A Love Reborn

Those of you that follow my activities with stalker-like verve (all of you, right?) will know that I recently took on a part-time job at a Friendly Local Comic Shop (rhymes with lizard, uh, blomics).  They needed a till-monkey and I am a damn dirty till-APE, so it was a match made in dork heaven.  It gives me an opportunity to walk among my people, and slows my inevitable slide into Gollum-hood.

What I wasn’t quite expecting was how much it would reinvigorate my love of comics.  I’ve enjoyed comics since I was a kid, of course, though my ardour for collecting them was checked when my family’s house burned down.  The fire destroyed a great many things, but of course the tragedy to me at age eight was the loss of my comics.  I loved those books, not just because they were cool and fun to read, but because reading them brought back memories of family vacations and lazy summers.

So while I’ve kept reading comics on a semi-regular basis, they haven’t been a passion.  But two things have changed that.  The first, of course, is just working at the comic shop and my increased exposure to comic readers.  It is the nature of the shop that people will come in with questions about comics.  And since it is in my nature to provide answers, I have begun reading and studying comics more in the last few months than I had in probably the last year.  I’m not pushing things too hard with regards the studying; I don’t want this to feel like a job after all.  But I am paying attention to artist and writer names these days, which is something that never interested me before (all my comic loving friends just burst into tears).

The second thing that brought about my renewed passion for comics is my boss, Brandon (you may know him as @soupytoasterson on the Twitters).  Brandon so obviously loves everything about comics it is hard not to get a contact high.  More than that, he loves selling people comics; I’ve seen him get giddy because he managed to find a good fit between comic/reader, or turned a non-reader into a reader.  His love of turning people onto comics equals my love of turning people onto gaming, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t watch him to glean any tips or secret methods.  The thing is, there really isn’t any secret: enthusiasm is contagious and Brandon is Patient X.  We’ve really only known each other a few months, but if Brandon suggests a comic to me, I will read it.  And I will likely keep reading it.

So there it is, thanks to Brandon and Wizard’s Comics my passion for sequential art stories (or as we call them in the biz, comics) has been restored.  I’m now having to work a careful balancing act between picking out the new titles I want to start collecting, and which old titles I want to re-explore.  But even sorting that out is fun, and not for nothing but I have some decent advisers to help.

Also, if you love comics and you want to listen to other people who love comics, I cannot recommend enough the podcasts Scotch and Comics, hosted by my pal Devin (@Doctor_Teeth); and Podcast! The Comics, hosted by the aforementioned Brandon and his hetero-lifepartner James (@Leask).  Both are a lot of fun, both are available through iTunes and you won’t be sorry you gave them a listen.

I’ll post a little later about what comics I’m raving about these days.  In the meantime, why not drop me a line in the comments below and let me know what comics you’re reading?

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Back in the Saddle Again…

Okay, that was a nice little “vacation”.  I promise not to let too many more of those happen, but believe me when I say it was needed.  But I’m back and working on some new Renaissance Dork goodness for the new year.  Let’s get started.

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I have toyed with the idea of recording a podcast for a while.  I took some steps toward doing that back in August, and spent the last 4+ months getting some technical and support aspects in place.  I am pleased to announce that you can expect to hear my mellifluous tones soon; the countdown clock has started on the first podcast release, slated for February 15.  The plan right now is to record a 3-5 show buffer, and release a new episode every two weeks.  Each episode will run 20-30 minutes in length, depending on that episode’s subject or feature; local nerd topics, interviews, reviews, discussions.  I’ll bring in other nerds when I can, so we can speak of dorkiness and give you a bit of a break from my voice.

The blog isn’t going anywhere; to start the podcast will supplement the blog, since one post during release week will be show notes and links.  That still leaves me with plenty to write about, so you’ll still be subjected to my meandering typings here.  But while we’re talking about the blog…

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I am looking for guest posts on Renaissance Dork to fill out my schedule.  If you have some nerdy thing you want to write about and can keep it in the 500-600 word range, drop me a line at brent.jans(at)gmail.com, subject line GUEST POST.  I’ll answer any questions you might have, and then all the fame my tens of readers can provide will be yours!  Don’t be shy; I’m not looking for perfection, enthusiasm for your nerdery goes a long way with me.

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This may still be news to some, but just before Christmas I started working part-time at Wizard’s Comics.  I am having a great time so far, learning the peculiarities of the comic shop biz.  I am on the staff unofficially as the store’s game expert; I keep up on the new boardgames and RPGs and advise the manager on what the store might like to stock (and yes, the store has begun stocking Pathfinder on my suggestion, so come get some).  The job is doing a few things for me: getting me out of the house on a regular basis, supplementing my freelance earnings very nicely, and expanding my education about comics.  That last is thanks in large part to the efforts of Brandon (@soupytoasterson on the Twitters). His enthusiasm for comics is contagious and his knowledge quite formidable, and I have begun learning much as his padawan.

Okay, that’s me up-to-date.  You’ll see regular posts in this space from now on, so keep stopping by for the latest from my nerdy brain.  Until tomorrow…