You know how, in movies, when something strange happens and the tough guy hero looks at his partner over the top of his sunglasses and says, meaningfully, "I don't believe in coincidences..."? Well, I do. Sometimes strange shit just happens. But lately I've gotten the feeling someone (or thing) is trying to tell me something. What that might be, I have no idea, but let's just say I'm paying attention.
The past couple of weeks, I've been seeing Mike-related things everywhere I go. Now, to be fair, I do frequent comic shops and that would tend to increase the odds of this happening. But it's the way it's been happening that's freaking me out. A couple of weeks ago, Suze and I were at Nostalgia Plus for my weekly four-color fix and I started roaming around the store to see if anything different would scream, "Buy me!" In a pile of comics waiting to be filed away was an issue of THE FLASH. Though I'd bought the book faithfully for years, I quit when they restarted it with a new number-one issue about a year or so ago. This was one of the issues published after I'd quit. I picked it up on a whim and opened it to a page at random. Boom. I'd opened it directly to the two-page tribute to Mike by Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn. Coincidence? Maybe.
But the next week, I was back at the shop, hanging out with my friend Marvin as he picked out a copy of the newly-released OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE. I watched as he flipped rapid-fire through the pages and used his thumb to stop the pages turning when the color section started. Boom. The page he'd stopped on was the Hall of Fame entry for Mike in the back. He didn't do it deliberately. I was watching and his stopping on that page was completely unintentional. In fact, he almost didn't notice but I yelped in surprise and pointed out that all the covers on the spread were Mike's. Coincidence? Getting harder to swallow.
This past weekend, Suzanne and I were at Wal-Mart (yeah, yeah...) buying stuff for an Easter basket for some friends when we passed the greeting card aisle. There, on the very end of the aisle, almost at my eye-level was this card:
I'd recognize that style anywhere. It was, of course, Mike's drawing. I always told Mike he was born to draw Spider-Man. His iconic interpretation of the character was up there with Romita's and a natural for merchandising. (In fact, I was more irked than Mike when they stopped paying him for merchandising art and just started using his covers for free. He just took it in stride.) I don't normally even give the greeting card section a second glance but something made me look. What are the odds? I mean, in a comic shop, I'm sort of asking for it. But in Wal-Mart?
This is starting to freak me out.