Thursday, August 26, 2010

Saturday is International "Read Comics in Public Day"

Well, it seems that somebody has decided that on Saturday, those of us who read comics should make a special effort to be seen conspicuously reading comics in public.

here. But, really, here.

I have mixed feelings on this.

1) I'm lazy. The idea of going out in 100+ degree heat to read when I have at least two sofas and a lovely bed upon which I can read in relative peace seems unnecessary.

2) I can't shake the feeling this is going to wind up a little more embarrassing than interesting once the press notices people in Flash t-shirts reading comics. There's a certain ambassadorship you're taking on by participating, and I kind of wonder what a lot of readers will say when questioned.

3) It assumes that people will invade your privacy, even notice what you're doing, or feel its odd to be seen reading a comic.

4) I also already read comics in public, in the few instances when I read in public (which is usually when I'm on a work trip).

5) There was also a school of thought circa 2004 that what would really promote comics would be posters and commercials featuring known comic-loving celebrities reading their favorite titles, sort of like those library "READ" posters. This always seemed like a... bad idea. It always seemed a little like a desperate appeal for acceptance from nerds.

6) I'd think this will have a limited appeal to a certain segment of the population, as per generating interest. Maybe 13-25 year olds. I don't see my coworkers saying "gee, where IS the local comic shop?"


1) A lot of people don't even know that comic shops really exist in their neck of the woods or that they can buy comics online or buy eComics.

2) It also can't hurt to have adults seen reading comics who don't fit the stereotypes that, frankly, fit a pretty small sector of the comic audience.

3) If readers are out there with more than one type of comic with them, letting people see the diversity of content is a good idea.

It doesn't really matter if I'm reading a comic or a standard old book, its always interesting to see how many people will ask you "what are you reading?". I usually suspect that its far more to inform them about you than it is because they're looking for something new to read, but that doesn't mean it doesn't spark small conversations.

I still remember when I was reading a Jack Kirby "Losers" reprint and the hostess at the restaurant confessed her adoration for some pretty grim ultraviolent 90's era comics. It was kind of charming. And, by the way, people always are amazed to see someone actually reading a Superman comic. There's definitely an impression that Superman isn't really around anymore.

So while I have my reservations, I might be taking a comic along with me to the pool on Saturday.


Fantomenos said...

Hey, I did that today, since I didn't make it in yesterday!

Course, I was reading "Dark Wolverine" while smoking, so I'm not sure I helped the cause really.

Also the Muppets, so partial redemption there.

J.S. said...

That is so weird. Your "Read Comics in Public" day happens to correspond with my "Make Fun of Nerds for doing Nerdy Things in Public" day. Such a strange coincidence. ;-)

Fantomenos said...

I guess I'll have to reschedule "Play the Dr. Who theme on the ukelele while riding a unicycle" day.

The League said...

Fantomenos FTW.