Comic Etiquette

Comic Etiquette: Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone


What is it about appearance that makes our minds go crazy? Whether you admit it or not our brains default to judging books by the cover. The brain loves shiny objects, vibrant colors, tasty smells, and pleasant sounds. The buck stops at the brain. It’s our self consciousness that separates us from the rest.

How many times have you wanted the right side of your brain to catch up with the left? It could be something as small as a 3rd helping of food or your 21st shot on your 30th birthday. Whether it’s the next day, week, or year, you are constantly rechecking the quick decisions your brain made. There is always something you wish you did differently no matter how small or large.

Me? I’ve made more mistakes in my life than I can count. I’ve made a lot of decisions at first glance. Hell, I still do, and am no better at it with age.

I had a comic guy for over 20 years whom I started a box with. A box is a comic term where your comic guy takes issues from a list you made so he knows what to set aside for you. He would check it off your list and set it inside a box for you to pick up so you didn’t have to show up every Wednesday and hope the issue you wanted was still there.

My father started this for me just out of high school. His name was on it, and all I had to do was go there every week and pick up my comics I had set aside. Apparently, my father put down his work phone number as a contact. When I didn’t show up for a month or so, my comic guy would call his work and leave a detailed message that his Spider-Man comics he ordered were ready for pick up. This continued for several years, until I went in and gave my cell phone number. 

Now this comic shop was filled to the brim with back issues, new issues, action figures, and just about anything geek related. You couldn’t get through an aisle without stepping over something, and they were barely big enough to stand in. Over 20 years of walking in the door and I never felt out of place, and my comic guy always had questions about what I was reading while he rang up my 300 plus dollars of comics.  

My comic guy was in his mid to late 40’s, skinny, with a long blonde ponytail. He was always happy to see me, even after sometimes it would take me 3 months to get to the shop to pick up my comics. I got to that point where he would only call me when he ran out of room to hold all the titles I put aside.

Two years ago, my comic guy got an illness and died. I didn’t know until 3 months later. He just died. I found out from one of my friends who frequently went in and chatted with him. My comic guy’s girlfriend was trying to run the shop in his absence. I might never have known. For years I remembered I collected comics because he would call me.

Picking up for that last time, I came to a decision. I wasn’t going to collect comics anymore. To me, my comic collecting died with my comic guy. Little did I know that I was just closing one book, and opening another.

I found myself starting to hit flea markets again. I started paging through boxes of comics in tiny dusty booths. I was pulling out gems of a lost past that I had long separated myself from. There were 2 foot piles of comics savagely stacked up with out backboards and covers. I was looking throughout them all.

About a month ago I was out on a date, walking to a local pizza parlor in town. The girl I was with pointed to a shop window with a bunch of comic book posters. She tugged on my arm and said, “Hey, lets go in and check it out!”

“No, no, I’m OK.” I tugged back.

She let go of my arm and started walking in the door. I followed her in. The store was just starting out. It had maybe one of each comic that came out that week left on the shelf. The man at the counter was on the computer with another gentleman looking over his shoulder. Clearly this man was one of his friends.

“Are you guys open?”  my date asked.

“Yeah.”  The Simpsons comic guy said.

He never looked up at us.  I asked several comic book questions that only true comic lovers would know. He just grunted at me. I can only assume it was because I’m extremely attractive. All true. My date looked like she was going to punch him, so I quickly exited the store pulling her arm.

Little did this guy know, I am a major collector. I never walked back in to that store. If he would have engaged with me just once, he probably would have had a customer for life. But he didn’t.

In all seriousness, I don’t have the comic collector look. If you met me you would never expect that I have a broad knowledge in geekdom. As guilty as I am in judging with my brain, there is always another judging you. So next time a person walks through your business door, take a deep breath, and greet them like they will be your next best friend. They just might end up being that.



Smoking in Comics

Flaws and Choices with Smoking in Comics


“Hey Bub, want a cigar?” – Wolverine

First off, let me say I don’t condone smoking unless you are of legal age, but never has anyone walked up to me on the street and asked me that. Trust me, I’ve walked down a lot of awful streets. I bring this up because something is starting to bother me. Why can’t Wolverine have a cigar anymore? Yes I know Marvel issued a ban on smoking in comics, and Disney doesn’t allow smoking in it’s movies. But why can’t a character be flawed? Have we lost our own abilities to make a choice?

