Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Pseudoscope

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 6, 2011 by Pex

Hello, all.  Sorry for the delay in posting, but it’s been an interesting/eventful few months, and writing was the furthest thing from my mind for quite some time for reasons I won’t go into here.  I do hope to blog semi-regularly from now on though.

Speaking of writing, I did finish a short story a little before things started to go wonky on me, and that story is out now!  It’s called Breath of Echoes and is one of eight great stories featured in Myth Makers 16: Pseudoscope, the latest volume of the Doctor Who Information Network’s fiction anthology fanzine.  Follow the link above and order a copy for yourself.  I guarantee that if you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’ll enjoy at least one story in the publication (if not more!)  I do not, however, guarantee that it will be mine.  Personally, I’m a bit jealous of the other authors in the collection.  They’ve really outdone themselves!

If you do obtain a copy, drop me a note here and let me know what you thought.  I accept positive and not-so-positive feedback with equal enthusiasm.  Well, not quite equal perhaps, but I do want to hear your thoughts on the story nonetheless.

The Heart of Rock and Roll

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 29, 2011 by Pex

…is, indeed, still beating.  Saturday night, my brother, my uncle and I attended the Chair City Clash, a charity wrestling event held at Thomasville High School and featuring the stars of AIWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.  This is the first wrestling event any of the three of us had ever attended.  Originally, we were only attending because Ricky Morton, one half of the Rock & Roll Express and one of my favorite wrestlers as a child, was going to be there.  Not only did we get to see Ricky Morton, but we saw a whole lot more.

We arrived about a half-hour before bell-time and the first thing we noticed is that it was a smaller turnout than I had anticipated.  This immediately made me feel two things.  First, I was disappointed because of the sold-out arenas I usually see on TV.  This turned out to be a blessing, of sorts, but I’ll explain that in a few moments.  Secondly, I wondered what type of reaction the crowd would have to the action.  I wondered how many of the people in attendance were actual wrestling fans, how many only came because it was a charity event, and how many, like I and my kin, were experiencing the wrestling phenomenon live for the first time.

There were tables set up near the entrance, but the first thing we did was look for a seat.  We had ringside seats, but I never expected them to be “ringside” seats.  In the days leading up to the event, I pictured us on the bottom set of bleachers, the same bleachers I sat on as a teenager in high school.  As it happened, the bleachers were different and looked much fancier than the ones I was used to.  In the end, that didn’t matter, because as I said, we had ringside seats.  And that meant steel chairs, baby.  One of the staples of wrestling.  I wondered idly as we looked around for a good spot whether anyone would get whacked with one of these cold grey beauties before the night was over.

We took a seat in the second row and to the right, with my uncle getting the aisle seat, my brother beside him, and myself furthest in, with our backs facing the doors to the lobby area.  Immediately, our eyes started darting around randomly, taking in the scene around us.  There was an actual wrestling ring in front of us, three or four rows of chairs on every side.  It wasn’t until much later that the thought occurred to me, but it bears mentioning now instead, this was quite an intimate little setup, and the fact that there weren’t as many people in attendance, rather than being a detriment to the experience, took me further back in my remembrances than I would have imagined.  Over the course of the evening, there would be several times that I thought about my earliest memories of watching wrestling on television in the 1980s.  The small crowds of the NWA, where I first “met” Ricky Morton and his contemporaries.  These were those types of audiences, where the number was small in comparison to the WWE audiences of the 2000s.  Somehow, it felt right to me, as if I’d come full circle.  That feeling would intensify further as the night wore on.

