A co-worker instant messaged me this afternoon asking me to swing over to her cube to help sort out a minor problem. Just as I was turning to get up, two of the office admins popped in. The one who doesn't work for our office, but I'm somewhat familiar with because we see each other in the cafeteria periodically, said, "Uh, do you like comic books?"
I answered in the affirmative, to which the other admin that worked directly with my office waved her arm at the cube walls filled with comic strips and superhero doodles and whatnot. "See! What'd I tell you?"
Apparently, the first admin was trying to help get her sister's 12-year-old to read more. She happened to stumble on the comics being sold at a local Half-Price Bookstore and thought that would be a great way to incent her nephew. She picked up a dozen issues from a title that she thought looked like he might enjoy. However, when she started looking at them more closely once she got home, she realized that the language was a bit harsh in places and didn't figure her sister would appreciate having her child learn how to swear. It turns out the title in question was Tom Strong. (I've never read it, but it was created by Alan Moore so I'm not surprised.)
Since she didn't want to give them to her nephew any longer, she figured she'd try to pass them to somebody at work because it'd be a shame to just throw them out, so would I want them?
"Sure!" Who am I to turn down free comics after all?
She then proceeded to ask if I knew what might be more appropriate for a 12-year-old boy? I had to decline answering since I'm a bit out-of-the-loop when it comes to what types of things a kid like that would even read, much less what would be available. She noted that she'd seen some of the Archie digests in the supermarket, but he evidently wasn't too keen on those.
Fortunately, there happens to be a pretty decent comic book shop not five minutes away from the office! I told her that the folks there would have a much better handle on what's currently available for kids. I said, "Talk to Peter, the owner. Tell him what kind of movies and video games your nephew likes, and Pete should be able to direct you to something appropriate. Just don't go over there on a Wednesday; they get crazy-busy on Wednesdays."
She thanked me and said she'd swing over on her lunch break tomorrow.
I went off to the co-worker who had IM'd me in the first place. By that point, I was due for a meeting and I trucked off to that for the last hour of the work day.
The meeting wound down right around 5:00 and I went back to my desk. Sitting there, just in front of my keyboard, were Tom Strong #1-12! Twelve comics that I haven't read but have heard good things about in exchange for an off-hand suggestion. Not a bad deal at all! By the time I got over to the woman's cubicle to thank her, she had already left for the day, but that was a really great way to end an otherwise lousy Monday.
I can't wait to hear how she makes out at the comic shop!