This week is the CMJ Music Marathon, meaning hundreds of rock shows all over New York that need to be seen and written about and hyped and/or dismissed as overhyped. So I've been out late more or less doing these things, cramming comics in when I can. I didn't even get to the store until today, so I had them all in my bag, grabbing a few pages here and there.
Tonight I saw an amazing earlyish set by the Extra Lens, a collaboration between John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats and Franklin Bruno of the Human Hearts, and I highly recommend you do this thing should it come up in your general vicinity. Anyway, I have a brief bus ride from the subway to my house, so I plunked down in the virtually empty bus and pulled out this week's Hulk #26 by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman. I'm pretty behind on the whole Hulk thing right now, but I'm taking third chair on iFanboy tomorrow night, and it will be discussed, plus I feel like I should get off my ass in re: anything those guys are putting out.
A stop after the one I get on, three dudes got on, probably early to mid-20s. They took a few steps in and then kind of froze in a line, like they'd accidentally walked in on a knifing. Then without warning, they were sitting two in the seats behind me, one in the seat in front of me. Dude behind me clears his throat and is all "Excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you, but what exactly are you reading?" I flipped the cover closed, and they all looked at each other like I'd shown them a baby dinosaur in my purse. "Oh WOW," says the talker. "I was just wondering because, see, I very rarely see any women reading graphic novels or anything of that nature."
So first of all: I'm reading Hulk #26. You don't need to pull out the "graphic novel" talk, you and I both know I'm reading a comic book.
Second, and I feel this is important: You really jumped the gun in immediately launching into a loud, practiced discussion amongst yourselves about your respective statuses in World of Warcraft. I realize that maybe a grown woman reading that week's Hulk book on her commute is sort of unusual, but it really didn't constitute a challenge to the order of the universe. I don't know the first thing about WoW and/or its classes of dragon, and while I could flatter myself that you assumed this alternate topic was something we could share, I'm inclined to think it was something else. Maybe if you'd asked me what else I'd read this week, or who some of my favorite writers are, or something like that, we could have been friends for that five minute bus ride. As it is, looking over my shoulder and whispering "Iron Man" didn't really seal any bonds.
I know you were in shock, and I apologize for forcing you to improvise under stress. But hopefully this experience will prepare you for future double rainbows, or urban tornadoes, or girls reading comic books in public.