My uncle had brought his digital camera with him because the one thing I wanted out of tonight, if at all possible, was to get my picture taken with Ricky Morton.  And to get his autograph, the TWO things I wanted…Anyway, we kept glancing back at the tables near the entrance.  There were three of them, and they appeared to be merchandise tables.  Ricky Morton was walking around near the third table, and talking to a couple of people.  After several rounds of “Do you want to go over there?” “Yeah, but I’m waiting for a good moment…”, my brother took the initiative and stood up.  We followed him, and the three of us went over to check out the tables.  The first had polaroid-looking shots, and a couple of books, one of which was on Hulk Hogan, for some strange reason.  I’m pretty certain he wasn’t part of this particular wrestling organization, so I couldn’t figure out why they had the book there.  It’d be like selling Wolverine comics at an Archie convention.  The second table had DVDs.  We didn’t get too close to those tables because we really had no intention of buying anything from them.  We wouldn’t have known most of the wrestlers on these DVDs anyway, because I believe they were from this organization, which we had not been following.

Ricky actually called out to us first, while finishing up a conversation with the people he had been talking to earlier.  He thanked us for coming, and we told him that we had come to see him because “I’ve been watching you since the 80s on NWA with the Rock & Roll Express”.  He shook my hand and thanked me, and said he’d been wrestling since 1977.  I told him I couldn’t exactly watch him back then because it was the year I was born, but maybe after February…?  He seemed to get a kick out of that, and he said “I’m 55, but I still wrestle like I was 20, and I promise I’m not gonna let you guys down tonight.”  I hoped that was the case.  When the event was first announced, Ricky didn’t have a belt, and this match was supposed to be for the title.  When I found out he had already won the title, I feared the worst.  I feared that he would lose the belt tonight.  While that was something that I didn’t want to happen, I wouldn’t have minded that bad, I don’t think, because at least I’d have seen him wrestle once.

He offered to take a picture with us, and my brother and I took advantage of the opportunity.  He even tried to get my uncle to get in the picture with us, but knowing how camera-shy my uncle is, I knew that just wasn’t gonna happen.  So my uncle took the picture of us with Ricky and the belt, and then we bought a couple of signed photos, two for five dollars.  Not bad at all, really, and he personalized them to my brother and I.  I chose a photo of the Rock & Roll Express.  I wouldn’t have minded a solo Ricky shot, but this may be my one chance to talk to a member of the R&R Express, and I wasn’t about to NOT choose a group shot.  They were my boys, back in the day, and I had to respect that and go with the group shot.  My brother took a solo photo instead.  I’m glad, because it did suggest we didn’t just like the group as a whole, but him as an individual.  It’s a psychological thing, but I’m glad it worked out the way it did.  He shook our hands again, and we wandered back to our seats.  Ricky Morton was a true gentleman, really soft-spoken, and seemed like a great guy and really seemed to care for his fans.

So, we sat back down and an announcer came out and announced that the event was going to be taped for their television show.  My uncle, who again is very camera-shy, decided he didn’t want to sit on the end where people could see him, so I agreed to swap places with him.  We also noticed that everyone seemed to have a program, so I went to the lobby to look for one.  I brought back two, just in case, and we settled in for the event.  It was around that time that a couple of guys brought out some stairs for use in entering the ring.  A detail we had forgotten, but one that just belongs and makes you feel like everything is legit and on the up-and-up.  Like with the steel chairs before, I wondered if anyone would get their head smacked on those bad boys tonight.

As it got closer to bell-time, my mind began to race over what I was about to witness.  What was proper etiquette, I wondered?  Would I be the only one cheering or booing?  It was rather a small event, and the thought of making a fool of myself when most of the others present didn’t have the appearance of being a wrestling fan worried me.  No signs had been brought, and basically, the crowd looked as if it had wandered in off the street on the way home from work or whatever.  It was definitely a concern. Also, I knew the general idea was to cheer, but when?  More importantly, for whom?  Apart from Ricky Morton, I didn’t know any of the people listed on the card for the night.

Finally, the time had come and the announcer came out to the ring, introducing a coach (presumably from the High School) who made a short speech and did a poor impression of the Rock and then left and it was time for the first match.  I should point out at this point that the sound system left a little to be desired.  When someone would speak into the microphone, it came out loud and semi-unintelligible.  This was not good.  Luckily, as I wrote this, my brother looked up and found the results of the event online, so this will help as I continue to tell you what went on that night.

