Welcome Guys and Dolls to Into the Fancave, a brand new column here on Multiversity. The concept here is simple: I’ve spent the last few years thinking pretty deeply about the sociological side of comics and I realized that I learn the most about the whos, whats, whens, wheres, whys and hows of the comics community by simply talking to the fans themselves (AKA YOU.) Simply put: if you love comics, I want to hear about it. A few weeks back we put out a call for interested interviewees and received an overwhelming response. Up to bat in this inaugural edition is Zach Stewart from Utah. Zach and I spoke last week about his history with the medium, some fond childhood memories and the importance of Wednesday evenings in his life. Clickity click below and enter Zach’s fancave!
Zach: I am a working student, 30 hours at work, full time college. When I find time between homework I read comics, play video games and spend way to much time on my Google Reader. Do you want how I started reading comics?
Z: I was a child of the original X-Men cartoon, Spider-Man, Batman (Bruce Timm) and Superman. As a kid I never really got into consistently collecting and reading comics. The only event that I remember in my youth was Onslaught. There was a panel of Cyclops unleashing an optic blast across a river and I was blown away. I did not get into comics until I was 22 (I am 25.) A friend invited me to a local forum with people from Utah. We would talk about politics, religion, movies, and comics. I found myself constantly in the comic section reading pages of old books trying to see what I have been missing. Then I was invited to go see Hellboy 2 with some of the people from the forum and from that started my love affair with comics. I guess that is the long and the short of it.
J: Interesting. You’ve now mentioned two separate instances of crossing from an adaptation of comics back into the comics themselves. What do you think motivated you to jump back into the original medium of these stories?
Z: Looking back at the Onslaught event, I was trying so hard to scrounge the money to follow the story. I had always enjoyed the cartoons, but this was something new I just had to know what was going to happen next! Basically I wanted to get the whole story. I wanted to learn what took place in Marvels Civil War, “Heroes fighting heroes, what?” And since I was older, I could really try and appreciate the art and the story that went into producing comics.
J: Yes, there certainly are new dimensions to be discovered with age. Approximately how many comics do you buy from month to month, and where do you usually buy them?
Z: Let me check me hold list…There are 17 in my holds box. But I usually try and pick up something new when I get my hold, so roughly 20-25. My first hold was at this great store in Salt Lake City called Black Cat Comics, but the 40 minute commute to and from was too much with school. So I moved it down to a local comic shop in Prove called Dragon’s Keep, they do not have as good of selection as Black Cat, but whatever you want in your hold box, they get it for you.
J: What significance does Wednesday, otherwise known as New Comic Day, hold in your life?
Z: It is my mandatory break from my busy week. I leave school later in the evening and get down to my comic shop right before they close. Monday to Wednesday I start arranging in my mind what I am going to read first. And when I finally have them in my hand, I read one sitting in the parking lot before driving home.Continued below
J: If your store, for some reason, does not have one of the books you want (since you have your hold list, you might have to think hypothetically), how do you react?
Z: Well this happened with the last 3 issues of Unknown Soldier and it sucked! I had moved my hold down to a new store and they said it takes about 3 months to get caught up with ordering what you want in your hold. So I was kinda antsy not knowing if my issues were going to be there, which I love and had followed since issue #1. So I was constantly calling down to Dragons Keep to see if they were going to have it. If there was a slim chance they ordered an extra one or if someone had dropped it from their hold. I (eventually) broke down and ordered 2 of the last 3 issues off of the internet.
J: Interesting choice of words. You say you broke down to get to that point, but a lot of people (myself included) get the bulk of their comics through online order. Why exactly do you prefer shopping in store?
Z: When I was shopping at Black Cat Comics the owner, Greg, was just an awesome guy who would talk shop with you about comics. Other customers would come in, we could discuss why there wasn’t hundred of thousands of different color rings flooding earth during the events of Blackest Night, or any other random subject you could only discuss with comic book fans. And there is the issue for me of trying and support my local stores played into as well. I could get my comics for cheaper, and by saving money buy more comics, if I bought them online. I prefer to get my floppies through my comic book store, but when it comes to trades and hardcovers I usually order through Amazon to save money.
J: So camaraderie definitely plays a role in your buying habits. That said, if someone else’s read of a book differed from yours, how did you guys resolve your differences? Or did you not?
Z: Talk it out. When it comes to my close friends, I respect their opinion and listen to why they do or do not like said comic. I guess when it is people I don’t know, it I am a lot less apt to respect what they are saying. Like for your blog, I enjoy reading it because of lot of your reviews line up with what I think. I guess I try and gauge how much a person is willing to listen to me when I get into a discussion. Some Fanboys cannot be reasoned with.
J: Do you think you could ever drop comics “cold turkey”? Have you ever tried?
Z: I don’t want to ever drop comic books. I can see removing some from my hold and switch over to reading just trades. When I filled up my first long box it was defiantly something that turned into a collection mentality for the first time.
J: Wrapping up: if you could give a word of advice to anyone looking to start their own collection, what would it be?
Z: When I started reading I wanted to start at issue 1 with a series and that prevented me from reading some comics. Don’t hesitate to grab something like looks interesting, if you don’t like it, you are out about 4 bucks. And try something new, whether it is a review you read online, or something you see on the self, a lot of time you will be pleasantly surprised.
If YOU would like to enter the fancave and let YOUR voice be heard, drop me a line at the address below!