Saturday, July 15, 2006

Discovering The Video Junkyard

One day in 1979, when I was 14 years old, I walked up to the counter at the Ben Franklin store (commonly called the Five & Dime in my hometown) and plopped down a copy of Aquaman, two Superman titles and an issue of World's Finest. The cashier looked at me with a crooked brow, which caused me to clear my throat and shuffle my feet as I weakly proclaimed:

"My brother sure loves comic books."

The lady--who, in my memory, looks a lot like my junior high school's cafeteria lady, for some odd reason--didn't respond. She slowly began to ring up the total with an I'm-on-to-you look.

"He's just a kid. 8 years old. Picked these up for him so he can use them to help in learning to read," I said, while doing my best Barney Fife nervous shuffle.

Granny Cashier took my money, handed me the change and my comics in a bag, and I rushed the hell out. Embarrassed. Insecure. A known liar and a lover of comic books!

Several years later, after moving away for college, I discovered comic shops. I loved my town's comic shop...The smell of the old boxed issues, the colorful racks with new issues, the mounds of just-delivered comics each Friday morning. But most of all, the people there didn't judge me. They understood me. They accepted me. No longer needing an excuse to buy comics was liberating, and comforting. I found myself wanting to hang out there, to talk to people about story-lines, art and characters. Conversations I couldn't have on the outside.

This YouTube video is of a failed Comedy Central pilot from 2000, and stars Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Sarah Silverman. Super Nerds is about a couple of guys who own a comic shop, and the geeky folks like me who stop in from time to time. It isn't drop dead funny, nor is it a real artistic achievement. But, I sure understand it, and it makes me feel comfortable and safe. More than a failed sitcom, this video seems a lot like real life to me.


jedi jawa said...

I haven't heard "Ben Franklin" used in a sentence like that for such a long time! I recall that we had one of those in my little hometown and everybody shopped there...till it closed when I was in high school. I can also recall trekking with my little sister all over the state to podunk* festivals and parades because she was in one of those little baton twirling troupes (not that I ever recall her being able to actually twirl the baton). All of those little towns had their Ben Franklin right down town though.

My foray into comics came from reading them in our church balcony with our minister's son when we were supposed to be paying attention to the God stuff. I hear what you're saying on that one Film Geek.

*I say "podunk" but those little trips really have contributed to my later appreciation of the beauty and quaint charm of WV and its traditions and people.

The Film Geek said...

Jedi: Yep, the charm (and a little about my nerdiness) is what I was thinking as I wrote this.Such a simpler time. By the way, I once saw your sister trip while walking and chewing gum...a twirler she ain't.

The Film Geek said...
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Off Route 75 said...

I have loved comic books since I was about five years old. I think that's one reason I stopped buying, too. This last comic book I bought (until recently) was the end of the "death and rebirth of Superman" arc. I was in high school, and buying comics wasn't "popular." Now that I'm turning into an old man, I could care less about popular. My best shirts come from Wal-Mart, anyways.

BTW, you mentioned you like Kyle Rayner as GL. The new series he's in is awesome. I recommend it. Check him out. Plus, the new Justice League starts this week. I'm geeked. Oh yeah, and the new Ghost Rider came out last week. Good stuff.

primalscreamx said...

Aw man... I work nights at a cheesy chain bookstore that does not carry a decent selection of monthlies -we get kick ass graphic novels, but Justice League? Haven't seen a fresh copy of that in months. Plenty of Sabrina the teenage witch. Lots of copies of Archie and Sonic the hedgehog. Makes me want to stick my head in an oven.

Off Route 75 said...

Hey Primalscreamx, The new JLA comes out this Wednesday....go to your local hole-in-the-wall and pick it up!

jedi jawa said...

This is starting to sound like dialog from the upcomming sequel to the classic "Clerks" by Kevin Smith (or to dialog from "Chasing Amy"). Is anybody going to go see the new "Clerks" or does it look like a shadow of its former greatness?