The first match was Caleb Christian Vs. “Showcase” Ric Kelly.  Ric Kelly came out first, and if I had any doubts about who to boo, they were laid to rest the minute he came out to ringside.  Apart from the boos he was receiving from some of the audience who apparently knew who he was, it was easy to tell he was a villain, or “heel”, as they’re called in the wrestling business.  This guy was channeling every wrestling heel I’ve ever seen, and what’s more, he was doing it with style.  He demanded the referee hold the ropes for him as he entered the ring, and once inside proceeded to strut around majestically, as if he thought he owned the place.  He had the look, he had the charisma, but did he have the talent to back it up?  While I never thought that the indie wrestling circuit would be less skilled than what I saw on tv, I did wonder if we would see anything like what we were used to seeing on television.  Would these be more technical, mat-based matches, or would we see something more exciting?

Caleb Christian came out and the fans cheered for him, whether by familiarity, instinct, or in direct opposition to Kelly’s heel character that immediately preceded him, I can’t say.  All I know is that the wrestling term for good guy, “face”, really applied to Christian.  He was a skinny, fresh-faced young man eager to perform.  I couldn’t get over the fact that I was looking at actual shiny wrestling boots and stretchy wrestling trunks which, it must be said, did not leave much to the imagination.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m an adult now or what, but I noticed their crotches a lot more than I would have wanted to.  Not attracted to them, just very conscious that they were there.  Even if I had the ability to wrestle, I doubt I could or would go out in public dressed like that, so I applaud their bravery in that regard.  It’s something I never noticed about the wrestlers on television, so I guess you just had to be there.

The bell rang and the match started, and again, I felt like I had stepped back in time to when I was a boy.  They did armbars on one another, one had another around the waist in some kind of hold, and the other attempted to break free.  I’m sorry to say that my match descriptions are going to be inferior.  I didn’t take notes and I don’t know what all the holds were called, but I do know what a wrestling match tends to look like, and this definitely was one.  Some of the holds, seeing them in person, would seem like they might easily be broken, others not so much.  The thing that does stand out for me about this match is Caleb Christian performing a shooting star press off the top rope onto Ric Kelly.  Like the tagline for the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, at that moment, I did believe that a man could fly.  It was truly gorgeous to see him fling himself into the air, flip over, and land on his opponent.  I’d seen it on TV, but to see it in person, and realize what a man is capable of if he applies himself, to see such athleticism in person…I knew right then and there that, no matter what the rest of the night held, it was worth the time and admission fee just to see such a spectacle in person.  I really wish I could properly convey what I felt at that moment, but I think despite my description above, I haven’t done it justice.  I’ll simply say it was beautiful to behold, and leave it at that.  Oh, and Caleb Christian won the match.

The next match was supposedly a “Midget Match”.  I must confess that I do not know what terminology extremely short people wish to be referred to as, so I will use the term midget for the rest of this entry because it’s the general term used in wrestling when vertically-challenged people wrestle.  Please be assured that no offense is intended.  That disclaimer out of the way, the flyer for the event had promised a Midget Match, Blixx Vs. Justice, whoever they were.  From what I understand, however, neither of those individuals were actually at the event and so a third midget, Joe Kidd, wrestled an average-height wrestler, “Terrific” Tony Lane.  There was a bit of comedy to this match, but not as much as one might expect from a “gimmick” match.  The one thing that stands out to me, apart from Kidd biting Lane on his bum at one point, was when they were bouncing across the ropes back and forth and doing that perpendicular criss-cross thing that wrestlers do, Kidd dropped to his stomach near the ropes and put his chin in his hands and just watched gleefully as Lane kept going back and forth, continuing to bounce off the ropes until he got tired and collapsed.  Truly funny.  Joe Kidd got the win, and everyone cheered.

