Get to know your local fanboys and fangirls

Fan boy/girl confessions from local musicians and other peeps around town.

DJ Jeff Stewart, host of "Rhythm Vault International" on WMNF-FM 88.5 Not sure if "graphic novels" fit in to your piece, but here's my story: A number of years ago I suffered a painful back injury that rendered me bedridden for a week. The constant pain, spasms and meds made it impossible to relax or even focus on a good book. A great friend brought over several stacks of alternative comics and so-called graphic novels. A stroke of genius on his part. I had enjoyed comic books as a kid, but had long lost interest in the "tights & fights" superhero stuff, but this stuff was altogether different. By now, lots of folks have heard of Daniel Clowes, but this was before the movies Ghost World and Art School Confidential had been released, and it was all new (and fantastic and hilarious) to me. I became an instant convert to Clowes and his "Eight Ball" comics, as well as the equally amazing but underappreciated Kim Deitsch (and others).

Bradley Gilmore, Rise of Saturn I used to play superhero with my friends as a kid.
I would cut three holes in the back of my mom's various gloves stick pens through the holes and claim I was "the best there is at what I do but what I do isn't very nice" (classic Wolverine.) The majority of the songs I've written for Rise of Saturn deals with comic books. Listen to and it's littered with comic book references. The album is Called Sex, Drugs and Comic Books, doesn't get any better than that.

If there was one thing I was sure about in life, it was that my mutant powers would manifest at puberty just as they did to the mutants in marvel comics X-Men. I'd imagine myself with various powers, which would be the one I would get? Maybe I'd be able to shoot concussive force blasts from my eyes like cyclops. Maybe I'd develop a healing factor which would let me heal any wound and slow down the aging process like Wolverine.

... Comic books in general served as a escape from reality, but X-Men comics always seem to keep you grounded in reality. Hands down X-Men and its expanded universe has the best stories I have ever read. Period(.)

They dealt with real life issues because just because you had superpowers didn't mean you we're not a person. Captain America had the red skull. Thor had Loki. But who was the X-Men's biggest villain? Magneto? nope. Apocalypse? no sir. Toad? don't make me laugh. The biggest villain the X-men ever faced was bigotry and hatred. People loathed mutants just because they we're different, which is something we all can relate to. Everyone at sometime has felt like an outsider, being hated for being you is something that was faced in every issue. In fact the mutant population has been reduced from millions to less than 200. Mutants are an endangered species.

In Uncanny X-Men #303 a deadly disease called the legacy virus, took the life of a little mutant girl.
This disease which was only thought deadly to mutants, was soon reveled that non-mutant humans could contract it too. Sound familiar? This was in the mid 90's when the AIDS epidemic was running rampant. The events in the book paralleled real life.

When I was about 17, I lost my uncle to complications from HIV. He was only in his 30s when he passed, and that issue hit really close to home.

Although he never actually came back to life, I can't pick up a comic book without remembering him.
which is real enough for me.

Comic books can make you laugh.
Comic books can make you cry.
Comic books can make you think.
Comic books can make you.

My name is Brad Gilmore and I love Comic books.

... Y Los Pistoles' Derek Forrester and Shae Krispinsky, according to Shae, that is

Derek: a huge Howard Stern fanboy; he gets out of sorts when he can't listen to an episode. He's obsessed with a Star Wars vs. Star Trek fan fic, the graphic novel Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn, and gave many hours to reading the fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice.

Shae: I have a huge comic-book crush on Commissioner Jim Gordon, am a complete Indiana Jones fangirl (I even sat through The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull twice!) and I quote or reference Calvin and Hobbes more than I probably should. I own Invader Zim and Gir plush dolls, and am trying to get Derek to dress up with me as Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters for Halloween (I would be Adam, of course).

David Jenkins, Jobsite Theater Artistic Director: I think I kinda qualify as a giant, giant fan nerd. I claim anything below as a nerdy obsession. By that I mean I consume it regularly and with much(o) gusto, and most likely own crap (toys, T-shirts, games etc) associated with it.

TV: it used to be stuff like X-files, Twin Peaks (<3 I have the DVD collections of those) and is now Dexter, Games of Thrones.

Movies: wow, so many franchises — Star Wars (perhaps me at my most fanboy, I have an operational R2 unit in my office), Ghostbusters, Harry Potter, and pretty much anything adapted from a comic book. And then maybe what's sad to admit is a fanboy crush on a fanboy's work. Kevin Smith's stuff is something hard not to love. I think my fanboy at this point isn't even related to the quality of all of his work, but maybe jealousy that he gets to do all of that and I don't.

