Read Comics in Public Day

So yesterday was International Read Comics in Public Day. Did you participate, hypothetical reader? (I did.)

I think that this day is really good for nerd visibility. I mean, I assume that’s why it was started: to prove that we aren’t all basement dwelling cave monsters. (But really, if we were, how would we get our comics every Wednesday?) It’s nice to show the rest of the populace that we’re all most pretty regular human beings with a regular human being hobby. While I think that the general mentality towards nerds has shifted favorably in the last few years (considerably so), I remain suspicious that there are still people who think we’re actually all Comic Book Guy.

Well, you guys anyway. I’m actually not sure how the general populace stereotypes nerd girls. (Nonexistent? Attention seekers? Jess from New Girl? I hate that show.)

But I think it’s as much for nerds to feel comfortable with themselves as it is for the general populace. There are some people that are simply embarrassed to be seen reading a comic book in public. Like it’s “juvenile” or people will look down on them. Like it’s some secret hobby that they have to do behind closed doors. Liven up! IRCiPD (what a terrible acronym) is a great way to coax people into realizing that there are a lot more comic nerds than you’d think. Hobbies aren’t fun if you wander around being embarrassed about having them all the time.

And of course it’s great free advertising for comic companies but that’s so cynical.

Admittedly, some comics can be embarrassing to be seen in public with. I mean, obviously you don’t want to be that guy reading Tarot on the bus any more than you want to be that guy reading Playboy on the bus, but even more benignly rated series can be…difficult.


(Not pictured, but still applicable: anything by Greg Land.)

Speaking of women, THIS DAY IS ALL ABOUT US! Not…really, but this is a fantastic day for visibility of female nerds. Since comic companies seem determined to pretend we’re unimportant to the market, we use this opportunity to document our growing existence. DC Women Kicking Ass’ blog runner, Sue, sets up a yearly blog to document as many women as possible who go out and read comics on this day. It’s called Women Read Comics in Public, Again. (I was too chicken last year, but I submitted this year!) It’s nice to have something like this to fall back on whenever somebody says “girls don’t read comics.” (I can’t believe people are still saying that. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it for myself. I CANNOT BELIEVE THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT.)

So go out and read comics in public, spread the love. It’s nice that we have a special day to do it, but it’s not like you can’t do it tomorrow, or next week, or whenever you want. Spread the love, why doncha?

Here’s mine and a friend’s contribution. I admit my choice of comic may have been more of the “you probably shouldn’t read this in public” variety, but Empowered is just so damn good!

Arielle Sorkin

Generally nervous human being.