Eating Comics -- The Other Things …

*References to everything listed in the last post -- go read it if you haven't or just live life LARGE and move forward!
Comic Book Stores:  You NEVER been to a comic book store???  SERIOUSLY??? Look, do yourself a mighty good favor.  Like taking a shower, a visit to a comic book store opens the pores, stimulates the senses and stuns you as you experience it and leaves you tingly afterwards.
Comic Book Stores are NOT those corner shops that sell comic books from days gone by.  Not any more.  They are vibrant, open spaces, filled wall to wall with comics of every imagination!  The comics they sell run comics books from for small kids, for children, for teens, adults and VERY adult.  THEN they add on paraphernalia of every imaginable kind!  Posters, statues, busts.  Action shots, posed shots, adventure shots.  T-shirts, dresses, masks.  Toys, collectables, transformers!
Do yourself a MIGHTY GOOD THING!  Look up the local comic book store, even if in the nearby big city.  GO!  On a Saturday adventure day, GO!  Plan to spend an hour or two.  GO!  Without any expectations.  This ain't yer daddy's comic book store -- Opps!  Actually it is!  He's over in the DC collectables area lookin' fer a good Green Lantern shirt! <Big Smile>
National Used Book Store Chains:  Please tell me you have gone into at least one National Used Book Store Chains in the last year or so!  Like the comic book stores, these places are a Universe unto themselves.  Filled with not only well priced books, but CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, AND VINYLS!!!!  -- Yes, the provider of rich sounds from before the 2010s, vinyl records, whose sultry sounds are making a comeback among those who prefer their music smooth and less digital.
But vinyl records are a different posting, right now we are talking about the comic books found in these stores.
And find them you shall!  Sometimes complete collections, sometimes not, but always (and definitely) priced to sell!  The comics you seek may or may not be here, likely cheaper than you imagined.  But buy quickly because you see today can also disappear in a Flash tomorrow!  So seek and yea shall find … today, but tomorrow you may come up dry!  So if you find it, then buy it.
Speaking of which, once you tasted the national chain used book store ("Half Priced Books" is an excellent starting point) go and visit their cousins:  Used Book Store and New Book Store and even Book Store!
Used Book Store IS that little shop in the odd place your parent's parents used to speak of.  Some cobbled together by collectors, others put together with purpose.  I discovered Used Book Stores in old churches, tiny rooms in malls, and even once in the 20 or so rooms of an otherwise empty house -- Yes, seriously!  A man living by himself had a room for himself, a kitchen and his bathroom, but every other room in the house was filled with wall to wall books.  Aisle after aisle after aisle!  
The New Book Stores are coffee shops.  Children reading hours.  Gab shops.  Creative projects.  They are evolving into fun, HUMAN places.  Go!  Become a HUMAN again!  Plus they have NEW books of everything under the sun!  From books you'll use to impress strangers who visit your home to items that you'll fall asleep reading.  The New Book store has evolved and does things the Internet will never do.  The HUMAN in you will thank you for the adventure!
And then there is:  The Book Store.  This is the library, it's the non-chain store, the places you find on a stroll through town.  Welcoming, bright and cozy, The Book Store is a place where you experience life again.  The general book store is usually a like a personal pleasure someone has that they have decided to share with others.  The Book Store is a place you find readers when there are no customers.  If you have a favorite book series or even one book you've read dozens of times, The Book Store is where you go to share and exchange the experiences those books brought you.
Yeah, you can do such things on-line, but online uses just one sense.  Going to The Book Store and discussing your reads can, at times, use all your senses.  The difference between discussing books on-line and doing so at a The Book Store is the difference between washing your hands and soaking in a warm tub.
You have my word on this.
Gaming Sessions - At Comic Book Stores:  One of the biggest secret for MANY comic book stores is that they either host or know where the monthly, weekly or even nightly gaming groups meet.  These are not the private groups but those where people who have never "gamed" or haven't "gamed" in a while can come and duke it out.
You probably know the reference or seen it on the recent TV show "Big Bang Theory."  People, yes men AND women, gather to use something called "their imagination" to travel on a directed adventure.  The general name of the person directing the adventure, no matter what the game, is the "The Dungeon Master."  The D.M. provides the flexible plot and direction the adventure travels.  Backed by random chance provided by the most unusual dice you've ever seen -- not just six sided dice (D6) here but up to 120 sides (D120) on a single die.  The “D” value indicates the number of sides on the die and runs from a D2 to a D120 die.  That's right, a die (a single dice) with 120 sides to it.  The normal die you are familiar with, the six-sided die, is a D6.  The D2?  It is basically a coin flip.
