The Looney Bin: ďLive FromÖĒ
By Zach S.
Hello everyone, Iím outside ďThe Danger Room Comic ShopĒ in downtown Orlando, Florida. Why, you ask, is the Looney Bin live from the dick shaped state? Because Iím dedicated to bringing you the word from the street. Also, Iím being paid a good lot of cheddar to be here. Anyway, Iím about to go inside the comic shop and talk to some die hard fans.
Comic shops donít get bigger than this. ďThe Danger RoomĒ is renowned for its large selection of comics and games. Which means, this place is just a little more than freaky. Towards the back of the store there are several tables devoted to table top and card games. Sure itís only the afternoon, but there are already plenty of people playing their games. Iím sure weíll find a way to blame that on the GOP. The new comics have just arrived for the line of fans who have been here all morning. Seriously, this is really whack. I donít know if Iím truly prepared for this, but Iím about to talk with the fans here today. Weíll find out what real people enjoy, and maybe the whereabouts of their lives.
Iím standing near the new comic wall with Brian. Brian tells me heís a college student with a life-long love affair with comics. Heís an English major, so we know where heís heading. So, letís jump right into the questions America and the world want to ask:
TLB: Brian, what draws you to the comics medium?
Brian: Well, being as how Iím a 90s child, Iíd have to say the art.
TLB: Fascinating. Tell me, what kind of comics do you find yourself reading the most?
Brian: Dude, thatís so easy. Superhero comics. Thatís what itís all about.
TLB: So Iíve heard. What is it about Superhero comics that you find so interesting?
Brian: I dig it all, knawmean? The action, the thrills, the chicks. Itís all good.
TLB: That brings me to my next question, do you have a girlfriend?
Brian: Whud up with that?
TLB: Just a simple question. Iím pretty sure we all know the answer anyway, just thought Iíd ask.
Brian: Alright, no, I donít have a girlfriend. That donít mean nothing though.
TLB: Itís okay, Iím sure itís not you.
Brian: Damn right.
TLB: Well, thank you for your time, Brian. I hope you enjoy your comics, and good luck with your English degree.
Brian: No doubt.
Moving on I see a man, who looks to be in his thirties , also perusing the new comics wall. Letís find out what draws this seemingly normal man to the comic shop.
TLB: Hello sir, my name is Zack and I am a columnist with the Silver Bullet Comic Books web site. Iíd like to ask you a few questions if you have the time.
Sir: Sure, Iím not too busy.
TLB: First off, what is your name?
TLB: Alright, Kevin, what draws you to comic books?
Kevin: Well, I donít really know. I just started collecting them as a kid, and havenít looked back.
TLB: Do you enjoy reading comics?
Kevin: Yeah, I enjoy readiní Ďem. I mean, some of the comics are pretty good.
TLB: Iím interested to know, which comics does a middle-aged man enjoy to read?
Kevin: I mostly enjoy reading Ultimate Spider-Man and New X-Men.
TLB: Oh, Iím sorry. So, you enjoy Marvel titles then?
Kevin: Uh, why are you sorry?
TLB: Nothing sir, donít worry about it. Do you read any comics other than the two you mentioned?
Kevin: Yeah, but I donít read any others as regularly.
TLB: You seem to have a lot more than two comics in your hands right now though. Is this a week when you read more comics than usual?
Kevin: No, I usually buy a good amount of comics. Whatís it to you anyway?
TLB: Nothing, Iím just asking questions. Iím not trying to start a confrontation. Do you read most of the comics you buy, or are they just out of habit?
Kevin: No, not really. Iíll flip through them, but I donít really read Ďem all.
TLB: You donít feel as though this is a waste of your money?
Kevin: No, I see it as an investment. They should be able to get me first, last and security on an apartment soon.
TLB: So, if you donít mind me asking, do you live by yourself?
Kevin: Um, no, not quite yet. I, uh, I live with my, uh, my mother right now. Itís only, itís only temporary though.
TLB: Okay, well thanks for your time. Iím going to go over here now.
So far, Iíve met some strange people, but thatís what comics are all about. Or at least, thatís what Iím told. Hold on. A young couple has just entered the store. Iím going to attempt to ask them why they would come to a comic shop together.
TLB: Hello. My name is Zack and I write a column for SBC called The Looney Bin. If itís okay, Iíd like to ask you both some questions.
Guy: Sure, but I canít say Iím a fan of your column.
Girl: Yeah, your column is kinda lame.
TLB: Anyway! What are your names?
TLB: So, Iím guessing you two are a couple. Do you both enjoy comics, or is he just dragging you in here to show off?
Mary: I enjoy comics, he might be showing me off, but thatís okay.
Josh: Iím not showing her off, we come to the comic shop because we both like comics.
TLB: Do you both enjoy the same comics, or do you two fight over which one is better?
Josh: We donít always read the same comics, but we donít fight over them either. Itís very peaceful.
Mary: Yeah, Iím not really into all the superhero stuff, itís sort of stuck.
TLB: How do you mean?
Mary: Every superhero comic is the same: big guy dresses up in a stupid outfit and fights even stupider villains. Plus, the women are just plain retarded looking.