The third match was on the flyer as being for the AIWF Mid-Atlantic Title, with Louis Moore fighting Rob McBride.  This did not happen.  Instead, Louis Moore had a far more interesting opponent.  His name was Ouga Booga and he supposedly hailed from the depths of Africa or something to that effect.  As far as I was concerned, he hailed from 80s/90s WWF/WWE.  He had a similar gimmick to Kamala, the difference being that Ouga Booga wasn’t so wild-eyed and didn’t do odd neck rotations.  His face was painted and he was wearing a bone necklace around his neck when he came to the ring, and he was doing this really weird chanting/foreign language thing.  The best part of Ouga Booga, however, was that he didn’t break character all during the match.  He would keep yelling out random things in Swahili or whatever made-up language he was speaking and it really freaked out his opponent, Louis Moore.  Moore would shout “What’s he saying?!?” and the referee would yell back “I DON’T KNOW!!!”  Oh, and Ouga Booga had a tongue that liked to stray out of his mouth, not loosely, but darting out hungrily.  Ouga Booga was sharp, he had an intelligence in his eyes that you wouldn’t expect for a savage-persona character like the one he was portraying.  Despite a couple of daring aerial moves on Ouga Booga’s part, he lost the match, but I have to say he gained three new fans.  We all three thought he was awesome.  If I had seen a single clip of this guy on YouTube beforehand and known he would have been at the event, I would have wanted to go, Morton or no Morton.  Come to think of it, I’m going to go look for clips of him as soon as I finish typing this.

Intermission came after that, and apparently some of the wrestlers were outside signing autographs on the appropriate pages in the program guide.  We stayed in our seats and talked about all we had witnessed so far.  The intermission lasted about twenty minutes, and then it was back to the ring for more action.

The fourth match was Matt Smith Vs. Shawn Cruise.  I honestly couldn’t believe my ears when they announced Matt Smith as a competitor.  As many of you reading this may know, I’m a Doctor Who fan, and Matt Smith is also the name of the actor currently playing the title role on the show.  Even if he had turned out to be a bad guy, I knew WHO I would be rooting for in this one, pun very much intended.  I have to admit, however, the more interesting competitor in this match was Shawn Cruise.  Cruise was creepy.  Creepy like a spider.  He had a long, gangly form, with just a bit of pudge on his belly, and a bald head with just a thin layer of dark fuzz growing on it, and eyes that always looked conspiratorially around, as if he were up to something.  He had a grin on his face like he knew exactly what his appearance was doing to the people who saw it.  You couldn’t help but like him, but you also knew it would be bad for you at the same time.  Smith won this match, but unfortunately crowd reaction to the entire match was at an all-time low.  It’s a shame, both men were good competitors, but all the momentum built up for the first half of the show had somehow been taken for a walk during the intermission and it had broken loose and ran away like a stray puppy.  Again, I don’t blame the men or their match, it was just the crowd having calmed down and forgotten they were supposed to be cheering or booing.  Luckily, the next match would quickly remind them how to behave during a wrestling match.

I’d like to take a moment beforehand though to say a word about the referees.  There were three over the course of the entire evening.  The first two alternated for the first four matches.  One was a heavyset guy named Smiley.  I liked him.  Sadly, I don’t remember anything about the second referee except that it wasn’t Smiley.  I don’t know why Smiley made such an impression on me, but he did.  The main reason I wanted to talk about referees however, is because of the identity of the third referee of the evening, who presided over the last two matches.  That referee was Tommy Young.

To anyone who has ever seen NWA wrestling in the 80s, Tommy Young was one of two referees used most frequently on television, the other being Randy “Pee Wee” Anderson.  Tommy Young was notorious for being “knocked out” by heels or sometimes, accidentally, by faces so that an illegal move of some type could take place.  Many times, however, this proved unnecessary because he tended to be blind as a bat at the most critical point of a match and miss a heel attacking a face with a foreign object or missing a wounded face make the tag to his partner waiting just outside the ring.  True, these are staples of wrestling and of refereeing, but Tommy Young made it into an art form and was truly one of the greats.  When they announced that he would be refereeing the next match, I couldn’t believe my luck.  Not only was I going to see Ricky Morton in action later on that night, but I was going to see my favorite referee officiate a match.

