How to be a Happy Nerd
Today, I was in a good mood.
I dunno if it was the sunshine and warm weather (at long last), the piles of jambalaya I ate (maybe the tastiest batch I've yet cooked), or simply a manic-depressive upswing, but I was downright jolly all day.
My mood only started to sour after a kickass bike ride and a cold beer, when I sat down to check my e-mail and look around online. I was breaking one of my Rules. I was reading people's opinions on a CBR forum and gritting my teeth.
People should have rules, especially those of us that live in a constantly frustrating sub-culture such as Comic Fandom. Rules keep you from banging your head on a while people dismiss a book you dearly love for stupid reasons. Rules keep you sane when your favorite character is mishandled repeatedly, or the star of the worst series you've ever read. Rules, if followed properly, can keep you from total self-loathing visa vi your hobby of choice.
These are mine. I don't always follow them, but I sure try.
1. VALUE THE CRAFT. What's important in a comic is the plot, and the characterization, the art, and the storytelling. What happens inside is not as important as how we are told what happens. If you follow this rule, you will never be upset if Blue Beetle is shot in the head and he-was-your-favorite-character and how-could-they-do-this. You will only be mildly annoyed that you read a dopey comic, and that passes quickly.
2. IGNORE ONLINE FUEDS. Rich Johnston and Bendis? What the fuck? Who cares? Who's Rich Johnston? Ahhh, contentment.
3. MESSAGE BOARDS ARE THE DEVIL. A collection of nerds arguing. Or worse, agreeing with each other. Most horrible of all are the creator boards. Watching mediocre talents surround themselves with ranting sycophants is disturbing at best. Watching these guys believe the rants of their sycophants is chilling. Like watching that Powers Booth movie about Jim Jones, without the awesome sunglasses.
4. SHARE THE LOVE. If you find a comic that blows out your ass with awesome-osity, give it to a friend that will appreciate it. I've given away countless comics over the years, and as a result, I am never without a fellow comic fan. All of my friends are fans of at least ONE book. I can talk comics with everyone I know. It rules.
5. READ WHAT YOU LOVE. I love SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY. It makes me happy. That is what I will read, and that is that. It sounds easy, but I see so many people reading things they hate. Sure, I read the first few issues of REBIRTH, but that was morbid curiousity. (And then bad judgement. And then I was blatantly breaking a rule. I then I stabbed my eyes out because it sucks so fucking bad.) If you keep your weekly stack down to just the books that make you smile, all comics seem like masterpieces. Simple enough.
6. MAKE FUN OF THE DUMB STUFF. Blow out other candles to make yours seem brighter, as the old saying goes. It really works! People may accuse you of being a smug elitist or insecure or some other bullshit, but there's just nothing funner than laughing out loud at shitty comics.
Those are just a few. The truth is, I'll probably be depressed about something by the end of the week, and the Rules will be out the window. But as simple as they are, they work for me. Like a day at the beach, or an easy bowel movement, these Rules can keep you warm inside.