Books: Neil gaiman, Clive barker, JK Rowling, and I'm just now getting into the Fire and Ice books that Game of Thrones is based on. My wife might be more the lit fangirl: she's read all the Sookie books, Harry Potter, Dexter, Twilight ...

Which brings me to comics. Oh comics. I collected comic books RELIGIOUSLY until I was around 25. From the time I was probably around 10? As a kid I loved Ghost Rider, Spiderman, and pretty much any of the mutant X titles. As I got older, like many mainstream comic book kids, the older cool dudes passed on to me The Watchmen which blew my mind, and my innocence was forever lost. Next thing you know you want to see Robin dead and Rogue with no clothes on.

Later in my teen years til I stopped collecting I was really I to the Neil Gaiman comics and related spinoffs (Sandman, Death, The Dreaming), Alan Moore stuff (V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). So, yeah, that dark turn stuck with me.

I still consider myself a fanboy in a lot of ways. But more of the elderstatesman fanboys. I've seen all of the Marvel movies building the characters up for The Avengers, for example, but I haven't rea any of the Ultimate comics that the plots were taken from, because they came after "my day." I do have digital copies of all the Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman books on my Kindle though.

Kieran Walsh, President of Tampa Two-Stroke Scooter Club Superheroes and the universe they dwell in has always been and will be an undying love for me. If I could have packed a bag and moved to Gotham City I would have. If I can be honest and proud, I will tell you I’d don a cape and attempt to stomp the baddies under the foot of justice.

The notion of a super soldier serum, an x gene, or radioactive spider bit might help considerably, I’d prefer my internal power fueled by my own idol worship of super heroics. In the current year of 2012 about 33 years after I read my first comic, my notion of what one needs to be a superhero has not changed one iota.

The foundation of all the superheroes I hold near and dear is self-sacrifice — putting your neck out for the other guy who needs help. We all know it’s an event or a trauma acting as a catalyst, to make our everyday man become the not so-everyday-man, but that passion to right against injustice is what makes a man a superhero. Bad guys sometimes have superpowers, even “super-beings” for that fact, but what separates a superhero from all other super beings is his or hers actions. Standing up for what’s right, and never looking at personal gain and using these power to help others – that is awe inspiring and beyond super. I still dream about what my first super adventure will be, perhaps when I am done with it you’ll see it in Creative Loafing, or on the news and hear someone say, “Thanks to the masked hero who saved the day."

I've known people from all walks of life and so many are not-so-closeted obsessives of comics and other geeky, netherworld entertainments. When we were working on our "Geek Out" issue with a cover feature on Emerald City Comics by Anthony Salveggi and stories about the store's recommendations, free comic book day, the recent Star Wars "May the Fourth Be With You" hoopla and Joe Bardi's Avengers review (and a bonus feature on Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, also by Salveggi, online only), I asked some friends via Facebook to reveal their inner fanboy and fangirl.

Here are some of the responses local musicians Sam Williams, Shae and Derek from ... Y Los Dos Pistoles, Bradley Gilmore, Rise of Saturn, along with "Rhythm Vault International" WMNF DJ Jeff Stewart, Jobsite Artistic Director David Jenkins and Tampa Two-Stroke scooter club honcho Kieran Walsh.

Sam Williams, ubiquitous punk/metal musician (Down by Law, Pseudo Heroes, The Spears, Exitsect): I've been collecting comic since my earliest memories. For whatever reason, the aesthetic has always appealed to me. But comics have always served a different purpose for each phase of my life. When I was very young, I'd go to the flea market with my dad and hit up the used book store that always had a ton of beat-up, cheap comics. When I got a little older, I started collecting seriously and attending conventions. The comic subculture and it's surrounding relatives are totally fascinating to me. At this point I have several thousand. Now that I'm older, I still attend conventions when I can. And I still love getting comics, though not as rabidly as I used to.

There's a big nostalgia trip involved. But I've also come to see comics as a valid, purely American art form that I respect deeply. Very much along the lines of horror movies I grew up watching or punk rock and metal that I've grown up loving and playing, comics give a quick rush of entertainment that's somehow sophisticated and low brow at the same time.

Watching the trend of comics being made into successful blockbusters is very amusing to me. Much like pop punk, I always knew that a comic translated onto the big screen would be something sort of universally enjoyed if done right. But it really took film makers forever to catch on. I remember the older attempts were always terrible. They would always try to change fundamental aspects of the characters (mainly toning down the costumes, which is essential to super hero stuff) because they couldn't fathom that the buying public wanted to see dudes in capes flying around just as they are in the comics. One of my claims to fame is that I have a printed letter in one of the early issues of Walking Dead telling the creator that his comic would make a great movie or TV show.
And let it be known that I'm a DC man, all the way.

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