[This is the second installment on my blog posts about why I buy print comics weekly. You can read the first one here. I wrote this post a week ago, but never managed to save it. It was pretty eloquent and heartfelt too, so sorry if the version you’re reading doesn’t seem to have the urgency generated by quick consumption of chai lattes.]
Being raised Catholic, you learn quite a few things very early on, things like touching yourself is BAD, touching other people before marriage is BAD, and feeling guilty for failure to prevent any calamity, regardless of scale or your agency in the situation, is quite natural and a well-deserved feeling. Even after mostly putting the Catholic thing behind me, I’m still prone to intense bouts of guilt, and if I’m honest it’s commonly a major motivating force behind the majority of actions I do on any given day. Like nonsensical spider powers, or the ability to become a dotted line version of yourself though, I decided to put this energy towards good use when possible, such as caring for others even when they’re being immense assholes or telling the truth in situations where the other person isn’t likely to find out by other means.
It’s this same guilt that also results in my inability to occupy coffee shops without purchasing at least one item every other hour. And it’s for that reason I haven’t been to Interzone, my favorite Corvallis coffee shop in over a week as I wait in the limbo between paychecks. In the past whenever I’ve tried to simply hang around while waiting to meet a friend or burning time between classes, my brain would start screaming,
“THIS PLACE WILL SHUT DOWN BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE YOU COME HERE, USE THEIR WIFI TO READ MOVIE REVIEWS OF MOVIES YOU’LL LIKELY NOT SEE, AND STICK AROUND FOR SEVERAL COFFEELESS HOURS.”
(André’s Brain, every damn day)
Similarly, the dread of potential guilt is part of what gets me into Matt’s every Wednesday (the day comics are released) as it allows me to merrily ride by the shop on the way to the grocery store or one of those coffee shops where I cannot not purchase something, and feel like a contributing member of my little Corvallis comic community. Not doing so however has caused me to sit, and obsess over my failure as a comic reader and a supporter of local comic book shops as the Valkyries encourage folks to do (I’m doing it Valkyries!).
I know this guilt sounds like an absurd reason to make weekly comic purchases, but the benefit is that allows me to experience the unique feeling one gets from consistently visiting a business and having the people there recognize you as one of the regulars like the people who visit Moe’s or Luke’s Diner. This is especially true at Matt’s because it seemed to take at least a year for the folks there to remember my name, and stop putting another dude’s comics in my box. Yes, I am well-aware that the ten bucks I spend at the comic book shop on each week is a paltry sum, but like that woman in the New Testament story who gives up a few cents and gets lauded by Jesus for giving so much, this shit is relative and I’m financially assisting to the degree I currently can.
Ten dollars feels like a lot to me at the moment to spend on a luxury good, but I highly
doubt the folks at Matt’s sit around on Wednesdays telling themselves, “If André doesn’t come by today with that ten bucks, we are fucked!” Given that most customers there on my weekly visits seem most interested in purchasing trading cards, or cute geek-friendly knick knacks I’m not even sure how much of their bottom line relies on comic purchases. Plus, from what I’ve seen on the Instagram hashtag newcomicbookday, there are readers out there buying five to ten books easy, making my efforts to save books like She-Hulk and The Omega Men from cancellation feel like a pretty silly idea.
Ultimately, I know the guilt thing only catalyzes a habit that would exists anyway and largely only benefits me. I’m the one who gets to come home with the comics, and it’s me who gets to have the feeling of excitement from knowing I’m about to tap into the next installment of a comic I’m into. There’s also the bonus privilege that comes from buying books that are later cancelled since I’m then able to complain about others who didn’t support the comic without feeling hypocritical. Like so many other aspects of my life, I know I could do with discarding the guilt associated with comics, an interest I love. For now though, the guilt helps get me to that shop each week, laying down torn dollar bills and coins for another fix.
Next Week: Final Installment of this riveting piece of journalistic intrigue.