Failure to Launch

Yes, you are going to be forced to read a review of the movie…no, just kidding, this is a little story about how and why the comic book club at Penn State never took off. This story takes place many years ago and I may have forgotten a few details/names, but most of the details are pretty accurate.

It all begins when I check my Comic Swap Newsletter to see a note that anyone interested in forming a PSU Comic Club should email a guy named Marty. I email him, and he says that we will be meeting on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. (maybe, no real idea on the time)

I show up not really knowing what to expect. The first meeting had like five people. Marty starts it off by introducing himself, and saying what comics he is reading. The next kid goes on to talk about he only reads indie comics. Marty decides to dig deeper, and asks if he is reading Chris Ware’s stuff, Indie-Kid says “oh yeah, that stuff is really good.” Which, seems pretty obvious he has no idea. So Marty pushes more, and says “well what titles are you reading?” Indie-Kid says “well, some of the stuff by Dreamwave and Devil’s Due.” Does anyone realize what this pretentious prick is talking about? He was reading Transformers and Voltron.

Now, when I think indie comics, those are definitely not the books that pop into my head. Do not get me wrong, I may have a few issues of Voltron, and I followed the Transformers Dreamwave run for at least one or maybe two of those series, which were okay, until I realized that I was just trying to recapture my youth or something like that.

The next kid, his name was Lew, was your standard comic book fanboy. Sweatpants, overweight, greasy hair, bad acne…you get the cliche. He says that he is not really into new comics, except for the X-titles. Which ones you might ask? ALL OF THEM. At this point, there were like 100 X-Men books, Jubilee had a book. He was reading every single one of them, and he would tell you how bad they were…however, that was definitely not the scary part.

He then proceeds to tell us that he really only likes to read early 90s superhero comics, mainly Rob Liefeld.

Another guy, who was actually normal, shows us his sketchbook of some of his art, which was pretty good. He then says that he is involved in way too many activities, so he would not really be available.

So, we leave. On the way downtown Marty and I bullshit about comics and decided to grab a beer. We make fun of everyone else, and talk about ideas for what we could do with the Comic Book Club.

We decide to try again, and the next meeting gets a few more folks. Unfortunately, we lost 90% of those people when Lew and another of his ilk decide to argue about who draws larger breasts, Frank Cho or Terry Dodson. Seriously, there was actually a cute girl at this meeting and she was looking for the emergency exit at this point.

The crappy thing about all this, if we could get proof of membership over (I think 30 people) PSU would have given us money. They give money to the Bigfoot Club, the paranormal club, even the Anime Club. Sadly though, Marty and I could not convince the comic folks that we could do something worthwhile. We thought about self-publishing a comic or something. The others just wanted to argue about who would win in a fight, Wonder Woman or Power Girl…

Is there any real point to all of this? Not really. I mean, we failed on multi-levels. If it were today, and we tried this, we could have just started a group on facebook, sent out messages to everyone with comics as an interest. Who knows what good we could have accomplished, or the comics we could have bought if PSU would have given us $1000…

I guess some good came out of it though, Marty was able to use his work study job at the library to make suggestions on them buying better trades and GNs. At the time they had like two different books, but Marty got them to buy a bunch of quality stuff. That had been one of the ideas I suggested, us getting good comics into the library and maybe even out to elementary schools (try to get readership up in younger readers)…

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