Josh: I donít agree that all superhero comics are the same, but I do find the disrespect towards women and minorities very off putting.
TLB: Well, arenít you two just the Michael Moore of comics.
Josh: There needs to be some voice of reason in the comic fan base.
TLB: Have either of you thought about writing a column for SBC or any other comic site?
Josh: People arenít willing to listen.
Mary: The people in comics who try to invoke some sort of change, are always the ones stuck with the lousy slot for their columns.
Josh: Yeah, like some kind of lame anthology column or something. Listen, weíve got to get our comics and get out of here.
Mary: Weíve got to get to that PETCO protest.
I swear they just strolled off into the sunset. That was just freaky. Hereís an update on one of the RPGs going on, someone was killed by an elf or something. I donít know, itís all very confusing. Iím going to have to move away from this table now, itís starting to smell funny over here. Iím walking towards the action figure area to seeÖoh my god thereís a black guy in the store! This is amazing. Iím going to try to interview him.
TLB: Hello sir, Iím with silverbulletcomicbooks.com and Iím conducting interviews with local comic fans. Is it okay if I ask you a few questions?
Guy: Sure, I donít see the harm in that.
TLB: First, what is your name and how did you get into comics?
Guy: My name is Huey, and I started reading comics when I was a kid. I read my big brotherís.
TLB: Iím just going to come out and ask it. Whatís it like being a minority comic fan?
Huey: Itís alright. I find that a lot of white comic fans want to hang with me. They think itíll make them cooler or something.
TLB: If there is something out there that can make the average comic fan cool, Iíve yet to see it. Do you find the lack of mainstream black characters disconcerting?
Huey: Sure, thereís not many people who donít find it disconcerting. Diversity is a great thing. Bringing in people of color to anything adds substance.
TLB: You must be a fan of the Omega 7 company and Alonzo Washington.
Huey: Iím all for bringing black and brown characters into comics, but some people need to learn when to zip it and stop self-promoting.
Huey: Well, we all canít be Al Sharpton now can we?
TLB: I guess not. Huey, thank you so much for your time. Itís been great talking with an intelligent comic fan.
Huey: Hey, no problem.
TLB: Would you like to give any shout outs?
Huey: Do I look like fucking Nelly to you?
TLB: No, no you donít.
Wow, was Huey a breath of fresh air. This place is just full of all types of people. Okay, not really, but there are some interesting folk thrown here and there. I rest my case, two young ďgothĒ girls have just walked into the store. I swear, youíd think they were Victoriaís Secret models. Every guy in the store is staring at them, which means, Iíve got to interview them.
TLB: Hello ladies, Iím Zack S. and I work for silverbulletcomicbooks.com, is it okay if I interview you both for my column?
Girl 1: Like, for sure.
Girl 2: Weíd for real love to answer your questions.
TLB: Okay, letís start off easy. What are your names and what comics do you read?
Girl 1: My name is Jennifer, but all my friends call me Squishy. I totally dig Manga books and GloomCookie.
Girl 2: Iím Brenda, and I love all the totally awesome Anime books and I also loves Lenore.
Jen: Oh my gawd, so do I. Those books are so cute and funny.
TLB: Right, so do you get treated differently being female comic fans?
Brenda: Like, not really. I mean, I notice guys in the comic shop checking us out, but I totally think thatís cute.
Jen: Youíre such a ho.
TLB: I think I better get out of this conversation now. Carry on.
Well, before I go Iím going to interview the owner of this fine shop. His name is Mark, and heís run this business for nearly ten years now.
TLB: So, what made you want to open your own comic shop?
Mark: Itís just something Iíve always dreamt about.
TLB: Did you ever want to create comics or just sell them?
Mark: While I was in college I tried my hand at writing comics, but it didnít work out. So, when I graduated I went ahead and opened my own store.
TLB: Anything to be around comics right?
Mark: Pretty much.
TLB: Would you say your business is doing well, or is it true that most comic shops are losing money to the bookstores?
Mark: Business isnít as good as it was back when I opened up in í94, but Iím doing good. A lot better than the smaller shops.
TLB: So, is running a comic shop like that Comic Book Villains flick?
Mark: It terms of the competition, but Iíve never tried to kill an old lady for her husbandís collection.
TLB: And if you have, you certainly wouldnít tell me.
Mark: Right. I actually think that movie made comic shops look bad. I mean, people already have a bad image of us, but then they make that movie and itís like, ďwhat crazy ass nerds.Ē
TLB: I understand, they can make hookers look good in Pretty Woman, but god forbid they throw you a bone.
Mark: Exactly. We need a comic book shop film with Julia Roberts.
TLB: Itíd probably be Nicole Kidman now, sheís in everything. Who are we kidding, if they did that comic fans would say Hollywood is trying to sugar-coat the comic industry like they do everything else. Weíre never happy.
Mark: You might be right, you might be right.
TLB: Well, thank you for your time and for letting me and SBC into your shop. Itís been a real pleasure.
Mark: Anything for publicity.
This is Zack S. signing out from ďThe Danger Room Comic ShopĒ in Orlando, FL. Iíll be buying my comics now, so stop by and say hello if youíre in the area. If not, Iíll see you next week.
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