365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

T-shirt#92: Mad Magazine

T-shirt #92: "Some think I am MAD..." AT Fanfare

Today's shirt features the Mad Magazine logo.

I buy my comics and assorted other merchandise at
FANFARE Sports and Entertainment.

I had these candid shots taken in Fanfare by Andrew (Thanks Andrew! I just learned his name.)

I have been buying comics and related merchandise from Fanfare since 1984. Next year will mark the 30th year of my purchasing history! Is that something of which I should be proud? (Because I am proud.)

Featured in the photos are long-time manager Bill Artis (on my right; your left) and associate manager Jeffery Johnson (my left; your right), who is a writer and a member of a writer's group to which we both belong. Bill is about the biggest Superman fan I have ever met. He even likes the art of Curt Swan, which I think is quite amazing as I think Swan makes Superman looks fat, like he has a spare tire. Inexplicably, even though Bill (not Swan or Superman) has lived in Michigan all his life, he is a fan of ATLANTA sports teams. I heckle him about these two things all the time.

Jefferey is a huge Spider-Man fan, which should be obvious due to his "Amazing" apparel. Jeffery is a very excellent writer and has agreed, kindly, to share his work with me so we can discuss it both in the writer's group and apart from it. I do not know if Jeffery has any interest in sports, but we often discuss Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead in addition to various comic books that we're reading. Since Jeffery works at FANFARE, he gets to read comics FOR FREE, which I consider a tremendous benefit.

Jeffery also has been posting videos about his life, which he calls "Game of Triplets" because of his babies.


I am thankful to live in a town with an excellent, independent, locally-owned, direct-sales comic shop like Fanfare. Owner Tom Fleming (who I may coerce to be pictured in the future along with the other Fanfare employees) has savvy business sense and has built Fanfare from a tiny hole in the wall housed in the studio of a defunct radio station to a thriving powerhouse in the local economy.

I am also thankful for the community that exists at Fanfare. Though I do not take advantage of the weekly gaming opportunities that Fanfare provides for its customer base, I do delight in having conversations with the employees and have forged strong friendships (at least on the pop culture and semi-personal level) with many of these wonderful folks. I hope they enjoy chatting with me as much as I enjoy chatting with them as I visit (at least once a week) for my comic book crack hit: "And through the years, we all will be together, as the fates allow..." (I know, it's corny, but I am very fond of my peeps at Fanfare).

MAD MAGAZINE: Obviously, I am a huge fan. I own a few shirts that depict Mad or EC, its original company. Mad Magazine is now published by DC Entertainment.  So, in short, this is a subject to which I will return.

Like with so many things from the 1970s and my childhood, I was (and am) mad for Mad Magazine. I read it avidly throughout my childhood (probably around 1970 through 1980). Like many things, I moved away from it once I went to college but later re-discovered it. My childhood years were strongly influenced by the monthly magazine itself and the collected paperbacks published in the '70s. Though I do not own all the paperbacks, I own several (and like my interest in collecting the Doc Savage Bantam novels, I may need to collect the Mad Magazine paperbacks as well, though I am leery of accumulating too much more stuff, but there are not that many paperbacks in this set).

Since marrying my wife and joining this family, I gift a subscription of Mad Magazine to my step-son Ivan each year for his birthday. Do I gift this because Ivan really likes Mad or because I do? Who likes it more? It is difficult to say.

I may not enjoy its sarcastic humor and parodies as much as I did when I was younger. But I still enjoy it, if only for the way the humor reminds me of a time in my life when I felt that Mad Magazine was THE BEST THING EVER.

Here's a new feature, in case I am not generating enough content already...


Each week, after I go to Fanfare and buy my comic books for the week, which I order by the month two months in advance from a catalogue (the Previews Catalog from the Diamond Distribution Company) of all solicitations available to the store, I put the comics in the order I wish to read them. Comics on which I have not kept up fall deeper in the stack with the others that are accumulating down there. For the week starting June 19th, these back-logged titles included Ultimates and, even though I adore it, Fables as well as the former Batman and Robin title, which is now, this week, Batman and Batgirl. I also dropped the Lobo: 100 Bullets mini-series issue #1 deep in the stack because I am not too excited about it, but I did buy it.

Since this blog is dedicated to lists and categories, dedicated to self-inventory and reflection as well as a historical record for posterity, I decided to list these weekly comics in the order I have arranged them for reading. This occupation will reveal what I am reading (which will draw ire or at least comments from some of the peanut gallery) as well as what I have favored as the top of the stack reflects the comics I am most eager to read. Unlike some people (ahem - Joshua Upson), I do not (cannot) save my favorites for last. I would never read my favorites each week if I saved them, due to the stacking up of titles in my back log. As for this week's read, so far, I only managed to read the top two as of last night.


Age of Ultron - Book #10
New Avengers #7
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #24
Fantastic Four #9
The Superior Spider-Man #12
Avengers #14
Thunderbolts #11
Uncanny Avengers #9
Legion of Superheroes #21
Max Brooks - The Extinction Parade #1
Mara #5
Mind the Gap #11

This week I also bought this Galactus Bottle Opener pictured here. I mean, come on. How could I NOT buy this? And it has magnets for easy refrigerator hanging!

More to come on the subject of Mad Magazine but that's all for now.

- chris tower - 1306.21 - 11:56

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