7.19.2008

Fanboys? Right...

What do you do when there's a tropical storm at the beach where you're staying the weekend for a a wedding? Why, go see The Dark Knight, of course. And that's what we did yesterday, and it was as amazing as everyone's making it out to be. Go see it.

But this post is not about The Dark Knight. It is about what happened immediately after The Dark Knight.

We walked out and saw, in the lobby of the theater, tables set up by the local comic book shop, Fanboy Comics. They had toys and collectibles and comics and graphic novels all related to The Dark Knight. They had a man in a Flash costume walking around the lobby (for the record, his boots were yellow rubber galoshes... It really capped off the outfit). The main proprietor was wearing a Superman shirt, was about 5' 2", had glasses and a bit of a potbelly... Basically, he was every characture you've ever seen regarding comic book fans and store owners.

I walked up to the table with a smile on my face. "Wow, this is brilliant!" I told him. And I really felt it was - it was the first time I'd seen a comic shop take the reigns and use the power of public interest in a comic property to promote further learning of the material. I loved it.

He looked at me for a few seconds. "Thanks," he said pensively.

I knew right then what was going through his head, because I've seen it a thousand times, at every comic convention and store and other gathering I've been too - a gigantic 6' 3" jockish dude comes up to a small comic book / sci-fi fan and starts talking the talk.

"I really like that you're promoting your store with the movie," I said. "The more fans, the better the industry!"

He just looked at me strangely.

Mike pulled me aside and said "You think he thinks you're making fun of him?"

"Probably," I replied. So I took a few of the Free Comic Book Day comics they had laying out, and tried to make sure he knew that I wasn't trying to be a facetious dick. "What did you think of the movie?" I asked him.

"I liked it," he said with a note of snobbery.

"Yeah, I really like Bale's interpretation of the Miller Batman persona," I replied. "He plays the grittier Batman well."

"Sure, yeah," he answered.

"What'd you think of the locals dressing like Batman, like they did in Dark Knight Returns?"

"It was kinda cool," he replied. He was loosening up. "I like the tribute."

"Yeah, same with the Batmobile," I said. "It looks just like the one with the sonic blasters that took down Superman."

We chatted for a minute, and he gave me permission to open the bagged hardcover of The 100 Greatest Batman Covers book laying on the table. He watched as I carefully puled the tape from the lip-side of the bag, the way a real fanboy would. He noted that I didn't break the spine and lightly flipped the pages, the way a real fanboy would. When I placed the book back into the bag and sealed it the way a practiced collector should, his shield dropped.

"You collect?" He asked.

"Used to," I replied. "Had to liquidate when the dot-com crash happened."

"Bummer," he said. And we talked a bit more about what we both collected and were fans of. I brought up Akira.

"Akira?" he asked, as if to ask "You liked Akira best?"

"Yeah," I replied with a smile, and showed him my tattoo.

He stared at it blankly. "Like... The movie Akira?" he asked, confused.

"Yeah," I replied, "But also the comic." I told him about how it was one of two titles I kept the originals of, because I couldn't part with them - it took YEARS to seek out each and every Young Magazine issue, and I couldn't bear to let them go.

"Huh," he said.

"You ever read it?" I asked.

"No," he said. "Didn't even know about it."

I blinked; stunned.

I blinked again, even more stunned than I was when I blinked the first time.

With my mouth hanging open, I attempted to ask, "Really?"

"No," he said.

Heh... Fanboy indeed.

I'm headed to the shop itself today, before the wedding. I want to check the place out... See if it actually lives up to the name. But more than that, I want SOMETHING to do for the next 5 hours while this tropical storm annihilates the coast and makes being at the beach somewhat useless.

** Update 4:30 PM **

Store is staffed by jerks. Fine selection, but the staff - of which there were 4 - were completely uninterested in helping any of us. When engaged, they gave short, one word answers (unless the answer absolutely required more than one word, at which point they went out of their way to make sure to use as few words as absolutely necessary to answer the question).

Bonus - all 4 of them looked like Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. And that's not a compliment.