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Meandering the Fringes: Thoughts in the Wake of the Emerald City Comicon pt. 3: The Pecking Order

People say they love truth, but in reality they want to believe that which they love is true.

-Robert J. Ringer

There were times while we (my friend Ricker and I) were at the “Con” (as my friend Ricker calls it) when we didn’t know what to do we were in that whelmed state that isn’t quite over or under…I guess, as such, whelmed is probably the wrong term, but really who are you to judge.  This is a theme that is gaining notoriety, not judging.  I find this quite comforting after I say something stupid, or almost stupid.  Really this has nothing to do with my point.  My point is when my friend Ricker and I had no idea what to do next; we would go over to our friends’ booth.  We would do this for two reasons.  What are the two reasons; you might be asking yourself.  The answer is, I don’t recall.  However, I do remember having fun every time we stopped by for a visit.  Tom and Tim Engstrom are brothers who write and illustrate comics.  They are quite talented, and I don’t mind saying, handsome devils.  I don’t mind saying this because they are easy on the eyes.  Also, I’m not a homophobe anymore.  I stopped fear the gays long ago, my wife still fears them on account of the fact that I am so attractive, at least that’s what Tim and Tom said.  Together they write “The Legendary Boys of Floyd” a web comic.  They were situated between a couple of heavy players in the comic book game, guys of whom I knew nothing, but my friend Ricker kept totally nerding-out over them, because he is just so into this stuff.  Their names were Kurt Busiek, and Jason Howard, and I only mention their names so that I can use them in tags and possibly funnel more than two people to my blog under false pretense…my third favorite tense, and second favorite pretense.  Don’t get me wrong, they seemed like nice fellows, but I would be hard pressed to muster any strong feelings about them, unless they were driving a hit-and-run van, that was involved in an accident, where-in I was the victim.  Ahh the comfort of tangential goat-trails…I know you were jonesing (which should be a verb meaning: drinking tainted juice or kool-aid, but doesn’t) (it actually isn’t a real verb at all) (it’s fake, but it means that you really wanted me to go off on a tangential goat-trail) (at least in this context) for one.

My friend Tom Engstrom, whom I’ve known for around five years or more, introduced me to his brother Tim.  We all sat around talking to one another about the pomp and circumstance that inevitably follows an event such as the “Con” (as my friend Ricker calls it).  While we were standing there talking to Tim and Tom, the relative jovial atmosphere quickly dissipated as a bald man dressed as a Steam-Punk—who couldn’t quite commit—walked past Tom and Tim’s booth.  After feigning interest in photographing them he moved on, having never clicked a shot, to a different, presumably more popular, booth.  “That guy really pisses me off”, Tim said (I think).  It became clear that this bald man was an important chronicler of some sort, and he was not doling out the love equitably.

The comic book industry kind of started out as a means to promote the interests of the under-dog to a generation of kids whose parents were addicted to the bully ethos of post-war America.  They were accessible books that dealt with the issue of class-antagonism.  Though kids, and their parents, didn’t realize it at the time, these books were subversively communistic in origin.  Imagine a Marvel universe where-in you had to wire “X” amount of dollars to Peter Parker’s Cayman account before he lifted a webbed finger to take down the Hob-Goblin (gasp, commie nerd alert).  So it struck me as strange when I realized there was a very tangible pecking order when it came to the “Con” (as my friend Ricker calls it).  How dare you nerds try and subvert the subversives!  And by subverting them try and insert some hopeless realism into a wonderfully fictitious utopia…a utopia where super-humans are trying to destroy us, either actively, or indifferently.  Stan Lee is probably turning in his grave right now… (Wait, what…are you sure?  Still alive, huh?  A cameo in Iron-Man 2!?  Are you sure he’s not dead?  Huh.  Iron-Man 2?  Are you sure?  Huh.)  Stan Lee is probably very upset over this.  Or maybe he loves it.  We will just add his name to the list of failed utopia makers, alongside Walt Disney, and Thomas Jefferson (yeoman farmers, indeed Tommy)

I guess the point of all of this is…well mainly it was to try and eke out a third post from a two post scenario, but more nobly, it is to say we need to be careful when choosing a pecking order whenever art is involved.  We suck at it.  Art is not conducive to meritocracy, at least not in the commercial sense of the term.   Whenever we try to force our strange ideas of good or bad onto art, weird things happen.  Things like Britany Spears becoming a super star rather than flipping burgers in her uncle’s greasy-spoon, Stan Lee does cameos in movies that should’ve never been made, and my friends Tim and Tom don’t get their picture taken by a creepy looking bald Steam-Punkish guy with a purple JanSport backpack…really JanSport?  Jules Verne is turning in his grave.

Check out Tom and Tim’s website, “The Legendary Boys of Floyd”.  I find it funny.


About pats0

Pats0 is a writer who is informed by a punk-rock ethos, and a hatred for group-think. He is the founding member of The Pirate-Clown Guild of Free-Thinkers, an aegis from under which he soils the internet with his thoughts. Welcome.

One response to “Meandering the Fringes: Thoughts in the Wake of the Emerald City Comicon pt. 3: The Pecking Order

  1. So many responses. I’ll stick with a couple:
    1- Tim and Tom are talented- checked out their site and I like their work. It’s cool that you have such artistic friends.
    2- Though you’re right about Britney and the unfortunate nature of meritocracy and art, I’m pretty sure at this point she IS flipping burgers at her uncles greasy spoon. Which tells me that, though society’s measuring stick for “good” art may not always be reliable, in the end, sensibility wins out.


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