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Comics: The Other Art Form

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Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 1:22 pm

Tell someone you're into comic books when you're 12 and they'll smile, thinking it's nice for young ’uns to have a hobby. Tell them the same thing at 40 and they look at you like you're a social disease. 

What these folks fail to recognize or perhaps appreciate is the hard work and creative genius many comic books offer. It's a high degree of blended art forms. 

As my taste in art and the title of this blog suggest, I've never been one to collect the run-of-the mill comic titles. I've always looked for the differently drawn and uniquely written books. 

Superman just isn’t my cup of tea.

In 1988 I picked up a copy of Sandman, No. 1, from DC and Vertigo comics. Written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by Stockton’s own Sam Keith, the title offered unusual artwork accompanied by an equally unusual story: What happens when Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, is accidentally kidnapped? 

It’s not your typical superhero drivel, and it gets the reader to thinking. I still have that comic, as well as others, because of how much I appreciate the crafting of the story.

Many of today's titles also come with ratings, as many have more adult subject matter that would appeal to an older audience (you know, like ticking off the IRS and doing battle with Quizno's over your order).

Years have passed since I collected any comic titles, and I found myself drawn to Downtown Lodi’s The Launchpad comic book store. Co-owner Michael Todd turned me on to some new titles, and proved how passionate collectors can be.

My mind was stumbling along, trying to catch up as Todd explained what has been happening in the Marvel, DC and other comic universes. For instance, did you know Bruce Wayne is dead? But not really. So is The Punisher. But not really.

But it illustrates my point. The passion that readers show for this often overlooked form of art is akin to that shown by more mainstream enthusiasts. 

So enthusiastic about his industry is Todd, that he and co-owner David Phillips regularly hold launch parties at The Launchpad for new titles. Today's party featured Marvel's latest endeavor "Uncanny X-Force," which stars everybody's favorite bad boy, Wolverine, heading up an elite crew of mutants to combat evil.

It may sound silly, but I was a little excited about checking out this title. I felt a little like a kid again. My Geekery was no doubt very evident.

There is no end to the places I can visit in Lodi when I want to study the finer arts, but when it comes to feeding my edgier art leanings, a trip to the comic store — even at 40 — saves the day.