BY ESIBAN PARENT
Strong characters are the most important part of any comic book – strong, well-developed characters that capture the imagination and make normal heroes “super.” Room 159 of the Liberal Arts building at Washtenaw Community College was a delightful chaos of such characters.
Club leader and communications major Dominick Harper, 25, of Ypsilanti, commands some the most devoted students of the comic book culture and has only one rule.
“You must read one thing. You must read at least one thing,” Harper said.
All around the room during the meeting, there is quite a lot going on at once.
Harper, who calls himself “The fanboy of all fanboys,” reads from what he calls “the Bible,” or www.comicbookresources.com. The website is a well-organized archive of everything comic book. Harper says that he knows some of the website’s contributors are from this area and that he bumps into one of them on a regular basis.
Josh Grey, 22, who is pursuing a culinary arts degree and lives in Ypsilanti, acts as the designated tech guy for most of the meeting. He assists Harper by looking up whatever the class happens to be discussing at the time whether it’s Harper discussing the latest comics or PSAs like Supergirl in seatbelts.
At the back of the room, Sarah Wilcox, 20, liberal arts major of Brighton and a friend are playing Yu-Gi-Oh! throughout the progression of the meeting. Although the games are intense, Wilcox keeps winning.
Another member, Ashley McNamara, 24, is pursuing a major in auto body repair and is one of most noticeably vocal members of the club.
“I don’t know what I’m doing and I did that,” said McNamara, the cosplay artist, as she referred to pictures of an intricate Thor cosplay that she brought up from her Facebook page.
“I have a slide show!” yells McNamara. “This is the first installment of ‘I Don’t Know What They Were Thinking, How Did This Even Happen?’”
One of the featured comic books was a textbook for contingency management, by a Michigan publisher, put into comic book format with heroes like Captain Con Man and Behavior Girl. Another more startling one was “Die Another Day,” which featured a zombie Princess Diana and was discontinued because the British royal family complained. “Jay Leno and Spider-Man: One Night Only,” was another humorous comic book that made its way into the slide show.
Harper says that the club has days where they go through reading recommendations but they are not always just exclusively about comic books. They also talk about good manga, which is Japanese comics and anime. Another hot topic is “Who would win?” discussions such as Wolverine versus the Hulk and Superman versus Ben 10. The winners of each of these fights respectively being the Hulk and Ben 10, due to his ability to mimic alien DNA.
“Aye!” yells Harper, “First of all, what do you (all) like about this club?” Answers come flooding back from the people and Harper summarized their responses: “We are like a family.”