Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dear Charlie:

I might be a seriously lucky person.

See, I had one of those sitcom kind of days yesterday. One of those days where a bunch of seemingly random events just kinda throw themselves at you, but by the end of the day, everything's stitched up nicely. I sort of blame my beloved sister for it, too.

See, a couple of weeks ago, she made a passing reference to one of our favorite movies from our youth, The Man from Snowy River. I don't think she meant to. She was talking about an on-line friend's pet or something, which was named Glory Be. Of course, that immediately triggered the "Glory be! Willya lookit that!" from the big "hero comes home" moment in the movie.

Keep in mind that it's probably been twenty years since I watched it. My mind is... weirdly selective with what it chooses to keep.

At any rate, that's been percolating ever since, and I really wanted to watch the flick. I hadn't seen it for half of forever and wanted to see if it still held up. I remember it fondly -- the music is spectacular, the scenery is glorious, and that riding-damn-near-vertically-down-a-mountain scene is absolutely nuts -- but sometimes you revisit movies from your youth and think, "Hm. Probably should've just kept on remembering fondly."

Finally, when my paycheck hit yesterday, I told myself I'd hit Vintage Stock and see if they had a copy. They sell used flicks and have a pretty good variety between the two stores in town. Surely one or the other had it. In fact, I'd just call and see, rather than stopping at one or the other in case I picked the wrong one (which I totally would because I'm not lucky in 50/50 scenarios).

So I called the one closest to work in hopes of being able to just stop by on the way home, rather than having to go all the way across town. The guy on the phone looked it up in the computer and said that inventory said they had a copy, but if I didn't mind holding, he'd go look just to make sure. I didn't mind. Unfortunately, when he came back, he said that it wasn't on the shelf. It might be in one of the "four for $20" bins, but they aren't in any kind of order. I told him that was fine; I'd just call the other store. No way did I expect him to even glance through that kind of hodgepodge.

So I called the other store, who said they didn't have any in, but the computer said the other store did. Ha! I know, right? I laughed and explained the situation, and they laughed and apologized and offered to order it for me if I wanted. I figured I'd probably get it quicker if I ordered off Amazon (and might get it cheaper, even with shipping), so I declined.

Ugh. Goodbye instant gratification. I had my heart set on watching it when I got home, but it didn't look like that would happen.


Yeah. On the off chance that it WAS in the bargain bins, I stopped by the first store on my way home. I figured I'd flip through quickly and see if I caught it. Also, I'd have bet dollars to pesos that the guy only checked the M section of shelves, and it was quite possible that it was filed under S.  I hadn't seen the cover in a while, but I was pretty sure "The Man from" was relatively small while "SNOWY RIVER" was huge.

I walked in and immediately set to the bins. They're not like the $5 bins at Wal-mart where everything's just thrown in. These were at least side-by-side, but very few were labelled across the top, so I pretty much had to flip through each one. I went through the four or five bins across the top, but I was in a skirt, so I didn't think it a good idea to get down on the floor and look through the two or three below. Instead, I went to the M shelves and looked through every single one, just in case. No dice.

So I headed further down the aisle, looking for the S's. Just before I got there, the little guy (early twenties, maybe) from behind the counter finished up with a customer and came around to ask if I needed any help. I gave him the highlights from earlier in the day and shrugged. No big deal if I couldn't find it.

He was a good kid. He fully understood the "instant gratification" urge and offered to dig through the lower bins. I demurred and explained that I'd just check the Ss and be done with it, but he was all determined. Just as he crouched down, I got to the right section and there it was. Bam. Instant gratification!

So I go to the counter to pay, and while I was there, I asked if he happened to know off the top of his head if they had the new Galactus comic, Cataclysm. I mentioned it a while back on my Twitter feed, but I hadn't actively gone looking for it. I like Galactus well enough -- dude eats planets! -- but I wasn't heartset on it.

The kid said he didn't know for sure, but he really didn't "do" comics, so I could feel free to go look. I laughed and said if I hit the comics section, I'd spend my whole paycheck. Then, out of nowhere, he said he'd always kinda wanted to get into comics. He just didn't know where to start.

It occurred to me later that he sounded a bit hesitant. I wish I'd noticed at the time.

Anyway, I grinned and told him that if he was just looking for entertainment, he couldn't go wrong with Deadpool. He didn't know much about that, so I next suggested the Hellboy comics (or anything by Mike Mignola) because they have pretty good writing. He said he'd always kind of heard that they weren't the best written, then admitted that he might have gotten that idea from watching the movies. Heh, I had to disagree with him there because I loved the movies, but I did admit that they had more of Guillermo del Toro's fantasy genius than Mignola's epic scale.

Then I told him not to even get me started because I'd be there all night. He laughed and wanted to keep talking, but he did have other customers and I didn't want to be a pest, so I thanked him kindly for his willingness to help (and to chat about comics, which is always fun) and left.

When I got home, I popped in my new DVD and, as I usually do, headed to, where I stumbled across this article. That article is about fan communities that apparently hate their fans, and one of those communities is apparently comics fans.

Do what now?

Because yeah, I have never had a bad comics conversation. I'm not the most studied comics fan. We didn't have a lot of opportunity to get them when I was a kid, so it was really college before I started reading and gaining a good knowledge foundation about comics in general, and I really only started collecting a few years back. I worked at a Domino's up from an epic little comics shop for a while, and even though I just kinda wandered around like a kid in a candy store most of the time, not sure what I wanted other than that I wanted everything, no one ever snubbed me. No one ever accused me of not being a "real" comics fan. The guys that worked there treated me like any other comics fan, chatting and answering questions and making suggestions and having a good old time.

I mean, c'mon. We're all surrounded by one of the things we love most in the world. Why be snooty about it?

And any time I've stumbled into a comics conversation just out and about, I've been welcomed in with open arms. As I said when I started this post, I guess I've just been incredibly lucky in the comics fans I've bumped into, because I love bumping into comics fans. Always have a good time, there.

And then I remembered that little bit of hesitation from the kid at Vintage Stock. I mean, they sell comics there, and those stores are part of a pretty small set of brick-and-mortar places in this area where you can actually go in and buy comics, so I guess it's pretty generally accepted that the people behind the counter know comics. I even assumed as much myself when I asked if he knew some random comic off the top of his head.

It occurred to me that perhaps he'd mentioned wanting to "get into" comics to someone else and been snarked at for it. Poor kid. If so, it's really no wonder he wanted to keep talking to someone who was excited to talk about it and make suggestions. I kinda wish, even now, that I'd asked what he was interested in and made more personalized suggestions rather than just saying the first things that popped into my mind (which were, of course, the ones I like).

But it all started because of a wild goose chase for a thirty-year-old movie brought to mind by a passing reference to a farm animal's unusual and catchy name.

Total sitcom day.

Oh, and the movie? Totally held up. Watching it was like coming home. Love it.