'Dispatch' business reporter, comics obsessive and new author shares some of his favorites
Dan Gearino can tell you the real names and home planets of every member of DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes.Oh yeah, he also covers business news for The Columbus Dispatch. He grew up in Iowa, lives in Clintonville and has a new book from Swallow Press — an imprint of Ohio University Press — about the business and culture of comic shops, which goes on sale the week ofOct. 9.In honor of his book, “Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture,” here are some of his favorite things:
WCBE's Jazz Sunday
Sunday afternoons on WCBE 90.5 public radio, Jack Marchbanks and KC Jones play my favorites and introduce me to artists I otherwise might not know. On a very cold Sunday during my first winter in Columbus, they played “Cookin' at the Continental” by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, a song that would brighten any day. My only programming advice is this: There is no such thing as too much Charles Mingus.
The ‘Paul' books
Quebecois cartoonist Michel Rabagliati tells funny and touching stories with a style that looks simple until you catch the stray detail or plot shift that shows he is a master. His graphic novels were initially published in English by Drawn & Quarterly, and recent volumes have come from Conundrum Press. Read them all, but I'd recommend starting with “Paul Moves Out.”
Studio 35 is my neighborhood movie theater and my neighborhood bar. The people behind the counter are great, and the whole place has a pleasant vibe that other small businesses should envy.
‘Garth Marenghi's Darkplace'
This British television comedy from the 2000s is a riot on the first viewing and seems to get exponentially more funny from there. I would like to think that the cast had a lot of fun making this short-lived show that was a parody of bad 1980s television. The title character is a horror novelist who describes himself as “author, dream weaver, visionary, plus actor.” The whole series is on YouTube. Watch it right now.
The Laughing Ogre
The idea for my book arose from many conversations with Gib Bickel, the store's co-founder and manager, and a good chunk of the present-day action in the book takes place at the store. (Pause for semi-shameless plug:Gib will have some advance copies for sale this weekend at the Ogre's table at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus.)The store has a vast selection, and its people are masters at matching customers with books and comics. Also, the store is kid-friendly at a time when kids' comics are going through a creative renaissance.