Do It In Public

Thanks to Brian Heater from Read Comics In Public Day for this post

Like so many great things in this world, Read Comics in Public Day has its roots in a joke. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was something off-handed about reading novels on the train, because I was too embarrassed to read comics in public. Like many good jokes, that one had its root in the truth.

I run a comics blog, I travel to comic conventions, and many of my good friends are involved in some form or another in the comics industry, but I still find it hard sometimes to get around the stigma. Take that time, two years ago, when I was having my taxes done. The accountant asked if I had made any charitable donations in the prior year—I’m pretty sure she snickered when I attempted to explain to her what the CBLDF is. “That’s all right,” she said, “We don’t have to fill in the name.”

Comics are now widely accepted as a legitimate and vibrant art form—so why do I still feel a bit embarrassed to let strangers know about my not-so-secret passion?

My fellow Daily Cross Hatch editor Sarah Morean suggested that we turn the joke into something a bit nobler—and perhaps more permanent. And thus, the first annual Read Comics in Public Day was born.

The concept is fairly simple: we’re asking that everyone take an hour or two out of their day on August 28th (also the birthday of Jack “King” Kirby, incidentally) to read a comic book in a public setting—a park bench, a beach, a bus, the front steps of your local library (we do ask, however, that you be mindful of local loitering laws). Let strangers see you reading a piece of sequential art.

Take to the streets. Be proud. If someone asks what you’re reading, say, “a comic book” (the phrase “graphic novel is also acceptable, but let’s face it, it sort of defeats the whole purpose). Heck, lend them a book, if you’ve got an extra—what better way to make a new friend and convert a new reader?

While you’re at it, why not get a friend to snap a picture of you reading? Send it along and we’ll post it up for you in our photo gallery and on our site.

It’s all pretty straight forward, of course, but if you’ve got any questions—or suggestions—feel free to drop us a line at readcomicsinpublic@gmail.com.

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