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Bellingham Comicon

A Wookie-friendly habitat

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You’d probably never know it just by looking at me, but I’m a full-fledged comic book geek at heart.  

Beneath my shaggy woodsman’s countenance dwells a lifelong cartoon fanboy whose appreciative capacity for panelized narratives lingers light years beyond the acceptable tenancy of childhood. 

Try as I might to conceal this secret, occasional visitors to my studio frequently take one quick look around the comic book-festooned interior and realize instantly the true nature of my condition. 

From the original copies of Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” that I plucked from the racks to the coffee-table-sized reprint editions of Peanuts and Popeye that I scrimped and saved for years to afford, I adore and covet them all.

Robust as this current collection of mine might be, however, it represents a mere pittance of what it could have been if my deep and abiding love for Mother Nature hadn’t burgeoned forth to intervene during the pivotal summer of my 15th year.  

You see, when I was 12 years old, some friends and I made a solemn vow to amass the largest comic book collection the world has ever known. 

During the course of a few remarkable years, the four of us earmarked the bulk of combined income (allowances, lawn-mowing earnings and whatnot) toward hoarding as many possible styles, genres and brands of comic books we could find. 

Thus, what began as a meager assemblage of hand-me-down Spider Man, Bat Man, and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers editions, soon multiplied hundredfold into an exceedingly diverse inventory numbering well into the thousands.

Eventually,  as our stacks grew into mounds, we were compelled to consolidate our collection in the repository of my next door neighbor friend’s basement—a wondrously creepy, climate-controlled enclave we affectionately called the “dungeon.”  

The dungeon was our preferred hangout destination. Whether ensconced in our critical studies or gathered festively together around the expanse of our enormously messy D&D gaming table, we felt—and behaved—just like a bushy-tailed band of caped crusaders down there.

Unfortunately, however idyllic our Green Lantern-induced reveries commenced to be, we could not prevent the increasingly tenuous foundation of this noble, upstart endeavor from crumbling apart under the strain of our own ambition.

The more comic books we accumulated, the more difficult it became to keep track of our available inventory. By the end, there wasn’t a single one of us who could ascertain with any degree of certainty who had originally purchased our only mint copy of Marvel Fanfare #51 or not.

Debates degenerated into arguments. Arguments intensified into irreconcilable feuds. Before we could shout “Shazam!” we found ourselves hurdling at warp-speed toward the irreversible dissolution of our tribe. 

It was during the midst of this darkened juncture that I resolved to escape the plasmatic, slime-belching maw of the dungeon and strike forth into a whole new type of adventure-quest: exploring the great outdoors.

So, on Oct. 12, much like a salmon returning to its preferred inland watercourse, you once again will find me beating tail to the Ferndale Events Center, where I will gladly indulge my hard-kept comic book yearnings among the colorful ranks of attendees and artisans who see fit to inhabit the festive and un-dungeon-like confines of Bellingham ComiCon on an annual basis. Like my childhood friends, they, too, are part of my tribe.

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