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Nerd Boner Alert: A Bi-Weekly Column by a Lady Who Loves Comics, and the Boys who Read Them

Written by Katie Hutchison, Outhouse Contributor on Friday, June 03 2011 and posted in Features

New Column to the Outhouse!  Librarian Katie Hutchison shares her unique perspectives of the comic book industry from a nontraditional reader's standpoint.


Whether it's my ability to name all eight of Apu from the Simpson's children (Anoop, Uma, Nabendu, Poonam, Priya, Sandeep, Sashi, and Gheet) or my unholy desire to have Wolverine to naughty naughty things to my body, I have always considered myself to be a nerd. A hip nerd, but a nerd nonetheless.

So who am I? I am Katie. Painter. Poet. Crochet-aficionado. Librarian. Girl.

My initial foray into the comic book world came during middle school when I started picking up X-Men and Green Hornet comics from my local library. They were quick to read, left me wanting more, and my father had an aversion to cartoons so this was my silent way of rebelling. (A rebellion I would continue through my teen years as I read, rather than watched, The Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs, and more.)

But eventually I was swept up into world of boys and I forgot. That is until my sophomore year of high school when, while sitting with a group of shy students who never talked at our lunch table, my friend Joe and I struck up a conversation.   A conversation we have probably all had along some line or another: "Who would win in a fight between Superman and Wolverine?"

I don't remember who we decided would win (Wolverine hands down in my book), but what I do remember is that all of those shy kids we had to goad into talking EVERY single day suddenly had an opinion. Joe and I had struck a goldmine; it was superheroes and I was hooked and reading again.

Suddenly I couldn't get enough. Manga. Comics. Anything I could get my hands on in those days I devoured. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring movie came out that same year and if my Nuriko Halloween costume (the cross-dresser from Yuu Watase's Fushigi Yuugi. Yes, I was a girl dressed as boy dressed as girl) or my knee high socks and cardigans didn't scream "stay away from me potential boyfriends" my incessant giggling while reading Aragorn/Legolas slash fan fiction did. And if you don't know what slash fan fiction is, go ahead and Google image something like Sirius/Remus, and you'll see. Tee hee hee.

In college I went back to the periphery again. I was writing eighty page papers on Nazi medical experiments, I didn't have time to read my emails much less anything for leisure. My senior year I took a seminar class on graphic novels, and once again, I was back. Persepolis, Maus, The Watchmen. I even met Harvey Pekar when he came to talk to our class.

So where am I now? I currently work as a librarian for a small private university in Ohio. I do collection development for anthropology, geography, folklore, languages, and, my favorite, our juvenile items.  Graphic novels are huge now in the juvenile/YA book world, and despite my relatively small budget, I still manage to purchase quite a few.

nerdalert1And when you work in a library, you get to read a lot. What are some comics I have enjoyed lately? The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way (artwork Gabriel Bá) was amazing! I know some comic book aficionados were initially distrustful of a rock star's foray into comic book writing, but I believe he delivered us a great story (seven superheroes who come together to save the world after the death of their "father", an alien/entrepreneur), and one that hasn't been done before. Way, before forming My Chemical Romance, had attended art school with the intent of writing comics and it's nice to see him getting into what he initially loved to do.

nerdalert2The Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji , in the Japanese) series by Yana Toboso has been interesting to follow. I loved reading Japanese manga while I was in high school and this has been my first real dip back into it since then. Who doesn't love the classic Faustian plotline? A boy sells his soul to a demon (who acts as his butler) so he can seek revenge on those who murdered his parents. Brilliant. Props to Toboso for creating these incredible characters (I especially love Grell Sutcliffe) that really make up and drive the story. Can't wait for the next one to come out.

nerdalert3And finally, let's give a quick review of Gerry Alanguilan's Elmer. To be honest, I had never thought about what it would be like to have chickens become sentient and equal to humans in intelligence. And I certainly never thought about a chicken masturbating. But Alanguilan apparently did, and he gave us Elmer. I caught wind of this book while participating in a graphic novels for the library webinar and when SLG Publishing's Dan Vado hailed it "the graphic novel of 2010" I decided to give it a try, and despite it being a strange topic let's face it, it was a interesting, thought provoking, and overall good read.

Hopefully you feel like you know a little bit about me now. I'm just a librarian who has always been drawn to comics and here I sit, for the most part, alone. Ladies, are you out there? I know you have to be. I can't be the only female in this great and complex world who forces her husband to listen to multi-hour conversations on how wrong the X-Men movies are as compared the comics. (I'm predicting another multi-hour complaint fest when X-Men: First Class is released in June. And yes, even knowing this I'll still go see it.

I want to give a major shout out to the Outhouse for giving me this bi-weekly gig. Thanks!

Written or Contributed by: Katie Hutchison, Outhouse Contributor

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About the Author - Christian Hoffer


Christian Hoffer is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Hoffer is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.

 


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