Saturday, March 3, 2012

Branching Out ... of Fantasy

I don't know if I've talked much about this, but I'm a comic book collector. Not sure if collector is exactly the right word, more like comic book "amasser". Back when I fell in love with comics at age 14 or so, I was hooked on the X-Men. I began with issue # 162 or so (iirc)
And became rapidly determined to collect all the back issues I could, as well as the new issues coming out. And as often happens with comic books readers my list of titles grew to include, in no particular order

Batman
Sandman
Hellblazer
The Adventurers
Watchmen
Vendetta
Grendel
The New Mutants
X-Force
X-Factor
Spawn
Dr. Strange
Sgt. Rock
Heavy Metal
The Secret Wars
Shadow
The Demon
Books of Magic
Thor
Solomon Kane
Conan
Green Arrow

And there were tons more as well ... Suffice it to say at the heyday of my comic book collecting years I was dropping as much as $20 to $40 a month at the comic shop. May not seem like alot now. But in today's comic dollars it would have amounted to about $100 a month give or take.

That list has appreciably diminished over time, and for a few years dropped to zero. I have begun building my list up again, slowly but surely, adding a title or two when I can. The economy, increased personal financial responsibilities, not to mention the rising costs of comic books has made my reentry into the comic world a slow process. But here lately I find myself developing a strong urge to increase my comic book collection to pre-adult proportions.

The problem of course is the real lack of a comic book community here. My initial efforts at establishing, or at at the least reinforcing, the "geek factor" of my rather rural hometown region was directed towards expanding the gaming community. At this I have been rather successful. My first gaming club members are now in their twenties; and some are still actively involved  if not in RPGs in Magic the Gathering and other games. Since I have started the gaming club we have seen a fairly solid gaming store grow in business. They now hold regular games of All Flesh Must Be Eaten, 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons games, Friday Night Magic and WarHammer 40k games. Strategy based board games are also draw a small but dedicated audience as well. 

So I've been talking to the store owner, who happens to teach at the same school I do, about carrying comics. But he's no fool, and getting into the comic business is risky to say the least. The overhead of buying regular titles and figuring out how to get them out of the door eludes the savviest of businessmen. So he's buying some used back issues on the cheap, bagging them up and seeing how they move. They aint doing too well. Of course lots of them are indie titles, obscure titles that tend to be less in demand. But popular titles don't sell at cut rates too often, so he's certainly not to blame.

What I've been thinking is maybe it's time to start gaming a supers game! The popularity of superhero movies alone in our area is proof enough that there is interest in the genre. By taking a growing enthusiasm for tabletop fantasy gaming and branching into another genre I avoid steeping on the toes of those who love Pathfinder by offering another experience altogether. We will still play Pathfinder for fantasy and simply branch into another very popular genre--Superheroes. And there aint much that's more fun than bustin' up supervillains and saving the Universe!

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