J. Jonah Jameson smoking a cigar never made me want to smoke a cigar. Watching Ben Grimm smoking a cigar never made me want to smoke a cigar. You get the picture. Now, I bet your saying, “Well smoking is bad, and our children shouldn’t see Super Heroes smoking cigarettes and cigars.” Well ok. That’s a great opinion. But when I read Spider-Man starting at 5 years of age, half of the characters in Marvel smoked. Hell, back then they sold candy gum cigarettes that blew sugar out of them to replicate smoke. 

I’m sure at some point I asked my parents what Ben Ulrich was doing. My Mom probably said “It’s a cigarette. Don’t ever do it, it’s bad for you.” Too bad we rarely listen to our parents. Now a days some kids barely have interaction with their parents. Let us be honest here. If kids are looking up to heroes, then should heroes be flawed? Just like people in real life? A person who smokes cigarettes is not a monster just for smoking. Real life heroes can be flawed. We have alcohol consumption, drug use, racism, physical violence, murder, and any other possible crime in almost everything we read. Comics teach what is right and what is wrong every day. So why is smoking the most horrible thing banned from some comics?

Instead of ignoring the issue, take it head on. Have other characters berate the heroes into quitting. Don’t just make it disappear. We, as kids and adults deal with these issues night and day for our whole lives. As a kid who read comics, and related to so many situations with characters growing up, smoking was the least of my worries. Let’s face it kids have it harder every year. Comics can teach some kids more values and decision making than anyone in real life. Smoking in comics can be used in other ways to make a point. So let Wolverine have a cigar with his beer. Let people make their own decisions. Ignoring issues, doesn’t solve the problem.




Holidays: Memories and Wishes


My eyes popping out of my sockets, seeing those lovely wrapped He-Man shaped presents I so loved sitting under the Christmas tree. How many were mine? How many were my brothers? My eyes would dart from one gift to the next looking for my name on one of the gift tags. For example, the gift tags would always read

To: Tiny Tim


Yeah it was just blank. Always left blank. Apparently, if Santa didn’t want to sign his name to the packs of socks and underwear he left us, he felt guilty about signing the toys. He just didn’t want to be associated with any crap gifts on his milk drunken night. Breaking into people’s houses and eating food was where he drew the line on his criminal empire.  

My father always worked nights. He wouldn’t get home until about 9 or 10 in the morning.  Leaving my mother alone at 4am on a Christmas morning, with 3 young kids, trying to sneak out of their rooms across the most squeaky wooden hallways I have ever known. We were just trying to see if Santa came. About 2 steps out of the bedroom my mother would scream, “IF YOU DON’T GET BACK IN YOUR ROOMS RIGHT NOW, I’LL CALL SANTA AND TELL HIM TO TAKE YOUR TOYS BACK, AND I’M CANCELING CHRISTMAS!!!!”  

Around 6 a.m. my mom would let us come out of our rooms. We could go downstairs, but not touch any presents under the tree. Leaving us just staring at our names on each present. Just waiting for the front door to open and see my Dad walking through, added to the anxiety and excitement. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on those wonderful toys. Eventually Dad would get home, and Mom would pass out the presents.

This is an example of the 80’s. That’s me in the bottom left. My brother, sister, Mom and Dad are also featured. I have no idea who the kid is in the Raggedy Andy outfit.

It’s very disturbing right now that I might have a lost sibling right now, homeless wearing that ridiculous outfit. You know what? Let’s not go back to the 80’s, tis a silly place.

We didn’t always have a lot of money growing up. But there was always one solid thing I can remember, and that was Christmas.  Some how, no matter how many jobs my Mom, and Father worked, or how tight money was, we always had presents under the tree. It made the Saltines with peanut butter and jelly dinner nights all worth it.

The older I got, the more I realized that the holidays aren’t about Toys, Comics, Video Games, clothes, it’s about those mushy things some people have that they call feelings.  So sit back with your egg nog, beers, and glasses of wine and remember all those nostalgic moments of your youth.  Try not to kill your siblings or any other family members and remember how fortunate you are to be there at that moment.  If all else fails, just keep drinking egg nog. I know I will.


FOUNDER OF NAMCO, MASAYA NAKAMURA PASSES AWAY AT AGE 91(Originally Printed February 1st, 2017)


Founder of Namco, Masaya Nakamura Passes Away At Age 91

(Originally Printed February 1st, 2017)


The only thing that probably came in a close second was “Doesn’t New Coke suck?”

