Friday, May 18, 2007

What is this Mickey Mouse $#!*?

I'm not embarassed by my fondness for comics. Really I'm not. In my "office" at work, I have a TALES FROM THE CRYPT calendar on the wall. There's also a shelf holding my Bender, Iron Giant and ROM figures along with all my Harvey Comics bobbleheads. I also proudly display my SUPERMAN RETURNS poster where everyone can see it. But I go to great pains to prevent people thinking that's what I'm about. I don't walk around telling people that "with great power comes great responsibility." I don't spend hours telling everyone who will listen about what Sam Raimi got wrong in the first SPIDER-MAN movie. And, with the exception of my so-uncool-it's-cool Aquaman T-shirt, I don't wear comics-related clothing at work. And I absolutely don't rub people's noses in what's in the picture at the top of this post. (That's my albatross of a comic collection, which resides in my attic/office.)

It's a constant battle. People were shocked...SHOCKED!...when they found out that I hadn't seen SPIDER-MAN 3 after it had been in release for a whole week (and still haven't.) When the Richmond Times-Dispatch started inserting those nifty reprints of Lee and Ditko's Spider-Man run in the Sunday edition, I got two or three of them on my desk every morning for weeks. Every Christmas, friends give me little superhero knickknacks to clutter up my house when all I want is pair of dress socks. When that (admittedly amusing) Comcast commercial came on, the one with the ambiguously gay fellow in the Spidey suit interviewing for a potential roommate, I was horrified. Co-workers immediately wanted to know if I liked it.

"Nope," I said.


"Because I knew, the minute it came on, that everyone I knew saw it and instantly thought, 'Hey, that's Matt!"

"Yeah, I did!"

All this reminds me of a similar situation my first year at VCU. Back then, I had a burning desire to own a Mickey Mouse watch. I didn't know anybody else that had one and I thought it would be kind of retro-cool. So I got one. (And then proceeded to see one on the wrist of every other person I ran into, but that's beside the point.) I had just started dating the sister of my next-door neighbor, a cute highschool senior named Rebecca. She saw the watch and got me a keyring that was a little figurine of Mickey Mouse holding a videocamera. I was majoring in Film and Video Production and I guess she was trying to impress me. And I was impressed. But then it started to snowball. Between the watch and keyring, people I knew started thinking I had a Mickey fetish and started giving me all kinds of crap. I got T-shirts, sweatshirts, underwear, posters, notebooks, pencils...anything you can think of with Mickey Mouse on it, I probably had it. I got so I hated that f***ing mouse! I ended up getting rid of everything, including the watch. Just pitched it all out. The only thing I kept was the keyring, for sentimental reasons. Finally, I lost even that. And I wasn't really sorry to see it go.

That's how it's been with the comics. I read them. I draw them for fun. I enjoy the movies based on them. But it's not who I am. I have other interests. I run. I work out at the gym. I work on my house. I read mystery novels. So, please. If there's a God up there, and he's I absolutely do not want that Spider-Man Mr. Potato Head for Christmas.

Wouldn't mind a new Mickey Mouse watch, though.


Mike Wieringo said...

I remember all the MICKEY MOUSE stuff... especially your watch and the key ring. Ah, the good old days.... ;-)

Craig Zablo said...

Great post.

I love the line: "But I go to great pains to prevent people thinking that's what I'm about."

I feel the same way about comics... Sylvester Stallone... noir... dvds... and more.

Sum it all up and it's me though!

Matt Wieringo said...

Craig, thanks. People just love to stereotype, don't they? If you read comics, they automatically think you live in your mom's basement, don't shower and play videogames until four in the morning. And that's just not true. My Mom doesn't have a basement.

Ink Blatt said...

"And I absolutely don't rub people's noses in what's in the picture at the top of this post."

For a minute I thought you were talking about those lovely maps of yours. 'Cuz you're always axing me state capitals and then rubbing it in my face when I get 'em wrong. Bastard.

Yeah, I was kinda the same way with the Disney thing. Mainly, because of the dream to be an animator and when that dream died it was hard to shake that self-image with people. It pissed off an old girlfriend. "You used to be all cute and Disney, now you're all Stephen King and movie monsters." Ugh.