Wow. So there I was, just mourning the last day of my summer vacation, relaxing by watching some Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, when I got a text message from one of my friends: "Kirkman is at Astro Zombies!" (Warning, if you're already geeked out, and think less of me because I write about basketball a lot of the time and now are like, OMFG, what is he doing??, I can only warn you that it gets worse. From your point of view. Infinitely better from mine.)
Robert Kirkman is the writer of a comic book series called Invincible, which has, as its tag line, the title of this entry. It's kind of an upstart title, although it's hard to truly say so at this point. It's published by Image, which, if you know anything about comic books, you'll know might have garnered some indie credit, like, fifteen years ago. Now, however, they're pretty entrenched as the third in the Big Three label. Regardless, though, the label's pretty accurate. (For my money, the only book that's coming out on a regular basis [or any basis, for that matter] that's better than Invincible is Green Lantern - largely because of Geoff Johns and the Blackest Night storyline.)
So with just that little bit of info under your belt, I hope you're excited. Me, I was ecstatic! Especially because the friend who sent me the text couldn't make it, nor could my other friend, who is probably one of the biggest Kirkman fans on the planet. I jumped up immediately, grabbed my hardcover collections and went to the store, trying to think up how to go about asking for an autograph if he was just there passing through, as I'd heard. (This isn't Hollywood. We don't run into celebs every single day, and I'm not really that guy who wants to be hassling someone who's just trying to enjoy the local comic book shop experience.) When I got there, I glanced around, but didn't see him.
I perused the shelves, picking up a trade that will be given as a gift to the wonderful lady who gave me a ride to the store. When I turned around, bam! There he was. It was a complicated thing. Like I said, I don't wanna be that guy. The wonderful owner of the store, however, had no problem interceding on my behalf. He looked down at my hardcovers and remarked, "Huh. So you just so happened to be driving around with those, eh?" I grinned at him, and said, "Yep. In case of emergency, man."
He then turned to Kirkman and asked him, "Hey, uh, some of our loyal customers here just happened to have some of your books in their car, would you mind signing them?" Kirkman gave me the same look and questioned why I'd been driving around with them. He was a sport enough, though, that I figured he didn't mind, so I asked if I could snap some pics. He said sure and introduced me to Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker as well. They all signed my books and graciously posed for the pic.
I try not to geek out too hard core too often, nor do I believe in posting super personal stuff all the time. But I thought this story was worth telling for several reasons. First of all, it was awesome that Robert Kirkman was just passing through Albuquerque. Secondly, he was down enough to hop up on the ladder of Astro Zombies and sign the ceiling, even though he said that he wasn't exactly the world's most comfortable dude with heights. Thirdly, Astro Zombies is, without a doubt, at this point, my favorite comic book store in ABQ. Great owner, great atmosphere, great employees, and great attitude regarding comic book shops not having to be dank, scary-looking dens. Here's to wishing them a bunch more success and here's a thanks to Kirkman and crew for being so down to let a fan geek out.