Tommy came out to the ring and made a big show of checking over the ring for anything “below-board”.  After fiddling with a turnbuckle on our side of the ring, he turned to the crowd, without even having attempted to correct the problem, pointed to the turnbuckle in question and said, “That looks dangerous!” I thought I would die laughing.

Anyway, the fifth and penultimate match was for the AIWF Mid-Atlantic Tag Titles.  The current belt holders, Notorious (Drake Tungsten & “Manaconda” Matt Houston), came out first, being the perfect heels.  One of the pair had on a Ric Flair-style robe, all flashy and fancy.  Speaking of flashy, he flashed the crowd and made vain remarks about himself to one of the ladies on our side of the ring, and even went to the back row and sat on her lap.  Hilariously done, but it was only the start of what would turn out to be the best match of the evening to that point.

Notorious’s advertised partners for the evening were Corey Duncum and Paco Loco.  The first time I’d heard the name Paco Loco was on a WCW wrestling game for the N64, so I wondered if the game character was based on this guy, or if this guy had taken his identity from the game.  Whatever the answer to my question may have been, Paco Loco came to the ring alone, Duncum nowhere in sight.  There was a brief exchange between Paco Loco and the members of Notorious, something about someone in Paco’s family having died, but Paco said that whoever it was that had died was looking down from Heaven and was watching over him.  As it happened, Paco’s guardian angel wasn’t the only help he had that night.

They announced Rob “Boogie Woogie Man” McBride, but sadly all I heard was “Boogie Woogie Man” and I thought the guy coming out to the ring was Jimmy Valiant.  I hadn’t seen Valiant in years, so when he came out, tagging everybody’s hands, including my own, I thought I’d just made personal contact with someone else I’d seen on my television as a kid.  Valiant or not, McBride turned out to be yet another highlight of the evening.  He really knew how to get the crowd pumped up, and had them doing alternating chants of “Bald-Headed Geek” and “Chia Pet” to poke fun at one of the Notorious members.

What followed McBride’s entrance was an actual, honest-to-goodness tag team match.  It had everything you’d expect to see if you’d ever seen one on tv.  Notorious had a manager at ring side who kept distracting Tommy Young.  It had a foreign object placed in the trunks.  It had said foreign object being used at the most unfortunate moment for poor Paco Loco, aggravating an already-injured eye that had been bandaged up before he came out to the ring.  It had the bad guys double-teaming Paco, while a desperate Rob McBride struggled to get past a recalcitrant Tommy Young.  Paco managed to turn the tables and use the foreign object on one of Notorious and make them bleed.  When Tommy Young turned around, he saw only the blood and was confused but let the match continue.  McBride and Paco Loco managed to win and took the belts away from Notorious.  I can’t believe I actually saw a title change hands.  And for a tag match, at that!  Truth be told, I’ve always preferred tag matches to singles competition when it comes to wrestling.  The more wrestlers wrestling at one time, the better.

At long last, dear readers, came the moment I had been waiting for.  It was time for the final match of the evening, Ricky Morton Vs. Jimi Love.  It may seem strange to you, but this is the match I have the most trouble remembering.  If you’ve ever seen one of those movie montages where a “greatest hits” of a boxer or athlete’s career stroll past while the music plays, all you have to do is subtract the music and you have what I saw.  Every lock-up, every armbar, every move that Morton’s ever done, I saw that night.  Okay, not every move.  He didn’t fall off a scaffold.  Everything else did happen though.  Even chants of “ROCK AND ROLL!”, which I participated in, and that time, I didn’t even care whether anybody else was cheering or not.  Most importantly of all, though, he won.  He retained the title, and when I saw him lift that belt above his head, I felt as if I’d won too.  As he started to leave, he gave high-fives to people as he passed.  Even though we were in the second row, he stopped and shook hands with my uncle, my brother, and I, and thanked us again for coming out to see him.

And just like that, the show was over.  We stood and made our way back out of the auditorium.  It was raining, and as I held my autographed photo under my coat and made the journey back to the car, I couldn’t remember the last time I had had so much fun.

