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Tales of a Comic Virgin

I’m so scared. This is now my second attempt at going into a comic book store. At least this time I know what I want… Lumberjanes. Through the magic of Twitter and people who actually know things about things, I know that the first trade was released this week. From what I can gather, purchasing trades is more my speed over purchasing the individual comic editions. Let’s be honest, I barely have my traditional book system figured out. There’s a small likelihood that I’ll actually come up with a successful method for storing multiple thin, flimsy comics. I know me… they’ll end up completely destroyed before you can say “Is Batman Marvel or DC?”. And, also, I’m lazy and all about instant gratification.

The timing of my finally entering and purchasing something at a comic book store was made even more ironic by what I originally went to that area to purchase… 3T clothes for my rapidly growing daughter and a cutesy owl step ladder so she can reach the sink to brush her teeth/help Daddy make pancakes for me. My 34 year old ass walked into the comic book store with a bag full of toddler supplies and I instantly knew I was out of my element.

It’s around 6pm on a random Thursday night… and this place is HOPPING. About 40 teens are gathered around playing various tabletop games, perusing the latest releases of comics and just in general engaging in the type of passionate geekery that I love and participate in myself for other topics. But I am clearly the oldest person in the store by at least 15 years… and I figure every 14 year old there is looking at me and assuming I have a list of which comics my teenage son asked for to celebrate his 13th birthday. I feel like Marshall from Music Town walking into Empire Records… where all the “tattooed, gum chewing freaks” are thinking I’m “the man”.

I self-consciously locate and pick up the first Lumberjanes trade (not even entirely sure that 1) this IS a trade and 2) that this is the trade I wanted). I head up to the cash register and the people behind the counter (again, at least 12 years younger than me) are SO incredibly helpful. It is obvious to them that I am equal parts nervous and excited… and COMPLETELY out of my element. And they are nothing short of supportive and excited for me in turn. The adorable 16 year old with short wavy brown hair with strands of lime green (a look I wish I could pull off, but alas the giant humorless corporation I work for thinks it’s “unprofessional”) explains to me that I had picked up the right copy and that it was a great place to start. She explains how to create my own pull list on Comixology and provides me paperwork with directions to that end. She applauds me for a good first selection as someone who is trying to see if comics are even for her (and I need constant validation, so this made me happy). And the entire time, she makes me feel relaxed and like I am entering an exclusive club… that welcomes everyone with open arms (so, actually the opposite of “exclusive”).

Now it’s time to sit down and read it. Not quite sure what to expect. I open the pages and am instantly captivated by the illustrations. I could analyze each cel for hours. But will the story capture my attention seeing as I’m used to long-form narratives?

Annnnnnd… it does. The combination of winking asides to its adult readers and references to famous feminists throughout history, Lumberjanes absolutely takes this bitter, jaded adult and transports me back to summer camp (I never actually WENT to summer camp, but I always wanted to. Maybe I’ll hit this up one day). Ripley has completely won me over… she is the character whom I find myself watching throughout each moment to see what her reaction will be. While I have a special spot in my heart for Ripley’s excited puppy dog antics, the rest of the gang warms my heart… their individual talents and their collective strength found in friendship.

So, I’m officially in. Although the thought of having to walk into that comic book store still intimidates me, I feel like less of a complete fraud and poseur than I did the first time.

Now for Bitch Planet!

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