Five years ago, I was a different kind of reader than I am now. I read NYT-approved literary fiction and important contemporary nonfiction, and I would never have been caught dead holding a detective magazine or a pulp novel. Or god forbid, a comic book.
But then, through a strange turn of events, I found myself in graduate school, working on a research project that necessitated spending a lot of time in comic book stores, interviewing customers and handing out surveys, although I knew next to nothing about comics myself. In the downtime, the staff at Capital City Comics in Madison discovered that they had an interested, uninformed party in their midst, and made it their duty to educate me about Frank Miller, Bendis, Bone, and the entire Vertigo catalog.
But my transformation to comics geek was completed the day that someone put the first trade of Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man in my hands and said, "You'll love this one. Everybody does."
And ever since, I've been trekking to the comic book store on Wednesdays to find out what happens next to Yorick Brown, Agent 355, Dr. Mann, and Ampersand. And for the past year, I've been sad every time I read an issue, because I knew that everybody's days were numbered, whether they lived to see the end of the story or not.
I didn't want Y to have its last issue set in stone. I wanted it to go on until I spent every issue complaining about how bad it was sucking, and how they should just hang it up before they embarrassed themselves.
But as things turned out, it was never going to be anything but my all-time favorite comic book, the first thing I read when I got home from the Golden Apple, the first thing I recommended to anyone teetering on the edge of comic book geekery, and it never, ever sucked. Not once.
And that's big talk. I mean, even Sandman sucked once in awhile.
Someday, I suppose another book will come along that I'll love as much as Y: The Last Man, but until then, my Wednesdays are going to be a little bit empty, and my trips to the Golden Apple a little bit less fun.