Collecting Comics #2 – Not Getting the Whole Story Here

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 30, 2011 by Pex

Last time, I talked about my newfound love of hardcovers.  This time, I’d like to discuss a problem I have, and one I suspect I share with many others.

I want the whole story.  I follow comics to find out what happens to the characters.  Do I enjoy looking at great art? Yes.  Do I enjoy a well-written, self-contained work? Yes.  But I also like a good series, that will let me invest in a character over a longer period of time.  Comics are supposedly ideal for this.  But they aren’t.  At least, not unless you are not only there at the time a book is originally published and also know and buy every book the company publishes every month.  The latter I will leave for another post, but for now, let’s concentrate on the former.

Except for more recent books, there is possibly, depending on the length of the series and the subject matter/cast of the book, a zero percent chance that an entire run of a book will be collected in a series of comprehensive trades, hardcovers, omniboo, or collections.  By “run”, I mean the entire length of a book’s life, from start to finish, also including crossover issues where applicable, first issue to last issue, every issue of the book.

I want to be able to buy every issue of Fantastic Four in collected form.  Not just the Lee/Kirby era, not just the Byrne era, not just the Waid/Weiringo era, not just the Hickman era we currently enjoy.  The whole shebang.  I want every last issue, and I want it in print, on my bookshelf.  I want the same for Avengers, the same for Alpha Flight, the same for Star Trek, the same for everything.  Is this wishful thinking?  Of course, but wouldn’t it be nice if I could have it?  If you could have it?  If, of course, you could afford it?

What I would like to see, and I originally read the idea in a column elsewhere online, I’m not sure where, would be a print-on-demand service for comics.  I would like for each company to offer every book they have, available in any configuration you desire, made to order in softcover or hardcover as you prefer, so you could truly collect whatever you want.  If you want to collect every appearance of Firestar, for example, you could do so.  If you want a comprehensive, chronological Unabridged Wolverine collection, then God help you if you have the time to sort out the continuity clashes and timeline snafus, but you could do that too.  If you prefer to collect by creator, and decide you want every Rob Liefeld book ever, you could do that.  Or Kirby.  Or Byrne.  Or, again, God help you, everything Stan Lee ever wrote, you could do that.

But that’s way in the future.  What I want to see in the present day is much more simple…

Take a book, such as Avengers.  Why can’t there be a comprehensive Avengers collection, containing every issue of every incarnation of the title, in chronological (well, publication chronological order, mostly) order?  Why can’t it be in one format?  Why must there be various Essentials, Premiere Hardcovers, Oversized Hardcovers, Omniboo, Masterworks, and plain old simple trades, all of them swirling in my head, demanding attention, and not a single blasted one of them in any way comprehensive?  Now, you may argue that the Masterworks and/or Essentials are comprehensive.  Bull.  There is no way that Marvel, or DC, if we were discussing Justice League of America or whatever, would ever do that.  The Masterworks generally concentrate on the silver age “legend-building” material of the early years of the title.  The Essentials, while they cover more ground in a cheaper and less colorful (but also nice enough) format, will never reach the “Leather Jacket Avengers” of the ’90s, let alone the modern Bendis material.  There will always be huge swathes of a book’s history that will remain un-reprinted.  And that is a shame.  Because, like Paul Harvey, I want “the rest of the story”.  I want the whole she-bang.  I want it on my shelf, in a uniform format that is generally pleasant to look at.

And I want it for all titles, the ones I love and the ones I don’t like or care for.  I even want it for titles I’ve never heard of before.  Because the fans of those books deserve to have them, to treasure for years after their less sturdy floppies fall apart.

Oh, and I want it now.  Naturally.

Collecting Comics #1 – Hard Vs. Soft

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 12, 2011 by Pex

As someone who recently stopped purchasing monthly comic books and finally made the move to “waiting for the trade” (or even longer, in most cases, since I need to get a job before I can start collecting properly in any way, shape, or form), I thought I’d take a moment and discuss my thoughts on collecting comics.  Not the act of buying and keeping issues as they come out or scouring back issue bins for a good read.  Collecting comics, into collections.  Trades and hardcovers, that sort of thing.