Masaya Nakamura, founder of Namco, and known as “the father of Pac-Man”, passed away January 22nd. His death was announced on January 30th by Namco. He was the man responsible for flooding every pizza shop, mall arcade, and store breezeway with a Pac-Man arcade machine during the 1980s. You couldn’t walk without tripping over one of the damn machines.

Pac-Man was designed and created by Toru Iwatani while distributed and produced by Namco. Under Masaya’s leadership, Namco made sure we will never forget his part of a world wide success Pac-Man would be. Pac-Man holds the throne for the highest grossing arcade game of all time.

In the early days of Namco, Masaya manufactured small amusement rides for stores and malls. Seeing the potential and growth of video games he started hiring programmers, staff, and started developing many popular games for distribution. In his later life he became a movie producer. He stepped down from Namco in 2002.

Without Masaya’s vision and tenacity to tap into the little known market of video games, we might all have been stuck with pong forever. Next time you see one of those vintage Pac-Man arcade machines pop in a quarter, and remember Masaya. Thank him by keeping his dream!


We Called Them “He-man Guys”


The 1980s had to be one of the best times to be alive for toys. For me, it was the Masters of The Universe toy line from Mattel. At the time I don’t think me or any of my friends even knew that it was called Masters of the Universe. We just called them He-Man guys. Seriously, even now just me thinking about calling one of my friends on the phone back then and asking him to come over and play Masters of the Universe guys just sounds idiotic. It was too freaking long to spit out. We said, G.I. Joe guys, Star Wars guys. Transformers, were just Transformers. Let’s not get ridiculous.

 Even if I tried to abbreviate and say MOTU guys I can imagine my friends 4 or 5 year old fist punching me in the face through the receiver end of the phone. If you grew up with the phones with the curly wires attached to them you would know it was no small feat. So maybe it was an ancient Internet abbreviation. We were just childhood geniuses back then. 

“Hey, wanna come over and play with my He-Man guys?”

Awesome. Here’s a fucking Nobel prize for my 5 year old self.

These were more than just toys. These were new friends.  Each new figure was a brand new story for my mind to create. Hours of enjoyment with just my mind being the limits. Except, Webster. Fuck him.  Every time you pull him out he’s tangled with some other guy like he’s filming a homosexual bondage movie.

Webster, up to his old tricks tangling tricks again.

These action figures came bundled with a little mini comic book inside that helped explain their origin and told a little story. Bonus goodness! Of course most were featured on the T.V. series running at the time, but usually did little to explain their origins.  

Upon receipt, would immediately run down to the early 70s (You can tell by the carpet.) modeled finished basement with my brand new team members. Slowly introducing them to either Castle Grayskull or Snake Mountain. Humming the Masters Of The Universe theme song in my head I would reinforce each side with their proper loyalties. How did they get there? Will Skeletor’s plot to take He-Man’s sword of power and join it to his own to make the ultimate sword finally happen?? That was all up to me. I never seem to let myself down.  

Years go by and eventually the He-Man guys ended up in a plastic tote in the back of my closet. I would forget about them for years at a time. Now and then I’d come across them looking for something else I misplaced and I’d give the plastic tote a little pat on the head. Year after year I hoped one day my children would be able to take them on new adventures. I rescued them time and again from my father’s garage sale. Some bonds can never be broken. Eventually, they ended up in a basement closet, safe and secure waiting for their new day. I had all but forgotten them……..

Time went by, and I haven’t had any kids of my own. But I have nieces and a nephew. When they were at their grandparents house they would inevitably end up pulling out toys from the past. One day in particular I received a phone call from my mom.

“Hey, its Mom, the grandkids are here and looking for stuff to do. Is it OK to let them play with your He-Man guys?”

I smiled, and chuckled to myself.

“Yeah Mom, that’s fine.”

“Thank you dear. I was just checking before I pulled them out. Love ya! Bye.”

“Thanks Mom, Love you toooooooo.”

As the “o’s” were fading out of my mouth and I heard my mom hang up the phone, my left eye twitched for a second.


My brain exploded.  Not because my He-Man guys were ready to start new adventures for a new generation. No. No. Not at all. At that moment I remembered their final mission. A mission so grand that the forces of Snake Mountain, Castle Grayskull, and even the Evil Horde had to band together for all Eternia!

Flash back to the mid 90s. The school system I was in, decided that to graduate high school every student would have to complete 60 hours of community service. To me, I always believed that it killed the idea of what community service was supposed to be. Possibly, they were getting us ready for any possible minor crimes we would commit later on in life. Who knows?

