This is a love story.
It started about a month ago at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. I had a blast at the convention meeting a ton of my favourite creators. Amongst the very talented writers and artists present was Ryan North, best known for Dinosaur Comics and also the current writer of the Adventure Time comic. Sadly, I didn’t have a copy of Adventure Time for him to sign because I had given mine away shortly before the convention. I told him the story of why I didn’t have a copy of Adventure Time issue 1… I had given my copy to little dude while I was at the mall. Mr. North was awesome enough to post the full story but I will recap a brief version of the story.
I was reading comics in the mall whilst eating a delicious sandwich when a young boy came up and said, “excuse me, can I please read some comics?” I absolutely love sharing comics but sadly my stack was filled with comics aimed at a much older audience… except for one: ADVENTURE TIME! I pulled Adventure Time from the stack and handed it to him, waving to the boy’s mom as she politely smiled at me. I told the boy to let his mother read the comic first before he could read it just so that I was sure it was suitable for him. After all, I hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet. To my surprise and delight, the mother started laughing out loud as she read it and I let the boy keep the comic. I was delighted to share some geeky love with a new fan and hopefully inspired him to take a chance on more Adventure Time or more comics!
When I told Ryan North this story, he was pretty thrilled. So much so that he posted the aforementioned Tumblr post then tracked me down through my friend Seb (who was also an exhibitor at the convention) and told me that he wanted my address because a comic shop in Halifax wanted to send me a copy! Fast forward a few weeks and sure enough I received a package in the mail (as shown in the above photo) from Strange Adventures that contained not only Adventure Time but also a signed issue of the Spirit and some awesome indie comics from the shop. I was flabbergasted and incredibly grateful. Thanks to both Ryan North and Strange Adventures for being AWESOME!
So why, you ask, is this a love story? Well it’s not because I fell in love with Ryan or a comic shop (or at least I’m not admitting it) but rather because I simply love spreading the joy of reading comics and enjoying geeky things with people from every province, country, age, or gender. I gave my copy of Adventure Time to the boy not because I thought I’d get an awesome story out of it but instead because I wanted to give him an awesome story to read and love. Now that I’ve read the issue (and loved it) I know why the mom was laughing out loud in the mall. It’s equal parts hilarious, joyful, and heartfelt. I only hope that a new fan of comics can find the joy, humour, insight, adventure, action, and/or love between the pages of the comics that I give them.
Geeks and nerds tend to guard their culture closely. There have been internet arguments (note: not real arguments) about whether a girl is “nerdy enough” to wear certain clothes or play certain games. Even though the Avengers crushes box office records and there are buttloads of people excited about superheroes, there are still fans that insist that only a knowledge of 50+ years of history entitles you to be a true fan. People scour Tumblr to correct “Spiderman” to “Spider-Man”. There are individuals that believe that the plethora of people that only play Batman: Arkham City or are excited for the Dark Knight Rises aren’t real Batman fans. I’ll never understand these people.
I know we work hard for our geeky badge of honour but that doesn’t mean the girl in the Green Lantern shirt that hasn’t read Emerald Dawn and Blackest Night isn’t allowed to love GL or that a viewer of the Avengers movie isn’t a proper fan of superheroes. Geeks love being geeky but that shouldn’t mean we prevent others from becoming geeks too. Use your hard-earned knowledge to spread the love of comics or whatever you geek out about. Give away a comic that you’ll read another time. Lend a book out to someone who just saw a related movie. Tell someone about the history of a character in a way that is informative rather condescending (but only if they’re genuinely interested). Accept geeky excitement in any way, not just the way you think is right.
We should not aim to be the protectors of geek culture but rather the ambassadors of it. Remember, everyone… you don’t just represent your own views; you represent an entire community.
I love comics, superheroes, books, cartoons, and… I could go on forever. I love being a geek. This is a love story. Spread that love.