In general, I like trades.  They’re lightweight, pretty enough for what they do, which is collect and bind a series of issues into a nice little inexpensive package for later perusal.  A great way to keep up with a book without having to follow it regularly.  But comics companies, like all entertainment providers, are in the business of making money.  And to do so, they upped the game.

I don’t know how or why hardcovers became a trend in the industry, but now it’s almost customary on the big sellers to be released first as a hardcover, and then a trade paperback version follows several months later.  It’s kind of contrary to those who want a good, reasonably recent chunk of books in an inexpensive package, because the company can charge more for a hardcover.  By making the customer wait a indeterminate amount of time for a trade version, they can sort of “trick” you into buying a hardcover because if you want to keep up with “current” events, you have to buy what’s available, unless you want to buy the monthlies.

My main gripe with hardcovers, however, isn’t really the price.  It’s the dustjackets.  They’re so pretty and dapper and look great on the shelf.  But, hardcovers suggest permanence, of having a book forever, in a way that mere trades do not.  Having a hardcover feels like having a proper book with a secret inside.  You open it up, and there are comics in there!  My eight-year-old self just squealed with joy.  But the dustjackets, which are oh-so-pretty, can and do tear.  And what we are left with underneath is a dull old single-color hardbound surface, the polar opposite of what comics have always meant to me.  Basically, I just wish that comics had the colorful dustjackets as the actual covers, printed onto the hardbound surface that they hide with those silly dustjackets.  So yeah, pretty when I buy them, and although I do take care of my books, accidents can and do happen, and I’m left with a shattered illusion of forever in a ugly hardbound shell that’s nowhere near as exciting as what I signed on for.

So, I find it odd that, finances and pet peeves about dustjackets aside, I find myself drawn more and more to that illusion of permanence.  In the “good old days”, the only hardcovers I bought were Sandman, and I never got all of those in hardcover, unfortunately.  They were something beyond the spandex which I loved, but it felt like more to me, and I wanted to have a permanent copy of them.  The only other time I would consider a hardcover was if it wasn’t coming out in any other format.

That changed when the owner of my local comic shop, who had seen how I’d been getting into the Avengers recently, put a copy of the Marvel Premiere Edition Hardcover of Avengers: Under Siege in my hands and told me he had saved me a copy.  Now, truth be told, I had somewhat of a dilemma.  I mentioned earlier about how I don’t really like hardcovers.  Add to that I was low on extra cash that month (the shop is a town or two away so I only went once per month), and the fact that I had planned on picking up something entirely different that day, and I didn’t want to buy it right then for those reasons.  But two things made me do it anyway: one, someone took the time out of their day to consider what I might enjoy reading, and two, I trust the guy.  So I took it home and read it.  And promptly became addicted to hardcovers.

I felt like such a traitor to myself for changing my mind.  But the illusion of permanence in a temporary world can be a very powerful thing.  I now wish I had everything in hardcovers.  I asked for hardcovers for my birthday (which is coming up soon).  I want them and want them bad.  I now hate my Green Lantern trades even more because I want the pretty hardcovers instead, but vowed never to switch to hardcovers for those out of principle.  I still love my trades, but I wish they were hardcovers instead.  With no dustjackets, mind you, just the cover image on the hardback front of the book.

For my next installment in this series, I plan to discuss my pet peeves when it comes to the actual contents of these collected editions of comics, but for now, I just wanted to confess my newfound love for hardcovers and beg for any spare ones any of you might happen to have lying around that you don’t want anymore because I’d give them a good home.

Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to start posting my feelings on comics in general for a while now, but a contest and the potential of free swag is too good to allow me to put it off any longer.  Eternal Lizdom is offering up a free copy of Return of the Dapper Men signed by the creators, Jim McCann and Janet Lee, as a prize.  For more info, please visit:

http://eternallizdom.blogspot.com/2011/01/are-you-dapper.html

And to answer the question in your post title, Lizdom, no.  No, I’m not dapper in the slightest.  But I would like to be.  If only I had a book on the subject…