Apart from being a world-renowned sex symbol, playboy, and mad scientist, I’m also quite the geek. Or nerd. Or founder of The Unfuckables. Whatever. With that title comes a lot of pressure as I am sought after by the masses for a wide variety of nerd topics such as movies, television shows, some music, and yes, even comics. If you have a spare moment, I’d like to discuss briefly the latter in hopes that I can get something off my chest that’s been weighing me down for a while. That is….. I don’t know much about comics. “EGAD!” you say. Well now let me finish! I didn’t say I was completely oblivious to the art of comics, I just know them in a different way than most other nerds, one that doesn’t involve simply being able to spew out dates, issue numbers, ethos, mythos, what have you. Allow me to explain.
Ever since I was a wee boy, probably age two or three, I have been obsessed with Batman. Before I could read, look something up online (hell, at two there was no “online” worth talking about), or even before I actually knew what Batman could do as a superhero, I was running around in my PJs pretending to whoop bad guy ass. Don’t believe me?
I was constantly dressed in my Batman best, ready and always willing to clean up the mean streets of Belding, Michigan. I was that way for the longest time. As far as I was concerned, I WAS Batman and no one could tell me different. It wasn’t until I was about four that I began to fully understand why I liked the superhero before actually knowing who he was. Then it dawned on me: HIS COSTUME! I wanted the cowl and the bladed cuffs and the leather and the…AH! I wanted it all. So much so that I begged my mom to get me the costume for no apparent reason one day. No birthday, no Christmas, no Halloween, just FUCKING BATMAN DAY. She finally had enough of my constant bitching and decided that it needed to be remedied. When she finally made with her end of the deal, I was crushed. She, my own loving mother, paid no attention to my important request that the suit be made of leather and ended up buying a cheap K-Mart knockoff made of cloth and lies. I was quite the disappointed little punk after that little fiasco, let me tell ya; however, even after getting Batfucked by K-Mart, I still had a love for the Bat. When I saw Batman: Forever at the movies in 1995 — my very first theatre experience, mind you — my love was solidified even more. I spent the next few years hoping and praying my parents got whacked in an alleyway so I could fulfill my destiny.
(I’m kidding, guys. Get the pine cone out yer ass.)
Time went on. Leaves changed. Batman and Robin sucked ass. Blah blah blah, Simon & Garfunkel plays over the montage of the next few years, yadda yadda yadda. Alright stop! Now I’m fourteen.
My chub for Batman remained throughout all of those years, but after some time I decided to look up more superheroes online. Ya know, get a little more seasoned. Every night I would get caught up in a web of winding time as I spent hours and hours just sifting through pictures of these comic book badasses. Notice how I said pictures. Yeah, I cared not what the guy did in his suit, I was just in awe at how fucking SWEET some of these guys looked. Ant-Man and his shiny helmet; Gambit and his deck of cards; Mr. Fantastic and the gray streak in his hair; the Green Lantern with his, um, ring thingy. I was in comic book (picture) heaven! I didn’t think it could get any better, until I saw this guy…
The Black Panther, ladies and gentlemen. This guy, as far as I was concerned, was like Batman in the forest, a Batman that didn’t restrict himself to hiding in Gotham’s shadows. Once I saw this bitchin’ jungle warrior, I immediately got the urge to learn more about him. What are his powers? What’s that suit he’s wearing? What’s the origin story? Why is he in the jungle?
Thus was the start of something beautiful.
I began giving a shit about the pictures. I wanted to know how all of these characters within their respective comic universe were connected. Sure I didn’t know who the artist was that drew them or who created the concept of the characters, but I filled my head with their back stories so much that I almost seemed like a textbook comic book nerd. Fitting in with the guys in line waiting for the next issue of Uncanny X-Men probably was a stretch, but I felt validated as a geek. Fast forward to age twenty-one and I still haven’t really read too many comic books, but I sure as hell could fill you in on quite a few characters if you were to ask me about them. Does this piss off a few of the diehard comic book experts? More than likely. But at least I’m sincerely interested in the subject material. I’m not just some asshole who goes onto Wikipedia and memorizes hero after hero after hero. That shit’s ridiculous. I’ve educated myself through other media besides the comics themselves, like articles, blogs, documentaries, college textbooks, encyclopedias, films, etc. What’s so wrong with that?
I am the comic book nerd who’s never read a comic book.
I am the tracer.
Now, one last question: