In the minds of the non-geek, there is a definite correlation between involvement in a certain type of fandom (Doctor Who, for instance) and fandom in other areas (manga
, for another example).
But no matter what the geeky niche you inhabit, all of the not-we assume that if you are involved, at however large a remove, in one type of geek fandom, you will definitely like at least one, very specific, other.
I write, of course, of comics.
"You like Doctor Who? So what's the deal with 'Batman Begins' then? How can they retcon it into Golden Age Batman
?" [possibly not entirely perfectly remembered transcript of a question I was asked at a party last year].
"I have no f******g idea" [word perfect transcript of my slightly drunken answer].
The fact I work in IT apparently makes it all the worse that I know sod all about comics (and recent Graham Linehan
disappointment The IT Crowd
didn't help with the main character being unwilling to do any work because he was reading not a novel, but a comic).
But I really don't. The only vague flirtation I have ever had with comics was when I was about seven, on holiday in Mallaig
, and we went into a rather strange seaside tat shop which, right at the back, had one of those whirly gig affairs, stacked with comics from 1973 (this would have been 1976). I got my dad to buy me a copy of each
comic they had and read them now and again over the years, before giving them away to IIRC Craig Hinton
, who collects such things. I mean, they were alright and passed a few minutes each when I was stuck in the frozen wilds of western Scotland, but it's not like they were books
or anything important.
The I got a copy of the Alan Moore
graphic novel, From Hell
, a few months ago and finally got round to reading it last month.
And in a word it's astonishing.
Whereas my pile of early 70s Marvel comics had featured unsubtle and heavy-handed misogyny and racism in the storylines (Swamp Thing
being big on the former as I recall and Dr Doom
's army to the fore on the latter), From Hell is at times as delicately nuanced as a Jane Austen novel
Where the seventies superheroes were pretty badly drawn and garishly coloured, the Alan Moore book was filled with beautiful pencil drawings.
Most vitally, where my collection of tatty comics were clearly written for thirteen year old boys with no girlfriend, From Hell treats its audience as adults (there's a prince with an erection within a dozen pages, which never happened in Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts
). It evens ends with a long appendix section, which does more to discuss various Ripper theories than several full-length academic works I've read.
It really is a wonderful book.
And so it is that I've ordered a pile more graphic novels today, by Moore and a couple of others I've had recommended.
I'm worried I'm turning into an uber-geek, but so long as I never buy a copy of Akira
, I should be alright...