Accessibility.

I love Batman. Especially the darker Batman of the earliest issues and later days, although I do have a fondness for the Adam West stuff as well.

But I don’t own many Batman comic books or toys, and in fact I haven’t even read more than a couple dozen Batman comic books.

In fact, in my lifetime I have probably read fewer than 50 comic books. That may sound like a lot of comic books to some of you, but a significant percentage of my friends are thinking, I read 50 comic books in a month or two.

And the truth is, I’d love to. I would love to totally immerse myself in Batman, in the X-Men, in any number of titles that I don’t even know about yet. But I don’t, and for one simple reason.

It’s crack.

I already have a somewhat obsessive personality, and the draw of comic books would be too much for me. I deliberately refrained for years and years because I knew I would get hooked and be financially irresponsible.

These days, I have a bit more spare cash. Let’s put it this way: I’m not rich, but these days when I eat ramen noodles or peanut butter sandwiches, it’s by choice.

So why haven’t I started reading more comics?

Accessibility. I don’t know where to begin. With all the various titles, the retconning, the fact that the legends have become so self-contradictory and intertwined, I can’t see a clear way in. What’s more, I feel that if I did find my way in, I wouldn’t be comfortable as the worlds continued to evolve in self-contradictory ways. I like my stories to have one master overall controller who can keep things straight, or at least make a reasonable attempt.

Similarly, I used to really enjoy minor league hockey back in Syracuse, although it was mostly an excuse to hang out with friends. I still enjoy minor league baseball, although I don’t think I could name a single player on the Indianapolis Indians right now. I love the NFL, but I barely watch college football. Why?

Again, accessibility. (By now, I’m hoping you understand that I don’t mean my ability to gain entrance or possession; I mean my ability to truly understand.) There is so much player and coach turnover that it’s hard for me to form opinions and allegiances before things have changed. A couple years ago the Indians had Andrew McCutcheon. I loved watching him play. So of course he got pulled up to the majors.

And now I find myself facing the final few weeks of my church service. I imagine that if I looked hard enough, I could find another church within a reasonable distance that has a similar feel to the one I attended, and if I was lucky it would also have the same general belief basis… but I really hate the idea of spending the time to find out if the new church really believed what I thought it believed, and meeting new people (never one of my favorite activities anyway outside of new ComedySportz people) and all that. I was fortunate, when I found this service, that I already knew a couple people in it. And the way that the service was designed, I got to know others bit by bit. I don’t know where to go now, and it saddens me that my response seems to be the same as it is with Batman and college football.

Just stay away and appreciate it from a distance, because getting to the point where you could truly relax and enjoy it is too unpleasant.

I wish I felt differently.

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2 Responses to Accessibility.

  1. Lummox JR says:

    That’s always been my problem with comic books; the narrative has a soap opera quality to the nth degree that makes it feel impossible to get into. That and it’s crack. Something like a webcomic is much easier for me to jump into, although I don’t dare try to get back into Sluggy Freelance after a decade out of touch.

  2. and Rose Red says:

    I tend to have the exact same problem. I love comic books in the sense that I love comic book movies and television shows and well-known characters; but the books themselves I rarely manage to get my hands on. Both because of availability, commitment, etc, and the issue of not knowing where to begin. But as for the comic books I have read, I’ve found a good couple of series that are kind to me and don’t go too far outside the context of their main story. Trans-metropolitan, Sandman, and Fables to name my favorites. Fables has a spinoff series and Sandman has the occasional standalone issue outside of the primary narrative – but all three of them I could easily read start to finish in about the time it’d take me to read a few short novels. And I was fortunate that I had friends from whom I could borrow most of the copies and not have to pay for them all myself. ^_^

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