandered through campus a bit, and actually walked past Lot A. It wasn’t much closer than the shopping center, so I didn’t feel too bad about my choice. Since the main campus seems to be configured in the middle of a circle, it wasn’t too hard to figure out the general direction of central campus. That said, all of the buildings, while nice and new, all pretty much look the same. Every now and then, I’d see a fat kid carrying a bag of comics, coming from the general direction in which I was headed, so that was an encouraging sign. Eventually, I just had to suck it up, and ask some kid where the Student Union was. Luckily, it was right around the corner from where I was. Keep in mind, this whole walk, which was in the CORRECT direction, contained NO signage to imply that I was headed in the right direction. I couldn’t have been the only one to experience this. Sadly, I arrived just in time to receive a tweet saying that my twitter pal had just left.

Anyway, once at the student union, there was nothing outside to indicate what was going on inside. No “DC Comic-Con Here!” sign. The only clue was that there were more slovenly kids with bags of comics, and a line at the ATM. Once inside, I realized that it wasn’t exactly a well-oiled machine. Admission turned out to be $5, so I guess the newsletter tactic was a bust. The problem was that, after I paid the money, the guy manning the table was more concerned with me filling out a raffle ticket than with giving me my wristband. People were bunching up around me, so once I was done, his partner tried to charge me another $5 before he’d give me the wristband. I told him I’d already paid, and the 1st guy co-signed it, so I got my wristband. That’s when I entered the “ballroom” where the show was being held…

You know your grandma’s church? The one that’s old and drab ’cause only old people attend? The one where they hold bazaars in the drab auditorium? The same auditorium which has a stage up front, as they sometimes use it to present the Christmas Cantata? Well, that’s exactly what this venue was like. It had a very “flea market” vibe to it. The entire room was filled with vendor tables, while something seemed to be happening onstage. I started to make the loop, but people were just in the way. This is a common problem with conventions, as everybody wants to bodyblock the longboxes until they’re done looking through them – very territorial.

As I’m walking through, I realize I recognize a lot of the vendors. After all, I used to frequent those little comic shows they hold at the Crowne Plaza in Tysons. Yup, there was the guy with one arm. There was the jerk from Columbia. There was the dude who always gives me the stink eye. The gang was all there. As I continued around, something became VERY apparent to me: the vendors had only brought their older comics OR their junk. So, if you were new to comics, your only options were overpriced yellowed books from the ’70s or a bunch of $1 bin books from the mid ’90s. I was kind of offended by this, as it implied that none of the vendors had taken the show seriously. Just as the place looked like a church bazaar, they were treating it as one. As I walked around, I overheard a lot of grumbling amongst the vendors, as the show clearly hadn’t met their expectations. Now, I’m not sure if they were unhappy with the turnout, or the lack of sales, but I have to lay some of the blame on the vendors themselves. Outside of the shitload of unnecessary Deadpool variant covers released over the last few months, the vast majority of vendors didn’t have any books published within the last five years. On top of that, it was a great show for anyone looking for cheap trade paperback collections, but the single comic offerings were piss poor. One guy was selling “new comics”, one of which was an issue of Amazing Spider-Man that came out six months ago. Now, considering that series comes out thrice-monthly, that book is basically a year and a half old, when compared to other comics. That’s not NEW.

I made about 5 loops around the room, and couldn’t find ANYTHING on which I wanted to spend money. It was all junk. Hell, I was so disgusted that I passed up the FCBD books that some guy had leftover from yesterday. I bought the DC Comic-Con exclusive Witchblade because it was the show’s ONLY exclusive, and I wanted to have proof of the show’s existence in case it’s never held again. It helped out the Hero Initiative, though I’ve never exactly been sold on that organization (look up its guidelines some time – there’s a a VERY narrow pool of creators who even qualify for its assistance).

The saddest part of the convention was the lone Joker who was skulking around the show floor. This dude looked terrible! I mean, his costume was good, but he just looked depressed, and I’m not sure if it was part of his cosplay. I think he just felt out of place, as he was the ONLY one in cosplay that I saw. They were granting free admission to anyone who showed up in full costume, but he’s the only one who looked like he may have taken advantage of that offer. In any case, I eventually saw him hiding behind a pillar, fervently texting someone. Maybe he was asking Batman to come and take him back to Arkham. After all, that HAD to be a better option than where he was at the moment!

Oh, remember the commotion onstage? Well, that’s where those big name creators were set up. It was so awkward, however, as they were elevated over the rest of the show floor. To add to that, any fans wishing to get signatures & sketches had to wait off to the side of the stage. When it was their turn, they went up, as if they were about to receive a diploma. I’m being overly dramatic, but it really looked like an elitist setup, as we were all waiting to “pay tribute”. I already had signatures from all of them, so I didn’t even give it a second thought.

