Comic Book Hero

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In popular media, the people who own and frequent comic book shops are often depicted as fat, nerdy and uncoordinated. This is, of course, a generalization. It may well be a correct generalization, but it is a generalization, nonetheless.

As rebuttal to this picture, I would like to call the reader’s attention to a story that recently came to us from “across the pond”. No, not Lake Meredith, the big pond, the Atlantic. Or, possibly, the Pacific. No, no, I’m pretty sure it’s the Atlantic.

Anyway, according to the British newspaper “The Sun” (and when you read news from a newspaper that is most famous for having topless models on page 3 you know the source is reliable, right?) a man walked into an Australian comic book store [see, that’s what threw me: Australia’s on the other side of the Pacific, but the news article was from London which—unless it’s been moved—is on the other side of the Atlantic*] and tried to steal a comic book worth 97 pounds (18.7 liters in American).

What he didn’t reckon on, though, was that the owner of the shop in question was dressed as Spider-Man. The owner, Michael Baulderstone, was dressed in complete Spidey regalia, including wearing glasses UNDER his mask, and he quickly jumped into action and asked someone else for help.

Luckily for him, there were two Jedi Knights (I’m not kidding) standing near the door who blocked the egress (or, as they say in Britain, “mallard”) of the miscreant and held him there with their plastic light-sabres until the police (or bobbies, or whatever they call them in Australia) could arrive and break down laughing. According to the article, once the police stopped laughing, they hauled away the would-be comic book thief.

Two things disturb me about this article. One is that the thief never left the store with the comic book. Now, I learned a long time ago from “The Andy Griffith Show” that you never make an arrest inside the store because the person can always claim they were going to buy the item. You make your arrest on the outside of the store. The other thing that disturbs me is that, no where in the article, do they mention what the comic book was. I would think it would be quite interesting to know what sort of comic book weighs 97 pounds.

Now, I feel imminently qualified to comment on this article because I am the author and artist for “Burt & the I.L.S.”, an online comic book which attracts as many as more than one reader a day. As such, I have been known to go into a comic book shop now and then and, while I can verify that it is likely that you would meet someone dressed as Spider-Man in such a place, I must express doubt about said person’s ability to thwart a robbery. But then, I’ve never been to Australia and it could very well be that they have an entirely different class of nerd there.

*I suppose you can get to London by flying over the Pacific but it’ll take longer and the baggage fees will be incredible!