Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Failure of the Day: Comic Books

I've thought a lot about comic books over the years due to various people. They seem to follow me throughout my life, and it's odd because I don't so much read the things, but every time I turn around, they're there.

By all rights, I should have grown up a comic reader; I had all the tell-tell indicators. When I was little, I loved Japanese horror movies, especially Gamera, and I read a lot of science fiction. I joined the Star Trek fan club when I was 4. I was a round little girl with bad hair and glasses. How did I miss comics? But it's not even that I missed them—I knew about them, but I just wasn't interested.

In 1988, my friend Bob loaned me his 12 issues of The Watchmen, which I read and really liked. But I didn't develop an interest in reading more comics. In 1989, I was hanging out with my then best friend and her famous underground cartoonist dad at book parties for his latest release and being totally oblivious to meeting all sorts of other famous cartoonist types. In 1992-3, I was spending a fair amount of time in Comic Relief on Haight Street, and I started reading Peepshow, which I also liked quite a bit, and I was completely hot for Joe Matt. (God, he was attractive.)

And now I'm married to a bona fide fanboy and I practically live on the sidewalk outside the comic book store on 19th and Geary, where I stand smoking my delicious cigarettes and waiting for Chris to come out with his weekly 50 pound bag.

Later this month, we're going to San Diego for the big comic book convention, during which Chris will be in hog heaven and I will see about getting Hugh Jackman to make me His Woman. (My prenup only covers John Cusack, but that's only because I didn't yet know that Hugh cleans up so nice. But I think I've got a case in arguing the spirit of the agreement if not the letter. Right, Honey?) But I digress.

The point is, I wish I liked comic books more, but I don't, and not from lack of trying or opportunity. And it's weird because I do feel like I'm missing out on something but I can't help it. I like words more than pictures. The drawings annoy me because they make me stop reading. I consider comics a form of conceptual art; better in theory than in practice.

Despite all this, I think San Diego will be a hoot in the same way that marrying a Latvian and then after hearing about Latvia for years and years, finally getting to go there would be. It's Chris's homeland, full of rich local traditions and traditional costume. And who knows? Maybe I'll have an epiphany and discover that I love comic books after all.


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