And I’m home. I Missed you dicklicks


I just got back from Italy and boy is my penis tired. While I was gone, lots of cool stuff happened here in america. I won some awards from the Reader (thanks again to all you who voted), but I’m not exactly sure what I won and what I didn’t win, since I was gone when the shit all came out. The one thing that I DO know that I DIDN’T win this year was best local blog. This was all complicated by the fact that the Reader people switched things up and lots of people were mistakenly voting for the blog on Twitter (it’s all too dumb and convoluted to go into here), but long story short, I DID win best Chicagoan to follow on Twitter and some other ones that I’m not entirely clued in on yet.

But enough about that for now.

This past couple of weeks, I’ve been in Italy. I went to a tiki bar with my Italian cousins and my wife drank out of what looked like a tiny canoe. I went to some great museums. I saw the old timey farmhouse where my family is from and generally, the whole experience was (as the Italians say) pretty fucking cool.  In fact, the only part that wasn’t great was when I met the Hulk.

The Cinema Museum in Torino is one of the most well done, coolest museums you’ll ever see in your life. Not only does it have a free-floating, guy-wired elevator that takes you up to the top of this dome for a great view of the red roofs and distant Alps, but it’s got cool things like a surrealist theater that you enter through a giant refrigerator and then you sit on toilets while you watch clips from the Big Lebowski (for example). The cartoon room features a door that Wile E Coyote had just run through, leaving a giant Wile E Coyote shaped hole in it. You get the idea. The place was fucking spectacular. No amount of conceptualization had been skimped on. The saloon that was showing old Clint Eastwood movies actually smelled like booze and they were even projecting tit-themed movies onto the ceiling above a round, red velvet bed that was shrouded in gauze (just in case you’re the type that likes to pepper your museum experience with a little public intercourse).

About a block away from the cinema museum is a comic shop, and after we left the museum, we walked by and stopped in front of the shop, admiring the large statue of the Hulk that seemed to take up the whole interior of the store.

Now, I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: I grew up a huge comic fan. My first job ever was at a comic book store in Chicago called All American Adventures. I was 12. The owner was named Roland and he was unable to give his girlfriend an orgasm. If memory serves, she’d just never had one at all, so it wasn’t like Roland was the problem, but it was a subject that bothered him, and that he absolutely LOVED talking about in the shop. He talked about it with me, with customers, with anyone at all who would listen (as a man, I now know that Roland’s insane fixation on this fact was at least one of, if not THE MAJOR factor in why poor michelle? Rochelle? Whatever. It’s been 25 years, couldn’t get her shudder on).

Roland had studied to become a priest, but somehow ended up in the world of comics instead. His brother, Rich, was bigger and more manly than Roland and was the second in command. I don’t know this for a fact, but I bet Rich had already provided a few orgasms to his own bevy of vixens, to Roland’s chagrin.

Brian, a highschool kid, was the dude who did most of the shitty grunt work while Rich and Roland talked about orgasmless vaginas and the ins and outs of Amazing Spiderman vs Spectacular Spiderman and pondered endlessly whether the Batman craze was gonna continue to be this burgeoning, unstoppable license for nerds to print money or if the bubble was destined to burst (spoiler: the bubble burst on all comic collectors. It doesn’t really exist like it used to any more. YES, people will still pay for old titles, but it’s not the mylar bag golden era that it was when I was 12 and in charge of the subscription boxes over at All American Adventures. That was my job. I swept, did the subscription boxes and ran to the store to get Marlboro Lights for Roland).

I worked there 2 days a week and was paid 25 bucks worth of comics for my trouble. I remember that there was a creep named Peter who would come in, go behind the counter, grab a porn comic (Xenophile was a fave of his…and with good reason…that was a hot title), go into the bathroom, presumably whack off, and then come out, replace the comic, make fun of me for being a faggot and then leave.

I liked working there probably more than I’ve ever liked any job since, maybe even including being in a band. I love the nerd camaraderie of comics, I love the hidden language, the value in garbage and the general pace and scent of a comic book store. I also love, and I can’t overstate this enough, the fact that comics are the one place where young, dirty, messy boys, and their arch nemeses, the old, single dipshit nerd, can hold court as mutual admirers of the same work. Talk to someone like Howard Stern (a comic aficionado) about the finer points of some of the slightly more obscure enemies of the Marvel Universe (does the Hulk REALLLY have what it takes to defeat Juggernaut? I mean, we’re talking about a being that NEVER fatigues [comic writers are as fallible as anyone, {ever read the Peter Parker clone bullshit?….I’m really digressing here}] and you’ll find that while all Howard’s points are salient and well thought out, so too will the points of a 9 year old boy who’s also immersed in the same fantastic imaginative universe. It’s one of my favorite things about being alive, this connection between boys and nerds.

SO, that’s why, when we walked by this comic shop in Torino, which had a giant, bigger than life hulk made of plastic in it, I pointed it out to my boy, (Hulk is his favorite hero of all right now), who then ran in and touched the Hulk statue on the thigh, gently, in a moment of tiny awe.

The dude looked at my son as though my son had just pulled out a severed human dick and casually tossed it onto an original, handwritten Faust manuscript. And then he yelled at him. At a 5 year old. For touching a plastic statue of the Hulk that is placed right in the doorway of this guy’s business, which is a comic shop, which are books that are designed, at least in their inception as cheap, disposable books for children.

So here’s the deal, geeks. I get it. I like comics and they can be cool and have pictures of people fucking in them or brutal deaths or deep, haunting passages about the horrors of ennui or genocide or whatever the fuck you want. BUT, do NOT pretend that you’re not living in the land of the little boys. It’s their world. You just refused to leave. You don’t get to do it that way. The Hulk is to be touched. The comics are to be read. The toys and debates are to be tossed around and enjoyed by people who want to exist in a world where men lift up buildings and women with huge tits barely wear anything and are very strong.

Nerds are a troubled and put upon community, but if you can’t at the very least be nice to, and cultivate the imaginations and souls of the nerdlings, you’ve got a Shaker community situation on your hands where the whole thing’s just gonna collapse into incestuous loserdom based on faulty principles and a shoddy foundation. Oh, fuck you. Google the Shakers if you’re not from Ohio.

Also, this is getting long, but remind me to tell you why all this is a lot like the Reader Best Of poll. I’ll tell you tomorrow.

I gotta go. It’s good to be back.


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5 Responses to And I’m home. I Missed you dicklicks

  1. Jaime Z says:

    My first job was at a comic shop as well in 1994 in the suburbs of Philly, It was a pretty interesting experience being 15 and a girl. Not too many chicks worked at comic shops back in the day. I ended up working there on and off till 2009. One of the best jobs ever, and at the same time one of the worsts. Speaking of porn comics, Bondage Fairies was probably my favorite. Oh the creepers that bought them.

    • Joe says:

      I worked at the campus post office in grad school and of the very few packages that got ripped open by the USPS was a copy of this for a professor. I saw it first and should have taped it back up, but didn’t for some reason. Also happened with pot, but I didn’t work that day.

  2. Dudes cousin says:

    Good to have you back, mate 🙂 bad luck with the polls

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