I took a job at a recycling center on the weekends. It was open to the public and took in any kind of recyclable you could imagine. One of the jobs the other kids and I had to do was climb into the containers and push the piles to the empty sides of the containers. One day I’m heading up the creaky wooden steps to climb into the magazine container. An old man probably late 70s just dumped a couple boxes of magazines in the container and was turning around.  

In the best old man voice ever he stops at the bottom of the steps looks me right in the eye and says,

“My wife just made me get rid of my old Playboy collection.  Some of them are probably worth some money!”

Then he just turned around and walked away. Or he could of been swept up by the Eagle King from Lord of the Rings for all I knew. My 16 year old mind heard “Playboy’s” and that was it. I was head first in the container. If I remember correctly they were all from late 60s early 70s. I collected what I could find and brought them home. I just needed the perfect place to hide them where my parents couldn’t find them.  Yep, you guessed it. In the bottom of my He-Man container underneath all the figures.  

Flash forward.

Frantically pressing buttons on the phone calling my Mom back. Sweat starting to drip down my brow.  Heart pounding. Unable to blink. A quote popped into my head from the Mel Gibson movie “The Patriot”

“I have long feared……that my sins would return to visit me. And the cost is more than I can bear.”

The phone started ringing.



“Brinnnnn”, click, “Hello?”

“MOM! MOM! HEY!  It’s me.  Look I changed my mind. I don’t think the kids should be playing with the He-Man guys. They could be worth a lot of money some day!”

“Fine dear. Whatever. It’s not like you’re ever going to play with them again. They are just toys! You know what? I didn’t want to dig them out of the closet anyway. I should’ve known better than to even ask.”


Queue the dial tone.

30 years later I still was playing games with my He-Man guys and I didn’t even know it until that moment. I guess the point is if you take care of your toys when you’re younger. They will still take care of you when you’re older?

Being an Essential Worker sucks.

Essential Worker

I’m an Essential Worker but I’ll get to that in a moment. It’s 10pm on a Tuesday. My neighbors text me that my sprinkler has been running for about 5 hours and my lawn looks like a puddled mess. Oops.

Yeah, I know. How awful of a problem to have. I left my fucking sprinkler on. I am guessing some of you are thinking, “At least you have a lawn.” Yep, I absolutely do. Well, eat shit. Having a lawn sucks, especially in a neighborhood that has some kind of lawn cutting competition.

Perhaps you can tell, I am not a fan of my lawn. I don’t care if its diagonal, horizontal, or vertical. I just cut in a damn circle until I get in the middle. Job is done, time for beer. Except yesterday, I hit a ground nest of fucking bees.

It’s so great to have a lawn that fights back. I took 3 hits to the head and 2 on the wrist. My hand swelled up like a head of a penis getting laid for the first time. This is a picture after I had ice on it for a hour.

Sorry, for the dirty dishes. If it bothers you come fucking wash them with a swollen hand you can’t close, because your dishwasher broke last year. Yes, last year. Just because I have a lawn, doesn’t mean I live in luxury.

Back to my original story.  Being an essential worker during Covid19,  Corona virus, bat digestion disease, (what ever it is this week.)  is a personal challenge.  I walk outside and all my neighbors are outside in one of the garages, (ooooooh, you have a garage too.)  pounding down beers.  Apparently I am the only one who is working in my neighborhood.


Out of pure spite, or jealousy, (pick one) I snarled inside. I have a minimum 10 hour shift in the morning, and the cigar smoke and the sound of beer cans opening, will challenge any functioning alcoholic. Seeing me outside triggered some kind of celebration, as everyone rushed over to watch me turn off the sprinkler.

“You, want a beer?”

“You, want a beer?”

Of course I want a fucking beer. But, by sure willpower alone I refused. My inner responsibility kicked in to the human race. The world needs me! I shall not have a beer! I am an essential worker!

Night, after night for almost 6 months now I watch the night parties.  Absolutely, I am jealous. Day, after day I see people missing at work, for Corona virus testing. When will it be me? I long for a quarantine. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the threats upon man kind. Which, is why I get up and go to work. But damn, 2 weeks off minimum would feel great right now. I know, I am not alone in my thinking, essential workers are beyond exhausted. Party on you lucky fucks.

Unfortunately, with great power, comes great responsibility.

This has been Drunken Spidey. Until next time, throw me a beer (As long as I have off the next day.)!

P.S.  Thank you, all “Essential” workers. Especially the ones who aren’t getting hazard pay.  You are not alone.