While on Loop #5, I noticed one vendor, who also happened to be the only vendor who was even remotely friendly to me, had a bunch of old toys for sale. Really old toys. That’s when I saw them: the Hasbro figures from the Stargate movie. Kurt Russell as Jack O’Neill, James Spader as Daniel Jackson, and nary a trace of likeness rights between them. Despite looking nothing like the actors, I LOVE Stargate, and I couldn’t shake a stick at the price tag of $3 each. As I took Daniel and O’Neill to the vendor, he laughed and told me he would cut me a deal for all of them. There were 6 figures, and he said he’d give them to me for half price. Now, I’m normally a sucker for a deal, but I really had no use for Lt. Kawalsky and Horus figures. I mean, Kawalsky looked just like O’Neill, but had a different color shirt, and I don’t care about grunt soldiers from a defunct toy line. I could’ve had them all for about $3 more than I spent, but I just didn’t want more junk in my apartment. I’m gonna hang Daniel and Jack on the wall, like the kitsch that they are. I simply had no use for the others.

IMG00087-20100503-1111_opt

The very second after I completed that transaction, I headed for the door.  I didn’t care about the raffle, or the door prizes, or spending another second in that place. I walked out the door, and didn’t look back.

While I had major problems with the venue, I think my main disappointment came from the fact that I had held such high expectations. It’s really a matter of semantics: this was not a convention, but a show. A comic convention is an experience. There are vendors, panel discussions, and it provides fans with the chance to meet their favorite creators. A comic show, however, is simply about selling. Vendors bring their backstock inventory, and hope to unload some of it to people who are trying to fill holes in their collections. Shows don’t always have guests, and when they do, they don’t tend to be “marquee”. This show definitely fit the latter definition. It was geared toward the collector, and the older collector at that. It didn’t serve as a proper introduction for the new fan, nor as encouragement to the casual fan. I’m a collector, and it didn’t even fit my needs, so I’m left to wonder what was the target audience for this show. It’s got some reputable names behind it, so maybe this was a case of “1st year mistakes”. I didn’t exactly have an amazing time, but fanboys are gluttons for punishment, so I’m not giving up on it completely. After all, there’s always next year…

31st Aug2009

End of Cyberbattical: Looking Ahead

by Will

“The penis is the navigator!”

Welcome to the season premiere of williambrucewest.com. I know it’s been awhile, but Leon’s people came after me for that last post. Here I was thinking he should be grateful for the attention, but I guess I thought wrong. I can’t really get into details, but the whole ordeal ended with me being thrown from a speeding limo.

Actually, the real reason I was gone was because I took a bit of what I like to call a “cyberbattical” (or cybattical – we’re open to either term). Between the site, facebook, Twitter, and everything else, I was just too connected. I had a ton of information being dumped on me, yet none of it really held any value. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love a streak. I wanted to see if I could go a week without all of those sites, and that eventually turned into 1.5 months. I chose a good time, however, as I missed the overload of info regarding MJ’s death, Jon & Kate, and countless other “media frenzies”. In terms of the blog, however, I guess the break can’t fully explain why I’ve been gone, as I haven’t posted since April.

In any case, I’ve stayed away because I really didn’t have an angle. Didn’t know what to write. At times, I feel I’m too mean. It’s easy to harp on celebrities and whatnot from the anonymity of a blog (or, as anonymous as one can be when the URL is his full name). As we’ve seen in recent press, those uppity mofos have lawyers and they will come after you!

Taking my focus away from celebrities, I thought I could get back into anecdotal mode, sharing some stories from the life of “The Real Will”. Sadly, I’ve got a bit of a hater streak going on right now, so that wasn’t gonna turn out well. For example, I toyed around with the idea of a “Match the hygiene difficiency to the correct girl I dated” article. Or my post about how Fox Reality Channel should launch a show called “Pregnant, Or Just Fat?”. Or my critique of facebook wedding pictures. Yeah, like I said, wasn’t gonna turn out well.

So, in this, our “pick up where we left off” post, I figure I should just give a bullet point summary of the things you didn’t hear about on CNN.com

– Back in July, I saw Tiger Woods at the AT&T National. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I really saw the guy. I mean, I was about 20 feet from him. Could’ve pantsed him, and I seriously considered it. The thing is, Tiger’s a lot more cut than he looks on TV. I think I got disillusioned by all those Chappelle Show parodies, ’cause the dude is built. So, I just did my golf clap and sat my ass down.

– I also quit Toys “R” Us. Yes, again. It occurs to me that I never actually posted that I even went back. That was one of those “I’ll fill you in later” promises, where I never revisited the story – there are a lot of those. Anyway, I went back to TRU for part time work back in November 2006. After they closed down my Wheaton store, I found myself in Columbia because it was on the way home from Diamond. In any case, the money always sucked ’cause they usually only gave me about 7 hrs a week, but I always said that I was working there for the people. They were cool. They were into the geeky stuff that I liked. I felt that, basically, I was being paid to hang out with my friends one day a week. Lindsay, of course, hated it because it was time that we could be hanging out, plus I was losing my mind trying to get by on a one-day weekend. All of this changed when I got an erroneous review, and they didn’t want to give me my raise. My TEN CENT RAISE. So, I quit and never looked back. Well, I looked back, ’cause I still went for toys (it is a toy store), but I don’t miss the work. I guess the sad thing is that those friends broke into thirds: when I left, a third of them had quit/been fired, a third of them still keep in contact via facebook, and the other third forgot me quicker than Peter forgot about Jesus. Guess I didn’t mean as much to them as I thought.

