I'm gonna go ahead and let my hardcore nerd flag fly proudly for a second to let you all in on a major comic book event happening over at the Dragon's Lair comic book store on Friday, July 6.
Chris Claremont, legendary comic book writer and creator of many of your favorite Marvel characters, will make a brief two-hour appearance at the Burnet Road comic shop to sign your copies of his epic works like, oh, X-Men #1 (the highest-selling comic book of all time).
For those of you less adept at the comic book arts, Claremont is credited for transforming the Uncanny X-Men during his 17-year stint from a flailing series about angsty, two-dimensional mutant teens into a badass team of complex and complimentary individuals that are plenty capable of taking on baddies on an intergalactic scale.
Reading these comic books as an imaginative, angsty, outsider teen myself, Claremont showed us that everyone can be a hero.
Not only did he take our favorite band of misunderstood mutant heroes through some of their most epic storylines, like The Dark Phoenix Saga (homaged in the third X-Men movie) and Fall of the Mutants (where literally all of the X-Men died!), he balanced the action with the romance and tragedy of it all, which appealed to nontraditional (i.e. not straight white male) readers.
His work on the series is viewed by many as the earliest depictions of strong feminist characters in mainstream comics. If you can ignore their ridiculous costumes and impossible body posturing, you'll see that the X-women of the Claremont era — Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, Phoenix, Kitty Pryde — paved the way for strong, independent comic book ladies everywhere by holding their own alongside aggressive male counterparts.
Mutants became metaphors for any kind of outsider, and Claremont never shied away from juxtaposing the prejudice against mutants to the violence against racial, religious or sexual minorities. Even writing during the Reagan era he built in easy subtext for readers to identify the female villains Mystique and Destiny (ironically of the Brotherhood of Mutants) as lovers. And Magneto's revenge against humanity mirrored the atrocities done to Jews during the Holocaust.
Reading these comic books as an imaginative, angsty, outsider teen myself, Claremont showed us that everyone can be a hero. Despite the struggles — or perhaps because of them — we end up stronger on the other end.
So, yeah, it's a really big deal that Chris Claremont, the master storyteller that capitalized on his genre (and helped get me through my teenage years), is coming to Austin. And the line is going to be very, very long, with a lot of happy nerds showing up to get the man's autograph on their beloved comic books.
Told y'all it was gonna get nerdy...