Spaced, the couch, and why I don’t know what’s happening in comic books.

This evening I am watching Spaced. Not just watching, sitting on the couch like a lump and consuming it. Have you ever watched Spaced? It's pretty much perfect, at least in my book. Damn funny. I'm sitting here with my friends, seeing if we can spot the film references. For the most part, I'm spacing out (heh, sorry) and my brother is pointing out the clever film references because I'm too lazy to do even that. So far we've watched 7 episodes, I'm probably going to watch more. This is a brilliant use of my time, *cough*. Clearly I am feeling really damn useful right now. Obviously I wish I were feeling a bit more productive. It'd be great. I could have a clean house, filled with home-cooked food. Instead it's a mess, there's a fridge filled with stale birthday cake and mouldy leftover pie from thanksgiving. I think I've got some kind of post/pre-holidays hangover. Is that possible?

Wouldn't it be nice if I were more useful? I could be writing something informative and insightful about comic books. Believe me, I've tried. I tried all day. But for some reason, I didn't seem to have it in me… I wish I did. I wish all sorts of things. I wish I'd hung up my clothes when I changed after work, but I chucked them on the bed and walked away. I wish I'd cooked a nice hot dinner, instead of ordering sushi (not because I wanted it, but mostly because someone would deliver it.) I wish I'd finished reading the books that I want to review next week (and I'm enjoying them, so I've got no idea why I'm not reading them)… The thing is, I want to be useless for a bit, I want to be doing nothing and relax. I'm happy to watch stupid amounts of an old tv show that I love, look online for new sneakers I won't buy, read about sad celebrities and their shitty little lives, and generally waste time. All of this fabulous time wastage is brought to me via the amazing internets. It's fantastic.

Now with all of this online time wasting joy to be had, you'd think I'd be reading about comic books. I love them, I write about them, why wouldn't I want to read reviews, get info about new books, and generally immerse myself in the online comic book lore to be had? I know I should like this, but I don't, I don't know why, but I just can't. I try, I do. Friends send me links to articles, and interviews, I skim them, but I can't seem to get into them like all the other ephemera I happily consume online. It's just not part of my daily routine I suppose, I never got into it.

When I started reading comic books, there weren't really comic shops. Not ones that I knew about anyway. So I had no one to tell me what to read, I just bought what looked good on the shelves, what appealed… I don't know, I suppose it was pretty random, but that's how I learned to like comic books. When I started shopping in actual, specialized comic shops, I'd politely listen to recommendations, but rarely act upon them. It just wasn't in my nature to trust a stranger to tell me what to read, and more importantly, I found that if I'd heard too much about a comic book before I read it, then I'd inevitably be disappointed by the actual thing. This attitude seems to have carried over (pretty assertively) to the way I feel about comic books on the internet. Basically, I don't like spoilers, I live in a slight fear of them actually, because I so want to be surprised by my comic books (ideally; pleasantly surprised). I want to discover them for myself, not be told what to read or why to like something. If I miss the odd thing because I didn't read about it on a comic book website, well… then I'm sure that eventually I'll stumble across it in my endless browsing at the comic shop. Worst case scenario; one of my friends will tell me about it at some point.

And there's the important part of the equation. I might be uninterested in scouring the internet for comic book inside news, but I'm perfectly happy to ask my friends what on earth is going on. They're great, they send links to articles that they think I might like, they explain what's going on with the big events that I can't be bothered to read. They discuss how characters that I don't read any more are evolving. It's true that sometimes I'm a bit late to the party (I only recently found out that Superman is married to Lois – how is this even physically possible?!, and that Batman really did die – I thought that was just some alternate reality bollocks!), but at some point I usually figure it out. Thank god for my comic book loving friends. Since you're reading this, it's possible that you're someone who reads about comic books online. Maybe you keep up with industry news and opinions, reviews and upcoming events. If you do, feel free to share the salient stuff, because for all you know, your comic loving friends find reading industry sites as much of a turn off as I do, and they're just waiting for you to tell them what time it is.



Sonia Harris wastes her time on the internet in San Francisco. When she moved there from London, they didn't really have the internet yet, so she didn't do that then, even though she was just as much of a procrastinator… Which leads one to wonder how we wasted time before we had the internet? Please let her know (via email, or the comments below) what's going on in the world of comics, because she probably has no clue.


  1. I completely understand. I didnt watch the last five minutes of this weeks video podcast about Cap because I’m two issues behind in Reborn.

  2. I haven’t seen Spaced, though I’ve got it in the Netflix queue.  My recent fave is The Might Boosh, more crazy Brit stuff, a smash up of Red Dwarf, Monty Python, and The Young Ones, or along those lines.  I do read/listen to reviews, hence I’m a fan of Ifanboys.  I don’t like spoilers though.   I don’t have the time, energy, or money to wade through a lot of stuff and would like to know what’s best out there.  There’s so much stuff/media/ pop culture, it’s hard to keep up.

  3. Spaced is amazing and a much better use of your time than reading CBR and newsarama. They’re fine to browse once in a while, but to be fair, they don’t even post that much daily content. Keep watching/reading great stuff and let the rest fall to the side.

