By Beau Smith

If you’re readin’ this column it means that you’re into comic books in some form or another. You’re a reader, a fan, a creator, or even on the business end. Maybe all the above.

Or maybe ya just love lookin’ at my manly picture and wishin’ you were me, or could be with me.

I’m sure at one point in your life you’ve had the situation come up where you’ve had to defend your love of comics. I know I have.

I find it odd that someone can look down at me for bein’ a full grown man that still reads comic books. Nine times out of ten that same person hasn’t really looked or read a comic book in decades. One of those deals where they are talkin’ out the side of their mouth and they haven’t really done their research on what they are questioning.

I might add? they don’t look down at me for long? a kick to the shins and a uppercut soon remedy that.

I’m sure that same person started their conversation off with? “I remember when funny books were a nickel.”

I grimace and ball up my fist every time I hear that. They were NEVER a nickel, ya mouth breathin’ nit wit.

In Asia, Europe, and rest of the world it is not a sign of geekdom or nerdville to be seen readin’ or carryin’ around a comic book. On the train, bus, cabs, cafes? anywhere? you’ll see full grown adults with comics. Other countries look at them as they do movies, TV Shows, books? as a legit form of pop culture entertainment. And they ARE!

Why is it that here in the good ol’ USA do people still look down on comics? Even Hollywood, which has made billions off of turnin’ comic properties into fantastic films, still complains in the press about what the comic books geeks will say. I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda’ sick of that load of donkey dump.

On one hand they want to jump in bed with ya and on the other they don’t think they have to kiss ya first. I don’t like being treated like the ugly girl with the great body that the stud wants to knock nasties with, but insists I put a bag over my head first. It don’t work that way,pal.

I don’t understand how millions of people will go see films like Lord Of The Rings and Spider-Man, but they won’t read a comic book. Same with video games. Millions are sold, but they won’t read a comic book that gives them related entertainment. These same people will gladly tell you that they went to this film or play that video game without an ounce of shame, but ask them to read a comic book about the same material and they will stick up that nose so fast it’ll make your head spin.

One of my brothers is a perfect example. He’s around my age. He sees every sci-fi, horror, action adventure movie that comes out. He watches em’ on TV, he buys the DVDs. I gave him a few comics to read. He said he’d try em’. I checked back with him a week later.

He said he really liked em’. He loved the art and said that the stories were really good. I then asked him if he thought that he might start readin’ or buyin’ comics. He looked at me like I was askin’ him to eat muddy worms. He said no. I said why not. He informed me that only kids and geeks read comic books. Then he back peddled when he remembered just who he was talkin’ to.

Now ya know why I tormented my younger brothers when we were growin’ up.

Thing is, most of America feels that way and I don’t like it. Everybody reads the daily and Sunday funnies in the newspapers. They will gladly admit that, but ask em’ if the read comic books and they’ll look at ya like ya had three heads. I don’t understand it.

I’m proud of reading comics. I’m proud in the fact that there are comic books for every taste. I’m proud that I work in comics and still have a job in it after 17 years. Thank goodness nobody has caught on to me yet.

I want you to be proud too. I don’t want you to be afraid to been seen with your comic books in hand. It ain’t like ya were caught shuckin’ the corn in the bathroom by your parents. Readin’ comics is somethin’ everyone should freely admit that they do. It’s good for your eyes? unlike rubbin’ the wrinkles out? they say it’ll make ya go blind? just a nasty rumor? trust me.

Granted, things are better today than they were 20-30 years ago. But they should be a lot better. It should take this much time and effort.

I don’t have any pat answer for this. I wish I did. I try. I always try and put the most attractive light on comics that I can. I strongly believe that word of mouth is the very best way to promote comic books. Right now, more than ever we have a handful of innovative retailers out there doin’ a killer job of bringin’ in new readers. We’ve got new publishers out there fillin’ a void that needed filled with comics that are different and that bring in non-traditional readers. I wanna see more readers out there sellin’ comics to others. Do I sound like some backwoods preacherman? maybe? so what? I want more people readin’ comics and bein’ proud of it.

I want you as a reader to start passin’ the good word to others. With technology like it is I’d love to see everyone that reads or buys comics to write a letter or send an email to a newspaper, news site, TV station, magazines? anywhere where it can be seen by others and sing the song of comics. If everyone did this I think others would pay attention. Let folks know that there is something really great out there waiting for them to read. Promote comics, Push comics, preach comics, be a friggin’ cheerleader! Hike up that skirt and show off those shapely legs, shake those pom poms, do that split! Root the home team of comics on to victory.

What can it hurt? It don’t cost ya anything to write a letter but time. Surely you have 5 minutes for comics.

If ya got some comics that ya don’t want anymore? give to someone that doesn’t read comics. Give em’ to a library? or one of my favorite things to do? give em’ to a barber shop. That’s a great place to discover comics.

All I’m askin’ ya to do is just that? DO!

Put your mouth in overdrive and rev up that comic book promotin’ machine. Talk a good game. Walk the walk. Put your comics where your mouth is. Don’t be a part of the silent majority? come on? Rah Rah Sis-Boom-BEAU!

Form that human pyramid and get the word out. Right now I’m askin’ real nice like. Next time I won’t. It’s your choice? Cheer me? Or Fear me.

I ain’t hard to find.

Your thoughts and any photos of cheerleaders should be sent to me there at the ranch?


The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

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About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin