We are almost finished with this year's countdown of the top five metafictional comics
. I'd like to take a moment to thank a couple of folks without whom this list could not have been written. Consider it the obligatory long distance dedication.
My D&D Group
It may come as somewhat of a surprise to you all, but I am indeed kind of a nerd. I've been playing tabletop RPGs
since the mid-1990's when the owner of the restaurant I worked at told me he ran a game on Sunday nights, and I wondered if experimenting with live-action story-telling would help my writing (SPOILER ALERT: Kind of).
|You know . . . that game that lets television audiences know the characters are socially awkward but really smart?|
My boss, Bunch, ran the game from his living room in a house that was slowly being reclaimed by earth elementals.
It was here, on Bunch's book shelf, that I first saw the Cerebus
telephone books. And it was here that I once found myself spending several hours with nothing to do but read them after my character stumbled over a doorstep, and I horribly fumbled my saving throw, causing him fall on his own dagger and stab himself through the eye a mere fifteen minutes after the gaming session began.
Another member of the gaming group, Shimkus, is the guy who first introduced me to Neil Gaiman's Sandman
on the ride over to Bunch's Amazing Sinking Home and D&D Parlour after I had mentioned that I was a fan of Gaiman's fiction (an indirect result of my having roomed with the third member of the gaming group, Chris, for a few months after college and finding a copy of Good Omens
laying around my first week there).
My Oldest Friend
|Pictured here are (l-r) Jack, me, and a classmate at the Huntsville Space Center about the time we met in 7th grade|
Jack Mayfield is responsible for a lot of who I am today. He introduced me to the work of Douglas Adams, helping make me a lifelong fan of both The Hithchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
. He also recorded for me every episode of Grenada's Sherlock Holmes
starring Jeremy Brett, at a time when we didn't have cable, and our antenna was all but useless for picking up the local PBS station, turning me into a lifelong Sherlockian long before Robert Downey, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Johnny Lee Miller refused to wear the deerstalker.
|Shh. Don't tell anyone, but the those three gentlemen to your right? Rank amateurs.|
He also introduced me to Doctor Who
, The Smiths, audio dramas, a ton of stuff I'm still interested in today. But most importantly for this countdown, he gave me my first copy of Alan Moore's The Watchmen
in 1987, and as it had done for countless other readers (casual and critic alike), this graphic novel showed me that comics can often be much more than just an entertaining way to waste time.
My Older Stepbrother
|I don't have a picture of BJ, so here's a picture of Jim Carey. Close enough.|
BJ, may be the most important person for this list since he first introduced me to comic books in general. As a kid, I was (and remain) a huge Star Wars
fan, and when my mother remarried, my new stepbrother had every issue of the original Marvel run of Star Wars
comics. He gave me the first one for free, but like any good drug dealer, he gradually raised the price.
|"C'mon, man, you know you want a little more. Look at that art, so smooth. Smell that newsprint, intoxicating. Five dollars, and the next one's yours."|
I was so addicted to this new form of story-telling, there was no limit to the lengths I would go to feed my habit. Pretty soon, I was doing other people's homework for spare change. I was actually doing my own chores. Eventually I hit rock-bottom: I did BJ's chores for him in addition to giving him my entire allowance.
Eventually, I moved on to harder stuff. I was reading Spider-Man
, The Fantastic Four
, sometimes even the odd Daredevil
. When Marvel wasn't enough, I moved on to DC: Batman
. I once even sank so low as to read an entire run of Plastic-Man
|Sadly, I never recovered.|
So there you have it: These are the people you can
thank for this ongoing countdown.
I hope they're happy.
Next month: The countdown continues.