HOLY SHIT! Breaking News: Disney’s going to buy Marvel?!!! OK, looks like I’ve finally got my inspiration back. Looks like I chose a good day to come back!

Before closing, I’d also like to highlight some positive things, seeing as how schaedenfraude’s only going to get me so far.

– James and Jenn celebrated their 10 year anniversary. 10 years since I first met them on the steps of Arts Quad, the 2nd day of orientation. Yup, those orientation hook-ups can last! Congrats, guys. Also, Jenn, PLEASE redesign my site. You know, when you’re not held up with pesky grad school stuff. Love ya!

– My bestest friend, Tarek Sultani, got engaged a few weeks ago. In a whirlwind, romantic courtship, he found the woman of his dreams and sealed the deal with a helicopter ride and a proposal. Way to set the bar high for the rest of us 😛 In any case, I know he’s happy, and I wish him and Miss Hanna the best!

OK, that’s enough rambling. I’ll be back for more later…

09th Dec2008

Where Has Will Been Lately?

by Will

“She’s got her own thing; that’s why I love her.”

Man, I haven’t written one of these things in a while. Honestly, I haven’t really missed it, but it was brought to my attention that some people think it’s weird that I actually pay money for this site (‘sup, Jamie!). So, I’d better get my money’s worth.

I realized I don’t blog because I don’t really have anything to say right now. I’m actually really happy, so no angsty bitter posts. I hardly have time for TV these days, so no pop culture posts. And my internet is pretty limited to facebook on my phone, so I’m pretty sure no one wants to me to write about how Marcus Keith Dowling is attending Taxlo.

So, bottom line, I’m pretty boring, but it’s an awesome boring. Can’t knock it. It’s just funny to me how people can change. I stumbled upon Power Rangers: Jungle Fury last night, and didn’t know what the fuck was going on. Did that show ever make sense?! No, really, I hadn’t watched Power Rangers in 2 years, so I wasn’t sure if it was the show or me. I *am* almost 27, but I hate the fact that it made absolutely no sense to me. Felt like I was getting old.

Another odd twist is that I’ve become a bit of a gamer. No, not that D&D stuff the Diamond guys had me dabbling in (did I ever write about that?), but games of the video variety. To narrow it down, pretty much any game that involves a fake guitar is OK in my book. Sorry folks, but my commitment’s to my music & my band right now. Oh, you didn’t know I had a band? Yeah, it’s called Sex Corvette. I’d explain the origin of that name, but I’m not sure you’re all cool enough to handle it. I’ve also got a side band, Fornication Wagon, but that’s just really something to keep me sharp for the SC gigs. Gotta tell ya, SC is taking the world by storm! We’ve got a jet, a sound guy, and we’re about to get into the Hall of Fame. And don’t even get me started on the guitarist – she’s hot as shit. I can definitely see a Gwen/Tony thing brewing (you know, without the whole breakup & umpteen songs chronicling the ordeal. Seriously, I’m sure there had to have been concerts where Tony wanted to stand up during Don’t Speak & just tell Gwen to shut the fuck up. But I digress…)

Ok, where was I even going with all this? Oh yeah, I was explaining why I haven’t written lately. See, when I blog from TRU, I just lose all focus.

Speaking of Toys “R” Us, I had a situation that I’ve never experienced in all my years with the company. You see, I was on a ladder, stocking shelves, when a case of Wall-E robots tumbled over into the next aisle. I had just enough time to emit a telepathic “Ohhh fuuuck!!!” before it was too late. I got to the other side to find that the ghost of Walt Disney had used his ghost powers to clobber an old black lady. They always said old Walt was a racist. All kidding aside (you think I want the Disney corporation on my ass? We’re cool, Mickey!), it scared the shit out of me. First off, I really wanted to make sure she was OK. I was reared by enough old broads to have a soft spot in my heart for them, especially when they’re the first victims of the Robot Apocalypse.I was also scared that I was gonna get sued. Everyone asks,”Did you laugh?” I always *want* to say,”Hell, no! Don’t be an asshole” but instead it comes out as “Hell, no! I was too scared thinking about being sued!” Hey, at least I’m honest!

Anyway, I should probably get back to work. Then again, maybe the store is safer with me hiding in the back blogging.
I think this was just a long, rambling way for me to explain where I’ve really been. A few months ago, I met a really amazing woman. A few months after that, I actually met her (don’t ask…). Let’s just say that the whole experience changed my life for the better. So now I have an amazing person in my life, as well as a new reader, in the form of her younger sister (who I’m looking forward to actually meeting). Anyway, you truly are a blessing, Lindsay. I thought my 5 readers should know that 😉

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