Monday, November 03, 2008

Groovy Library Goes Batty, Holds Cave-In

Who: Library staff.

What: Dress up as a Batman character.

When: 10/31/08

Where: Plattsburgh Public Library. The circulation desk is transformed into the Batcave.

Why: Halloween. (What else?)

Bibliothecarial Batmania.

Robin patrols the stacks for evildoers, especially biblioclasts. Time to turn over a new leaf, bad guys.

Poison Ivy: Itching for trouble.

The Joker shows Batman how to use the Screwy decimal system on the Batcomputer.

Purrfect pulchritude (but slightly cross-eyed. Too much catnip?)

Superhero no longer means super zero. What was considered uncool is now hip.

Reading comic books – especially in your teen years and after – was once looked upon as an activity to be shunned for the sake of humanity. Ostracism was guaranteed for anyone who followed the deeds of Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, et al.

A textbook in my high school business class discussed how to properly evaluate a company employee. If the candidate read comic books, obviously they were brain dead and should be let go. It was implied a comic book reader couldn’t answer a telephone. And death and destruction would surely ensue if such a lowbrow operated heavy machinery.

Comic books mean semi-illiteracy, an askew mindset. The medium even smacked of depravity. Decades ago imaginative fiction – especially if it was in the graphic panel form – was the bastard orphan of literature.

In the modern world they wrap the same kind of material, even goofy superhero tales, into a “graphic novel” format and it’s worthy of serious literary criticism and appreciation. Graphic novel readers can answer phones and even operate heavy machinery.

Thanks to the Hollywood movie machine it’s OK to spend $8 to watch someone run around in tights. Back in the old days spending 12 pennies on a Spider-Man comic book was a waste. Collecting baseball cards with incomprehensible and inconsequential stats in fine print on the back – that was normal.

Superheroes, science fiction, fantasy – it took decades for the public at large to realize that such stuff could have value. I was many years ahead of the curve – and paid for it.

Then again, popularity was never my thing.

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