This has often been on my mind, but the specific inspiration for this piece goes back to the preview screening of THE AVENGERS that I attended. Naturally, there were a lot of people in the audience wearing comic book t-shirts. Because it was a preview screening for an epic comic book movie, and comic book fans (unsurprisingly) enjoy comic book movies (although I suppose "enjoy" can be argued...) and are also the type of people who would seek out passes for a preview screening and stand in line for 2 hours just for a chance to see the movie 3 days before its release. You know. People like me.
But in any large gathering of comic book fans (more than most other subcultures), I tend to notice a lot of awkward compliments. Kid in the Fantastic Four t-shirt sees kid in the Spider-Man t-shirt while we're all waiting in line to go to the bathroom, and of course, he has to go up to him and say "Hey. Cool shirt," as if he's somehow surprised to see that someone else here likes comic books (or that somehow, someone else besides him has heard of the Amazing Spider-Man!). I don't mean to be a miserable cynic — I'm glad that people can find those social connections, because it is both comforting, and important — I just find it odd. It's like going up to someone wearing a Red Sox t-shirt at a Red Sox game and saying "Oh hey man, you like Red Sox, too? I love the Red Sox!" Well yes of course you're at a fucking Red Sox game.
But I digress.