Who am I? Why am I here?
I will tell you. Eventually.
But first, if you don’t recognize that opening line beyond its literal meaning, then your memory of politics doesn’t go back as far as mine. Which means you’re probably younger than I am. But that’s OK; lots of people are. And what does it have to do with politics, anyway? I will tell you that, too. Eventually.
Now: who am I? My name is Jim Johnson. And before you try and get all cute and clever on me, be warned: I’ve heard it all. I used to be a local morning DJ. I used to coach the Dallas Cowboys. I also was the defense coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, when I was alive. And I’m even a NASCAR driver, or so I’ve been told. Make jokes if you will, but my resume is more impressive than yours, so nyah nyah.
You can call me Ray, or you can call me J, but you doesn’t has to call me Johnson. Home, James. Dammit, Jim. He’s dead, Jim. Say, Jim, that’s a bad outfit. There. I think I got them all, to save all of you the trouble. But if there are any I missed, please feel free to keep them to yourself.
Actually, while you CAN call me Ray, it probably won’t get my attention, because, like, that’s not my name. I’ve been called lots of things; some of them were even rather pleasant. My girlfriend calls me JJ, which think is cool, actually.
With that out of the way, on to the relevant stuff. I’ve been reading comics since 1977. And I’ve collected them that long too, although my collecting habit nowadays consists mostly of just not throwing away the stuff I buy each week. Call me a Marvel guy by birth, but I read it all and love discovering lesser known, indy, and small press titles. I’m fun-loving, confident, and love to take long walks, and . . .
Oops. Forgot which site I was on there, for a second.
I started writing about comics back in 1997, and if you’ve read Comics Buyer’s Guide any time since then, chances are you seen my reviews there as well as the occasional article. Not to mention the ongoing Obligatory Fight Scene, a review feature that I co-write each month with John Petty. You may also have seen my sometimes-weekly online Ramblings About Comics and Stuff column on CBG’s website, which I started writing five years ago.
I attend as many cons as I can, which isn’t really all that many but it’s as many as I can afford. San Diego has been an annual tradition since 1994, where I soak up as much sun, industry chatter, and alcohol as humanly possible. Chicago has been a tradition for far longer, since I graduated high school in 1981 and had a wad of graduation money that I had to spend somewhere. And of course, Motor City Comic Con is a given. Or a possibility, at worst, given the suddenly crowded con landscape in these parts.
That’s who I am. Now, what about why I’m here, you ask? I will tell you that, too. I was asked by this site’s creator to contribute content to this new venture, so here I am, in the form of a new column of yet undetermined frequency. My mission statement, for lack of a better term, is to spread the word about all things, comics or not, to a wider audience. That means promoting that which should be seen, and shredding that which should not. It means talking about comics, both what happens between the covers, and behind the scenes. It means talking about things which might be related to comics, either closely or tangentially. And sometimes, knowing it’s a big world out there, it means talking about things of interest other than comics entirely, because, well, just because. I’m really thrilled to be part of this new effort, and I hope that whatever ramblings I have in this new venue won’t scare too many of you away.
Oh, and if there’s any interest in my reference to politics regarding my opening line, I lifted that quote from Admiral James Stockdale’s opening remarks during the 1992 Vice Presidential debate. Stockdale was independent Presidential candidate Ross Perot’s running mate, and as the debate began, his presence was surprising and puzzling to viewers who were unaware that Perot even had a running mate, and were expecting to see only VP candidates Dan Quayle and Al Goreonstage. Stockdale, apparently recognizing this, acknowledged as much by voicing the questions in every observer’s mind: “Who am I? Why am I here?” And that line is about the only thing many viewers, myself amongst them, remember about that guy. So as it relates to this feature, I figured that in a comics landscape full of Rich Johnston’s and Augie DeBlieck’s, I could do no less than try to make you aware of just who I am. If nothing else, I hope you all remember that stolen line, at least.
Oh, and Admiral Stockdale nowadays? He’s dead, Jim. Man; even I can’t resist sometimes.
See you all soon!