The arrival of fall has once again driven the bulk of everyone I know to their seasonal obsession of choice.
Whether it be on the local fields, in the regional stadiums or played out nationally on the TV screens of every area bar and restaurant - football season is here.
Sports are worthless to me though.
Let's talk about comic books.
I've decided I need to get a tattoo.
I surpassed "want" some time ago. I've always wanted a tattoo for as long as I can remember, but this feeling is something different. I've entered some middle ground between generic desire and actual feelings of need.
Sometimes, late at night, as I surf the Internet before bed, the thought of getting a tattoo consumes me. So much so that I find myself repeatedly typing various combinations of only a few key words into Google - "Comics," "Art" and "Tattoos."
I initially intended to end this month's column with a short blurb about how I want to get a tattoo. Then, somewhere along the line, the blurb blossomed into this - the opening chunk of this month's "Nerding Out."
Consider this part one of a three-part arc which will hopefully play out in future columns. Today I've stated my desire and intent. Soon I hope to write about the image I've chosen. Then, somewhere down the road, I'll write that third piece to the arc - the column about how the tattoo turned out and where I chose to get inked.
Until then, tell me about your comic book tattoos.
Once I decided it was time to get a tattoo, I started seeing tattoos everywhere I looked. It was like the universe was trying to tell me something. I know it's just outright coincidence, but whenever I'm trying to convince myself of doing something, I start to see support for my idea in every aspect of daily life.
For instance, if I get the itch to go gambling, I'll inevitably get a casino brochure in the mail and catch a re-run of some sitcom where they go to Las Vegas for the episode. Then a friend will tell me about a win they just recently had on a machine I always play while at the slots. Sure, it's all just happenstance, but when you've got the itch, it feels serendipitous and even outright cosmic - like things are aligning to spur forward the idea you've gotten into your head.
That's where I'm at with this tattoo idea.
Shortly after getting the itch to get inked, a friend of mine showed up to lunch with a piece of art on his arm. Then, a website which I read regularly launched a new feature focused solely on comic book tattoos.
Now I'm committed. But next comes the long and difficult process of figuring out exactly what I want, where I want it and who I'll have ink it for me.
Anybody got a student I.D. to Columbia University I can borrow?
Last month The Associated Press reported that Columbia University had acquired the comics archive of "X-Men" author Chris Claremont.
Columbia has its own comics collection!? According to The AP, the collection already contains issues of DC's "Batman" and Art Spiegelman's graphic novel "Maus."
Claremont donated dozens of boxes of handwritten notes about characters such as Wolverine and Magneto, fan mail and correspondence to the university's collection of graphic novels.
Additionally, Claremont's gift also spurred another school alumnus, Fred Lerner, to donate his collection of science fiction literature. That collection includes such rare magazines as "Amazing Stories," which features writings from "Fahrenheit 451" author Ray Bradbury.
Now from one school-related story to another.
Last week marked the 30th anniversary of "Banned Books Week."
More than just novels, banned and challenged books oftentimes include comics and graphic novels.
A blog by a USA Today writer pointed me to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's website, where they list 19 of the most recurring comics to be challenged and subjects of review by libraries and schools.
Check out how many you've read. I've only got of the list under my belt, but now I'm itching to read the rest.
The books on the list include: "Amazing Spider-Man: Revelations," by J. Michael Straczynski; "Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again," by Frank Miller; "Blankets," by Craig Thompson; "Bone," by Jeff Smith; "Dragon Ball," by Akira Toriyama; "Fun Home," by Alison Bechdel; "Ice Haven," by Daniel Clowes; "In The Night Kitchen," by Maurice Sendak; "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier," by Alan Moore; "Maus," by Art Spiegelman; "Neonomicon," by Alan Moore; "Pride of Baghdad," by Brian K. Vaughn; "Sandman," by Neil Gaiman; "SideScrollers," by Matthew Loux; "Stuck In The Middle," edited by Ariel Schrag; "Stuck Rubber Baby," by Howard Cruse; "Tank Girl," by Alan Martin; "The Color of Earth," by Kim Dong Hwa; and "Watchmen," by Alan Moore.
The entire month of September was a hiatus of sorts for DC Comics.
All the stories being told in the ongoing issues of "The New 52" were put on hold, as the publisher printed zero issues for all its monthly titles.
DC rebooted its universe of characters with "The New 52" about a year ago. The reboot took all of DC's books back to first issues, starting some characters out back at their origins.
Now, after a dozen issues for most all the new titles, September brought "Zero Month" from DC Comics - another jumping on point for new readers.
Like the launch of "The New 52" itself, DC's "Zero Month" was a mixed bag.
At their best, the issues offer some new insight into the characters and better detail where the characters were at in their lives back before the new first issues debuted.
A their most boring, a few issues just briefly rehashed the characters' updated origin stories - offering little new or exciting to justify the cover price.
I'm looking forward to this month. All the DC titles return to their ongoing plotlines, which means the start of new adventures for some and conclusions for others.
Sony is shutting down its PSP Comic Store as of Oct. 30. I have a PSP, but don't play it as much as I'd like. And I've never used it to read comics. I figure I'll read more digital comics once I splurge on an iPad or other tablet device, but for now I mostly get my fix in print. The industry's been crawling along toward digital for a while now, so it's surprising that Sony is shutting down its PSP store. However, the market there is probably pretty limited when compared with the reach of sites like ComiXology and Graphicly and the digital stores of the publishers themselves.
"The Walking Dead" returns to AMC this month. DC's Arrow debuts. Details keep leaking out about Joss Whedon's new "S.H.I.E.L.D." show. I think all signs point to me getting cable turned back on again - and quick. I don't know if I can do another season of "The Walking Dead" just from downloads of episodes.
We'll find out though. More from me in a month's time.
Nerding Out With Nick Dean is a monthly column about comic books, movies and more. For more, visit NerdingOutWithNickDean.blogspot.com.