Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Secret Origin of Doctor Comics

It's all Darren's fault. Really, it is.

I don't need to tell you that the only kind of nickname worth a damn is the sort someone else gives you. Shoeless Joe. William the Conqueror. The Gubernator. Okay, maybe if you become Roman Emperor, you can name yourself Augustus with a straight face, but the rest of us are doomed to accept whatever name we're given, while hoping desperately that said name is not "Arseface."

I got the "Doctor J" label at my local game store. I always liked it, because I actually remember Julius Irving and Larry Byrd duelling it out for fruit pies in the pages of Marvel Team-Up. Now, I wasn't a real Doctor yet (and I certainly was no basketball star) but the guys considered that a minor detail; there was another guy named Jason around, and I was distinguished from him by virtue of being over-educated.

It was Darren who decided I should be Doctor Comics, and he even introduced me to some of his very clever friends in this way. But I was reluctant because -- contrary to what you might think -- I am neither the sole nor the most distinguished PhD specializing in comics. I look at the work of people like Marc Singer, Charles Hatfield, or Gene Kannenberg and ask, "Shouldn't one _them_ be Doctor Comics?" (Sorry, Amy; you have to actually read comics to be Doctor Comics.)

But, you know what? They didn't get the name given to them or, if they did, they did not have the chutzpah to claim it. Well, emboldened as I am by the bulletproof shield of the dissertation, I do claim this name which is mine by right, granted on the field of battle. Doctor J is dead; long live Doctor Comics.

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