If you’re looking for something to do this weekend (besides watching WNBA playoff games, that is), I have a suggestion, courtesy of Heather Hogan. Saturday is International Read Comics in Public Day.
I happen to know that for Heather, every day is Read Comics in Public Day, because she is a part of an elite group of readers who understand that comic books are, in fact, a legitimate form of literature. In many cases, the storytelling in comics is far superior to the kind most people read in public.
Read Comics in Public Day started as a joke, when Brian Heater and Sarah Morean from The Daily Cross Hatch talked about Brian reading novels on the train because he was too embarrassed to read comics in public, despite being part of the comics industry. The admission has since turned in to a sort of National Coming Out Day for comic book readers. So, of course, we have to get on board.
I read comic books in public simply because I can’t stand waiting to see what happens in my stories from the time I pick up my books at the comic store to the time I get home. Hey, 20 minutes is a long time when you’re about to find out what’s in Julie’s secret box. So, I head for the Starbucks a few blocks away.
But I confess that I relate to what NPR’s Linda Holmes admitted in her blog. She said that she recently grabbed some comic books to read on the subway.
“When I took them out to read, I noticed something. Unconsciously, I had selected books of a certain type. A type that can best be called: I am a Special Smartypants*, Comics Edition. They were, all five of them, dense, serious, black-and-white comics about war and art and history and social class and blah.”
As she thought about it, she couldn’t even remember the last time she read a superhero book — and she loves superhero books.
“Clearly, then, my subconscious is a rank poseur. Who still cares enough about what others might think about his reading material to unconsciously self-edit his public choices. My subconscious, bless him, also clings to the downright laughable idea that the kind of tiresome, ungenerous people who’d judge me for reading comics would distinguish between, say, Footnotes in Gaza and Fantastic Four.”
You know, I have a sudden desire to read Fantastic Four.
As if Read Comics in Public Day could be any more awesome, those wonderful folks who brought you DC Women Kicking Ass came up with their own spin: a Women Read Comics in Public Tumblr to fill with pictures of women — you guessed it — reading comics in public. And we are totally glomming on that to have a subset, Lesbians Read Comics in Public, right here at AfterEllen.com.
Heather, we know that’s you. We want pictures of other lesbians reading comics in public, mm-kay?
(I have no idea whether that chick is gay. I don’t care.)
Anyway, here’s what we’d like you to do. Grab some comics and go somewhere public to read them. Get someone in said public to take a picture of you reading it (or, if you have long arms, take it yourself) and post it here. (You, too, AfterEllen.com bloggers!)
Will you be a part of Read Comics in Public Saturday?