Manchild: X-Manc

Manchild: X-Manc

Posted by June 4, 2009 Comment


Age: 26  Height: Not very tall   Weight: 9 stone or so BMI: ?

I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about comics. My reading habits are pretty varied, Scalped is probably the best thing I buy every month, but somehow my thoughts always return to the X-Men. Recently I started rereading all my X-Men collection, going from the Chris Claremont omnibus up to today. I don’t think that the characters are real, I don’t fantasize about joining the team, but nonetheless when I’m staring into space it’s a fair bet that I’m thinking about the X-Men. Thinking about what an awesome comic X-Force is, against all odds. Analysing why Chris Claremont wrote such brilliant character studies in the 80s but sucks so badly at miniseries or writing characters that other writers have also shaped. Wondering what I have to do for Rockslide to be given his own comic. Tearing my hair out at the thought of how frustrating it must have been when Grant Morrison and Chuck Austen were writing X-Men at the same time, I mean how did Austen sleep at night working in Morrison’s shadow like that and failing so spectacularly?

p-buchan-blackoutSo I think about the X-Men too much. Whenever I can milk an intelligent conversation out of the subject I do so, but I don’t go around ranting to strangers about how overused Magneto is, or moaning about how the Wolverine film strayed from the source material. In fact I like to think of myself as putting an acceptable face on geekdom. I’m married, I have a 6 month old son. I clean my teeth regularly, shower every morning, say please and thank you. I acquired an obscene graphic novel collection while working at Travelling Man in Newcastle, but I choose to use my powers for the greater good. I work at a library now and run reading groups teaching teenagers about comics and manga. We have a limited budget but the kids have boundless enthusiasm, so I bring them in graphic novels from home to borrow and try not to worry if they crease the corners. I encourage them to learn about small press and DIY comics. I try to convince the manga kids to learn about Japan and aspire to travel. I tell them about conventions and meets, local comic shops, forums, the importance of not anally arguing about fictional characters. This can be more than a furtive backroom hobby if you let it, it can make you into part of a community, if only somebody points you in the right direction.

We spend our lives collecting and obsessing over all this escapist stuff, I figure the least we can do is give a little back. If it means people getting my comics a little grubby I can live with that. But they’d better not mess with my X-Men collection!

Philip Buchan, Manchester, UK

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About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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(Last Updated June 4, 2009 5:20 pm )

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