Trivia point about die:  The numbers on the bottom and on the top of a roll add up to the number of numbers on the die, plus one.  Roll a normal 6 sided die (D6).  If a 6 is on top, a 1 is on the bottom, adding up to 7.  3's are opposite of 4 and 5's opposite is 2.  All the opposite sides adding up to 7 or the sides adding up to six (sides) plus one.
The gaming sessions are mental adventures boosted by random chance.  You also get a sense of bonding you cannot get from the internet.  The people you are playing with, against or for are there with you.  Snide remarks, stupid jokes, and smiles all items you cannot get as easily over a cable and through a screen.
All items you'll talk about for hours after the last die has been rolled.
You honestly have to experience it to understand what I'm talking about.
Finally, Board Gaming Societies:  If you are lucky enough to live in the proper places or lucky enough to have the resources to start your own, you simply MUST find or create a board gaming society.  The one I am aware of is called CABS -- Columbus Area Boardgaming Society.
Image all the board games you may have as a child.  Everything from Candyland to chess to checkers to Monopoly.  Now imagine adding things such as "Apples to Apple", "Connect 4" and others you may have seen but never had.  After adding those to your pile, imagine discovering that there are professional game makers ALL over the world!  Dice based, spinner based, word based, even gravity based games in almost infinite combinations and paying instructions.  I once played an auto racing game, WITH shifting options, using dice, a shift indicator and curved track on a board three feet long!  The number of times I crashed into the walls numbed me!  While some how I didn't finish last, I did come in next to.
Finally pile on the experience some pizzas, sub sandwiches, BYO buffets, cookies, pies, cakes (home-made and store bought).  Some free, some a dollar a section.  Drinks of all type, including a few wine coolers.
Then you sprinkle the whole event with roars of laughter, screams of defeat, cries of angst and jumps of joy, all lasting from the end of the workday until possibly Four-in-the-Morning and beyond.  One night I became friends with a group of people who included the owner of a chain of Chinese restaurants and we all left the gaming session to hang out at one of his restaurants where he made us a very late Chinese meal while his prep people were arriving to prepare the foods for the restaurant's operation that day.
If you have all of those in a large conference room, then there's a chance you have discovered a gaming society.
How popular is the local gathering?  There have been times they meet 6 times a week, almost every night of the week.  Twice a week they had adult only gatherings just simply to keep the noise down and possibly making the game playing a little fairer -- no leeway given because the opponent was young and learning.
On the weekends, the game play might start at noon on one day and end at noon on the next.
The group I visited had a nightly entry fee of $2 or as a member, for $15 you could get in all month.  Family rates were even better.  The fees were mostly as a token payment to the business whose rooms we were using.
Being member also gave you an option of "borrowing" a game for a week or so.  You could take a game home for "family fun night."  
The games come from all over:  Board game makers will send games in development for reviews by the players.  Foreign gaming societies will send you their games for one of yours.
When I went, they had cabinets of board games.  The number of games topped 100, so it was rare to find one you've play twice in one night or even one month.
You would go up to the cabinets and stand until one or several others approached.  You would make it known you were looking for a game to play and they would offer to play with you.  Then you'd look over the titles and choosing the one which match your agreed upon desire.  You'd wander off to a clear table somewhere and play.  Some games gathered audiences, and some people had partners they always played with.  Nothing was forced and everyone had fun.
Honestly?  It is rare that I see so many diverse people gathered in one place, laughing, smiling and having this much fun.  Families, WHOLE families, gathered for gaming.  Many of the people in attendance were good, church going folk just having fun.  There were kids learning the joys of success and the agony of defeat. Many people were more than willing to explain the reasons behind the strategy they were using against their opponents once the game had been won or lost.
I will note that the people in the room deeply guarded the "family friendly" aspects of the setting.  Drunks, druggies and people who became "excessive" were invited to leave and sometimes forced to do so.  This was a FAMILY and FRIENDLY gathering of board game players.  As such, people relaxed, enjoyed but did not put up with those wanting to cause troubles.
Everyone else was invited and welcomed.  Everyone relaxed and had fun, either participating, observing or sometimes napping between games or between sessions.
So, after you’ve re-discovered comic books -- REAL, hold-in-your-hands, comic books and a vast paraphernalia they have these days, and after you've further collected used issues to keep you reading up, then go back to allow a Dungeon Master to control your fate and destiny until you ever find or start a local board gaming society.
People sometimes ask me what it's like to go to other worlds.  I smile and then take them on a tour of their own world in places like these they've never knew existed just minutes away from home.
I Am Sielow, These are my words.
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