  4. Loooooooooooove Spaced.

  5. you know, one of the options on the dvd is to have captions that tell you what the references are. Made my viewing far more enjoyable.

  6. Adore Spaced, have for many years.  Love the episode the still’s from too…

    "What did you want to be when you grew up?"


    "A Monkey?"

    "No, Monkey.  Oh no, dagagadididadada got a headache!  You?"


    "That’s stupid, he’s a bloke!"

    Genius, right there.

  7. I am muddi900 and I approve of doing nothing but watch Spaced.

  8. Spaced was a great show, very easy to sucked into watching.

  9. I was sold on Spaced just a few minutes in when there was the "How We doing?" "Same as always" exchange right out of Return of the Jedi. 

  10. Spaced has got to be one of my favorite shows of all time. OF ALL TIME!

  11. I find myself constantly dissappointed by nearly every comic book news site out there, and I’m constantly grateful to for culling out the crap and giving me only the good stuff.

  12. One more thing to add to my ever-growing Netflix queue.

    I completely understand about not wanting to spend a lot of Internet time perusing comics news websites. Most comic fans probably spend more time doing that than actually reading comics on a weekly basis, myself included. I try to keep my online comics browsing to iFanboy and perhaps occasionally check the headlines on CBR and Comics Reporter. I’ve stopped checking Newsarama.

  13. My favorite episode is #5 season2. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I also recommend IT Crowd if anyone hasn’t seen that.

  14. I hate to be really nerdy here and i know this isn’t really what Sonia was discussing but if you like Spaced you should check out Black Books. Kind of similar but with a little more venom in the humour

  15. Batman didn’t really die. It is some alternate-reality/timeline-messing like you suspected.

    There’s some good things to read about online regarding comics. I enjoy iFanboy because it generally isn’t geared toward bitching/orgasming over recently leaked solicitations. In that respect, it’s head-and-shoulders over message boards and over Newsarama and CBR, the latter of which is the center of hate/snobbishness in the comic book internet universe as far as I’m concerned. On the other hand, there’s, which isn’t that popular but I find that it has the BEST PROFESSIONAL NON-SPOILER REVEIWS, period. It’s an awesome site as far as reviews go–totally spoiler-free, and the writing’s really thoughtful.

    I too share Sonia’s nostalgia for thinking back to how I used to choose what comics to read, pre-internet. It was a funner time (yes, in this case "FUNNER" does apply). Relatedly, I’m frequently reminded of how all us little kids–nearly a million a month–used to read Chris Claremont’s X-Men, and how much FUN we used to have trying to figure out the continuity. Complicated continuity was FUN back then, when we were KIDS. Today we have wikipedia and other instant-solution services, yet us grownups are so loathe to figure out which issue takes place when in relation to another issue, or who’s who, etc. When we were kids, figuring out that stuff wasn’t frustrating. It was FUN and it got us to use our detective skills and our imaginations.

  16. Spaced is my favorite show ever. I actually just rewatched the whole series last week. My wife and I basically ARE Tim and Daisy. I feel like they made that show just for me. 

  17. Spaced is amazing – probably my second favorite Brit import series (The Office is still the ultimate IMO). If that’s the US box set released about a year or so ago, be sure to check out the commentaries. Just about as funny as the episodes.

    I can’t remember the days before the comics internet. Well, I do, but I wasn’t into the news and wherewithall back then. Sure, there’s some that’s interesting and useful (the whole Waid/FF thing a few years back) and then there’s some that’s just filler to bump up hit rates (really? ANOTHER interview pimping creator A’s second issue of a just-launched title?) One good thing, though – it does kill time while I’m waiting at work.

  18. I’m going to have to go and watch Spaced for the 100th time after reading this article. So much for this weekend.

  19. Also, if you go to the subtitles section of the Spaced DVDs, they have an option for an "homage-o-meter" that points out all the references during the show. 

  20. Spaced could have used a extra length special to cap off the series as a whole.  Much like The Office and Extras, I feel that 6 or so episodes per season with a special finale is a really great formula.  If you haven’t seen Spaced, seek it out and watch it.  High quality television. 

  21. Best line:

    Brian: So you had sex before you kissed?

    Daisy and Tims: (Shit!!) Yeah…

  22. Skip to the end.

  23. watched Spaced when it first came out. as a north londoner, i recognised the scenario. it was great. anyone who likes it should try Green Wing.

  24. @lobo Me too mate! Shaun of the Dead was filmed right where I lived, in Crouch End. It’s bloody mental seeing your yard in a film, innit?

  25. I was just this very evening watching a film that was made in my neighborhood. Terrible film, and I’ve seen what the street looks like, and yet I cannot peel myself away.

  26. @sonia. how could you leave the glamour of crouch end for california? i’m around the corner next to the harringay ladder. they made a film about the turkish mafia that featured the area but i don’t think there’s ever going to be a Vertigo/Bullitt made around here!

  27. @lobo No way! I lived around there too for about 6 months. I think it was Falkland Road, right around the time some nutter was stabbing girls on their way to work, (as if walking to Turnpike Lane tube wasn’t shitty enough at 8am, without the threat of some bastard stabbing you to death.) It’s true, I do not miss the glamor of London.