At the comics shop.
Whenever customers bring their girlfriends into the shop, the storekeeper always upbraids the swains, the suitors, for being so lame as to bring their beauties into so low a den.
" Bachelor’s Hall, Bachelor’s Hall,
I’ll always stay single, keep Bachelor’s Hall."
"What are you doing," he ejaculates, "bringing these fine purebreed fillies into this foul donjon?, this debauched bachelor den of wasted males ('mutates')? Would ye besmatter these pearls with vile dross and grit? Aye - and it seems you would."
"Whatever dude. Do you have the latest Birds of Prey dude?"
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I chose Birds of Prey for my punchline simply because it may well be the dullest comic in the creation. Three female superheroes. Barbara Gordon, Black Canary and... who? I forgot.
("Batgirl." - Damian Morgan)
A while ago the same storekeeper was giving away DC comics "free gratis". DC or Diamond Distributors had said it was okay for him to "title page" them; that is to scrap 'em, and just send back the title pages. So I was tottering over the racks when he goes, "Fabian, do you want a copy of Birds of Prey without the cover?"
I gave him such a purely disgusted, violated look that he added, plaintively, "It's free."
"Still," I said. "STILL."
And yet. And yet.
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Boring comic, but quite a good story I am sure you agree. Here's another one just as good as that one and bound to go down in the annals of legendry...
Speaking of which, the last time I saw D. Oregon Morgan it was in London and we met at the MVE comics shop basement. Damian is always flat-broke but he also always has a pocketful of vouchers.
Sing a song of sixpence
A pocket full of vouchers.
Four and twenty copies
Of Secret Invasion Front Line.
I went down there and he was already in place, neck deep in slime, filth, damp rot and back-numbers. Wearing his trademark white tuxedo.
"Livingstone, I presume."
"Elementary, my dear Watson."
Also assembled there were a few other people; the usual subterranean bottom-dwellers and mouth-breathers, all bent crooked, riffling in silence through the fifty pence bins in a cloud of spores. So our greetings were rather muted. Hadn't seen Damian in nearly a year and the first thing we said to each other was consequently very emotional. Damian goes:
"Um, Fabe, so how come Spider-Man gave away his identity in Civil War and now nobody knows who he is again?"
I coughed and tried to explain this byzantine narrative abortion at some length.
What makes me bring this up is that Damian was steadily building him up a pile of issues of Hawkwoman. I could not believe it.
"Are you doing this simply to defy me, rascal?" I goes. "Do you do it just to damn my eyes?"
Oregon pulled up a copy of Birds of Prey, squinted at the cover condition like it was a Near Mint issue of Action Comics #1, added it to his pile, and goes, "Naturlich, my dear."
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One last story while I am so clearly on a roll. A few days later we met Damian and his housemate Kirk (whose special unique characteristic is that he is the oldest person I know) at the launch for some Antony Gormley show at White Cube II, Piccadilly. Yeah, we're all real art buffs. [This said in the voice of John Lydon on the Bill Grundy show.] They're all heroes of ours, ain't they? Oh yes! They really turn us on.
Kirk and Damian had been in St. James's Park that afternoon, playing Ultimate Frisbee, football golf and also their own version of badminton where you hit the shuttlecock up as high as you can and keep batting it up as high as you can. A regular paralympics ("laff-a-lympics").
I looked at them strangely and said, "It's like Don Quixote, at the end, when they all decide to become shepherds." Something pathetic and woeful about this - - something that seemed to suggest to me that the world will end in the next few years.
Everybody was enjoying the free beer except me. I don't drink beer, so I had a glass of revolting white wine from the pub nearby. Awful piss.
Speaking of awful piss, Will Self was there.
Anyway, the conversation was strictly pedestrian and quite obviously headed nowhere, so I decided to "pep" it up a bit with a wry remark to Damian about the comics. Some observation about Franken-Castle or something equally erudite. And Damian pulls up his collar and withdraws from his waistcoat his snuffbox and he heaves a big inhalation of snuff and utterly fucking ignores me.
"Do you snub me now?"
"Didn't hear what you said, Fabe."
"I was talking about the four-color funny-books, Damian."
"What's this, hey?" Kirk says. "Do you read comics, Damian?"
"I've got maybe about six back at my Mum's, Kirk," Damian said loudly and haughtily, looking the other way (where, as it happens, Will Self sprawled idling).
I nodded, coolly, and simply cooed: "And the cock crew thrice."
And you know what it did.