Studies show that scientists are among the top professions that claim caffeine as an integral component to their daily routine. Well if that’s so then make mine a double. For those that listen to my podcast Science… sort of you’ll know that we take pride in our weekly alcoholic drink of choice, and perhaps the reason for that is during any given day we’re all pounding down coffee, tea, or Red Bull just to keep moving forward. We scientists ask our brains for a lot, and expect a lot in return, so it’s only fair that we feed them the good stuff during the day. And if they cooperate they get the better stuff in the evening. But what am I really getting at? Basically, it’s that I’m tired.
It seems that not a month goes by where some columnist here or elsewhere goes on a rant (justified or otherwise) about overall malaise or fatigue with funnybooks. But while that opinion may be justified from the insular iFanperspective, what are we really complaining about?
It seems that we’re complaining that there’s too much of our preferred form of entertainment OR that there’s not the exact right type of comic coming out from either of the major publishers. Correct me if I’m wrong (it’s what comments are for), but that sounds like some nonsense to me. It’s either, “there’s too much of my entertainment” or “the narrow spectrum I prefer isn’t exactly what I want in this moment.”
First let me clear something up. If either of those two quotes sum up your feelings, I want you to know I’m not attacking you. At all. However, I do have some advice. If you find yourself amongst the first quote, you’re suffering from what we call “an embarrassment of riches.” As a geologist, I get doubly excited letting the stuff pile up leaving me with a stratigraphic column of entertainment. All that stack means is a) you can save money if you can manage the self-control required to not buy more books and b) you have more options the next time you get sick or find yourself bored on a cold, rainy Sunday. So I’m not seeing a lot of valid excuses for group 1. As for the second quote, it’s been said time and time again, there are more comics than the big 2. If you don’t like what DC and Marvel are giving you, find something else. If you can’t find anything you like, it’s possible that comics aren’t for you. But in reality, if you can’t find anything you like you’re just not trying hard enough, there’s such a glut of quality comics of every variety that I promise there is something on the market for you. If there really isn’t, you can make your own, it’s the beauty of comics, but that’s another column entirely.
But back to me, because I am the guy typing, right? My problem isn’t either of the above statements. I already mentioned my weird, loving relationship to my stack, and Marvel/DC entertain me more often than not. My problem is that I’m actually just exhausted. Not tired of comics, but literally tired. So what’s a guy in my position to do? I don’t have a commute during which I can read. I live about 6-7 minutes from the lab by bike. When I get home it’s usually a hassle to even make food, which I need to survive, so how much leisure time can I spare for comics? Yet when I found myself hanging out with some fellow nerds last week (an experience I rarely get and greatly cherish) I was told, “Dude, sounds like you read a lot of comics.”
And maybe I do, who can judge? I doubt anyone has done a rigorous study on the average number of comics read per person per week, right? If so, let me know; if not, give me money to do it. I don’t keep hard and fast numbers even for myself. I grab whatever looks good in the moment, pretty unscientific but I guess we all have our lapses. The point is, I don’t have a lot of free time, so maybe comics just work for me. Fitting in an hour long TV show once a week is a chore, forget actually going to the movies, but I can take a 10 minute break with a single issue. So maybe that’s a trick. Find a job that affords no free time, even on weekends, thus allowing you only spurts to read comics on any given day.
Also, exercise, because that’s just important, regardless of how much time you spend. Ron reads comics on the treadmill, just saying.
But what’s a guy to do? I picked a career that requires a lot of dense reading, writing, and thinking. I love it, but it’s exhausting. I picked a hobby that involves a lot of reading, writing, thinking and talking. I love it too, but it’s exhausting. Between my job (science) and my hobby (writing about comics and podcasting) I barely have time to read the actual books. Is it time to cut back? I’ve considered it, but it’s not my style. I’m not trying to overwhelm myself, if I’m not busy I’d get bored and possibly die, yet it can be a bit much. I guess I just need to find a way to eliminate my body’s need for sleep. Scratch my earlier funding request; I have a new project in mind…
Ryan Haupt has yet to mimic Jason Wood’s ability to fit 36 hours into 24, but there are days he wishes he could. If you want a podcast that gives you 1.5x the content of a normal show, try Science… sort of.