Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Product Placement

People who come over to my house will find a very messy one. My wife and I are just not great cleaners. It’s a simple fact. We let newspapers pile up, we seem to always have dishes in the sink and heavy coats on every chair, yes even in summer. And of course comics. I am not sure you could turn around in my apartment without seeing a comic or nearly killing yourself by slipping on one. While visitors might think the scattering of the four-color carpet is one of random happenstance it is a really a very precise system. O.k. maybe it’s not thought out for every corner of my one bedroom but for one room it definitely is.

The bathroom.

Oh yes, what goes onto the cabinet that stores hand soap, wash cloths and q-tips is something I think long and hard about. See I like to think of myself as a man of varied tastes and interests. I can throw back beers while discussing the impending “War of Light” or spend an evening worrying about the Cubs holding onto first place in the NL Central (why won’t they stop losing?!). As a result I have friends who don’t read comics, who don’t know that Superman is currently headed into four heavy story arcs, who don’t know that the Kree are not Star Trek villains. There is no better place in the house to throw down a monthly or trade to get non-comic readers to pick it up. You literally have a captive audience. You want characters they recognize but at the same time some new stuff that might hook them in. You don’t want anything too continuity heavy but no complete unknowns.

However there is another concern. You must place comics that you yourself will be willing to read over and over again. Comics that make you happy and you aren’t worried about getting a little wrecked from the steam of a shower or winding up on the floor. Right not my bathroom line-up looks like this: two trades of Scott Pilgrim, the third volume of Transmetropolitan, Popgun Vol. 2, the first trade of Ellis’ The Authority, and the most recent issues of Iron Fist, Action Comics, and the Legion of Superheroes.

So the question is:

What Do You Feel Should Be A Staple Of Every Comic Readers’ Bathroom?

Note: That is not my toilet seat but I wish it was.


Harvey Jerkwater said...

The one-volume edition of Bone. A great read and a great gateway comic.

Essential Power Man and Iron Fist Volume One. If you can't love Luke and Fist, you are dead inside.

The first trade of Nightwing. I'm serious. It's a well-executed example of Standard Superhero Comics. It works as a gateway because people know Batman and Robin, and the idea of "Robin grows up" intrigues them.

Hellboy, any of the short story collections. I'm partial to The Chained Coffin. Or the one that starts with the "Pancakes" story. People know about Hellboy from the movies, and Mignola's art is so arresting that it suckers non-comics people in.

BIG MIKE said...

I don't have anywhere to put books in my bathroom... but here's a list of the ones that I would put in there:

1.) Y: The Last Man Volume 1. Short. Snappy. Fun.

2.) Showcase Presents Green Arrow. Because one trip to the can takes about as long as reading one of these absurd golden age stories that revolve around attaching everything and the kitchen sink to arrows.

3.) Spirit Archives. Guilt always 'gets things moving' so to speak... and nothing makes me feel more guilty than reading Einser's Ebony White.

4.) The original Eastman and Laird Ninja Turtles paperbacks. Actually... these are good in any room, and I'm only mentioning them here to brag about my awesomeness for owning them.

Devon Sanders said...

Dark Horse's Hot Stuff, The Little Devil tpb.

I leave it in there and everyone comes out happy.

That sounds weird.

KENT! said...

Our bathroom is tiny so we don't really have room for a rack, or stack of comics on the toilet tank (there's a McFarlane Jaws movie diarama that doubles as a tub toy for the little guy taking up space there)

I think the ideal reading material, though, would be something with short stories... the Showcase Presents stuff is an interesting idea (the 8-pager collections like Superman or Elongated Man) but they're a bit bulky. As Harvey said, the collections of Hellboy short stories are a good idea. Maybe the Batman Black and White collections?