We all love comics, right? I mean, you wouldn’t even be reading this if you didn’t enjoy the unique experience of the pairing of words with pictures that comics offer. It’s a form of storytelling unlike any other. The juxtaposition of the action on the page with the dialog. The power of a caption box giving us insight into a characters thoughts. The raw imagination we display (without even realizing it) to fill in the blank spaces between the panels.
Yeah, we love comics.
But saying we love comics is very different from proving we love comics. Sure, we all use the internet as our forum to discuss the books and characters we love. We feel a sense of ownership over them. We feel our opinions should matter, dammit! And we’re furious when it appears that the comic companies blatantly ignore those opinions. It hurts.
If you REALLY want to prove that you love comics, and that your opinion should matter, then you’ll listen to me now and help out a dear friend of mine.
There’s a comic shop called Comic Evolution in Puyallup, Washington (that’s just outside of Seattle) that is owned and operated by Chuck Messinger. Chuck is one of us. He loves comics. And not just tights and capes. All comics. He champions the indie creator. He gets it. He takes the time to know his clientele to the point where a recommendation from him is pretty much a guarantee that you’re going to enjoy whatever he’s telling you to read. His shop is free of the stereotypical comic store pretension. It’s a place for comic lovers to go and let their geek flag fly with pride. He gives back to the community and the surrounding businesses.
And I care, too. That’s why I’m writing this. You see, as we all know, the economy sucks. We’re told it’s getting better, but small business owners like Chuck aren’t seeing it. And the painful truth is that Comic Evolution is in very real danger of having to close its doors.
We CANNOT let this happen.
So please, visit their site (http://www.comic-evolution.com/) and do what you can to help out. As comic lovers, we need places like Comic Evolution. Without it, the next generation of comic lovers won’t discover that book that blows their mind. The next generation of comic creators won’t find inspiration in every book their favorite artist or writer puts out. And when that happens, we all lose.
Just a small personal story to end with. Even though I live on the complete opposite side of the country, I’ve been fortunate enough to be out to Comic Evolution for a signing. While there, a young kid named Hayden came up to me. He’s a fan of Jesus Hates Zombies. Granted, he’s much too young to be reading Jesus Hates Zombies, but I’m not his parents. And besides, he was clearly mature enough to handle the language in the book. He had with him several sketchbooks FULL of his ideas. He is creating an entire UNIVERSE that he plans to turn into a truly epic comic experience. And I have no doubt he’ll do it. He’s amazing. I talked with him for over an hour, and he impressed me more and more with every passing moment. And I have no doubt that his love of comic storytelling began in Comic Evolution. It’s the type of place that fosters the imaginations of kids like Hayden. And when he grows up to be the next Robert Kirkman (which he will… mark my words), he’s going to remember Comic Evolution as the place it all started.
So please, help me save one of the truly precious gifts that comics gives. Don’t just sit back and be a fan — be a participant.
~ Stephen Lindsay (writer/creator of Jesus Hates Zombies)