Saturday, June 03, 2006

Talkin’ Geek with Stephane

I saw X-Men 3 yesterday with a fellow comic reader, Stephane. We both thought the movie was a decent bit of fun with some great moments, but it wasn’t much more than we were expecting.

Afterward, we headed next door to CB&Potts, a local watering hole crowded with 100s of happy hour enthusiasts trying to drink away the stresses of the work week. And there we were, two 30+ year old married men eating plate after plate of nachos and enjoying cold drinks, surrounded by TVs, drunks, and plenty of attractive young waitresses. But we were oblivious to it all. Why? Because we were there to talk geek; everything else was muted background noise.

Our conversation went from the Juggernaut’s costume in the X-Men movie to the early adventures of Superman to the new lesbian Batwoman. Our discussions never strayed far from comics or collecting, and when it did, we pulled it right back in.

It was fantastic.

But while the conversations were fun, I learned something dark about my friend Stephane.

“I have a stack of comics just sitting in the corner,” he said, using his hand to measure roughly how high the stack has grown. I put down my nacho and listened intently, trying to control the inevitable flinching that would show my uneasiness.

“Oh yeah?” I said, trying to laugh it off like it was no big deal.

“Yeah, some of them are just flapping out in the open,” he said, taking the menu and folding it over loosely to show me how some of his comics were flopping on top of the others.

I squeezed my eyes tightly, trying to un-see the image of his disorganized comic collection that flashed before my eyes. “Can I get another drink, please?” I asked the waitress with the weird silver ball protruding from her cheek. I turned to my friend and smiled, my heart racing as I realized I was sitting across from a criminal.

“I couldn’t handle that,” I said. “All of my comics are in the same size of bag with the same exact acid free boards. They’re all in alphabetical order and perfectly organized. I can find any specific comic in my collection in less than 10 seconds, and it’ll be in perfect condition.”

He fell onto his side, laughing. He said he’s been reading my blog, so my last comment just added to his vision of just how insane I really was. Funny thing was, I was thinking the same thing about him. What kind of loony wouldn’t have his comics organized in a box?

Apparently, the same kind of guy who would have mismatched books on his shelf. After discussing his appalling stack of comics, he told me he had recently rearranged his bookshelf, and that he was trying something new. Instead of the expected and widely approved method of going alphabetical, he had organized his books in such a way that “might be interesting” to those who perused his selection.

“For example, I have an art book right next to a graphic novel,” he said, shrugging like it was no big deal. My ears began to burn. “See, I figure that maybe if someone is interested in art, they might be interested in reading a comic.”

“I couldn’t handle that,” I said. Hell, I could barely even listen to such a crazy idea. “I have all of my books in alphabetical order. I have my nonfiction in one area, my fiction in another. Heck, I even like to segregate my small hardcovers to the top shelf because they look so cool lined up next to each other. Much better than having a shelf with a mismatch of tall and short books.”

He laughed.

I cringed.

Then I quickly changed the subject in an effort to save our friendship. “So, you thought Famke Janson did a good job as Phoenix, huh?”

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