Go Now Unto the Places That Are Sacred
Notes on the places where I found the things that helped me find myself
Flea market stalls with a couple dirty boxes of random comics all out of order and over-priced.
Magazine shelves in a forgotten back corner of a used book store, where you brush away the dust like an archaeologist to unearth unbagged relics, wrinkled and water damaged from some forgotten household catastrophe or yellowed and still smelling of attic moth balls.
Used record store with a few comics in the back. Baseball card shop with a few comics in the back. Board game shop with some comics off to the side in plastic crates.
A one-day comic convention in the industrial part of town.
Massively sprawling, multi-day festivals of all things comic bookery, in every part of the known world, with swirling seas of longboxes washing over their seemingly endless rows of tables. Or boxes of the cheapest comics heaped underneath, where you have to go to your knees like a penitent sinner before his almighty lord to flip through their 50¢ secrets.
The drug store spinner racks of my childhood, packed with fresh new texts each week, the covers still spinning through my memories, round and round, before my eager young eyes wide with wonder.
Comic book stores. Actual stores that sell nothing but comic books! Something I wasn’t sure really existed until I was old enough to drive and began tracking down every single one of them I could, in every strip mall or back corner of every city great or small I’ve ever visited.
It’s not hyperbole to say that these have always been my sacred places. The places where I found the things that helped me find myself. And that I keep going back to, even now, still looking for new clues, new insights into who I might someday become.
That’s me in action, hunting for sacred things, alongside my childhood friend, Jon Falkner. He was the only other comic book fanatic in my small town grade school, so of course we became best friends (and Jon would go on to build the web’s best “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends” site, Spider-Friends.com. Nerd). The scene pictured above has played out many times over the years in many different comic shops. This one here is Bob’s Comics in Birmingham, Alabama, which is still a favorite stop whenever I’m in town. Along with Milo’s Hamburgers and the Garage Cafe, which is probably still my favorite bar in the whole world.
It’s not hyperbole to say that these have always been my sacred places. The places where I found the things that helped me find myself.
If you need more sacred things of your own in your life, and don’t we all these days, then click the button below for the Comic Shop Locator and find your nearest repository of sacred texts. Maybe I’ll see you there.
And while you’re at the local comic shop, you can pick up the newly released AVENGERS #49. I think you can tell from these first few pages that I rather greatly enjoy writing Namor, King of Atlantis. Expect me to be doing more of that.
The pages above are all courtesy of the inimitable team of artist Javier Garrón and colorist David Curiel, who’ve been doing absolutely stellar work on this arc. AVENGERS #49 is the penultimate chapter of “World War She-Hulk,” where Jennifer Walters’s war explodes beneath the waves. Next month, the leviathan-sized AVENGERS #50/750 rises from the rubble, all 80 plus pages of it. You’ll wanna drive a car with good suspension when you go to pick up that one.
Until then, good luck searching for new sacred things in your own sacred places. Personally, I find the bagging of comics to be the closest thing I ever do to meditation. How about you?
This has been Beard Missives, direct from the gore-bearded face of Jason Aaron.
This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by Bob’s Comics in Alabama, Elite Comics in Overland Park, Kansas, The Isotope in San Francisco, A Comic Shop in Orlando, Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in Charlotte, Third Eye Comics and all my other favorite houses of the holy.
Be safe, be loved, be reading.
KC, October 13, 2021
And they builded Golgonooza: terrible eternal labour!
—William Blake, Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion