Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Unfinished Business From 2012
Column by Steve Bennett
Published: 01/02/2013 12:18am
Christmas was over and I was fairly certain the epic of Steve Gets A Tablet was over. Then I finally got a chance to go to FedEx to pick up a package I hadn't been home to sign for and found someone had sent me a brand new iPad 2. Apparently they had read the column where I reported my Nexus 7 had been stolen (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Go Ahead and Laugh, I'm A Funny Guy") and decided to send me one. To say I was totally gobsmacked is an understatement; this might not be the single nicest thing anyone has ever done for me, but it comes real close. I am grateful, humbled and appreciative.
I had reported that before buying my first misbegotten tablet various big box store employees had informed me that at this point all computer tablets were "pretty much the same." This is flatly untrue because the iPad 2 is heads and shoulder above every other device I tried; incredibly fast and sleek, it's a wonderfully versatile device that's absolutely perfect for reading digital comics. In short it entirely lives up to the hype and is what kids today call "the s@%t." To quote Ferris Bueller, "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."
A couple of weeks ago I was of the opinion that Marvel had missed out on yet another prime opportunity to broaden their brand by making their new Nova Sam Alexander a standard issue white guy (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--You Do The Math"). That wasn't just my opinion, it was an educated opinion, an informed opinion, one that I can back up with evidence. Anecdotal evidence anyway. But first I'll need to make yet another confession; for the last year I've not just had a day job but a "straight" one; that's right, I've been working for corporate America.
I work for a very large company which, because of the non-disclosure agreement I signed, shall remain nameless, which takes diversity really seriously. In both the workplace (those "diversity sensitivity" seminars you've heard so much about? Those are real) and in its advertising (which regularly features non-white models). But that commitment isn't just window dressing. That becomes clear after you spend a day answering the phones and talking to people who have come to America from all over the world with unpronounceable names that speak English in thick, difficult to understand accents. And those are just the company's employees.
They work for the company (among other reasons) because they look and sound like a lot of our customers, newcomers to this country who want exactly the same things we the current residents want: stuff. Sure they want the rest of FDR's Four Freedoms, but when I speak to them they're of course keen on the third, Freedom from Want, a.k.a. the right to buy stuff. As I've said before nothing in the history of the world has ever been found that can make people stop wanting stuff, and as I've demonstrated, if you're willing to go just a little out of your way you can get people to buy your things.
I spend a good portion of my day arguing with people who want to fight the math, not with math of their own but with something "better"--rock held belief. They feel and believe my numbers are wrong and will argue the point indefinitely. You can dispute the results all you want but the cold equations are in; this demographic is growing while our traditional ones continue to contract.
As I've previously confessed I'm not one for making lists, but 2012 was the first year someone actually offered to pay me to write a list of my favorite comics. Of course I couldn't get it together to actually write it in time, but since somebody actually asked my top 5 comics of 2012 would have to be:
Conan the Barbarian
The Road To Oz
And, finally, a few more words about TBS's upcoming "competition show" King of the Nerds. I suggested "nerds don't compete," which of course isn't entirely true. Sure by our early teens most of have gotten the message that competition invariably leads not just to failure but abject, humiliating failure, but most of us have also known that one guy who absolutely had to be the expert on or have the biggest collection of whatever was being talked about. But what the producers of King of the Nerds have failed to realize is, nobody likes that guy. And nobody (with any self awareness) wants to be that guy, even if you throw in a useless title, an appearance on a basic cable TV show and a cash prize.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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