There's a whole bunch of brilliant comic book activity swirling around Melbourne in one form or another at present, and one of my faves is this one: The Second Wednesday Comic Book Club, or more to the point Comic Book Club, or even more to the point, Comic Club.
The idea of a club has always got me going - a space where you get together with a bunch of other people and in that space you can focus on and discuss some topic which is important to the assembled group. You agree to take whatever-it-is seriously for that period of time and delve into it, to the exclusion of the outside world. I love that. Probably university was at its best for me when it was like that - tutorial discussions in a teacher's room. It's probably why Donna Tartt's 'The Secret History' is such an important book for me, too.
C'mon, Bernard: what about Comic Club?
Well, it's held at City Library every fortnight and every second Wednesday we get together and discuss a particular book comic (as John Retallick describes 'graphic novels'). Week 1 was the Tintin adventure, 'The Secret of the Unicorn' by Herge, Week 2 'Scott Pilgrim' by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Week 3 'Maus' by Art Spiegelman and this week's book (Wednesday 14 September) is 'The Arrival' by Shaun Tan. The pictures in this post were taken of the Scott Pilgrim week by Gregarious Gary Lee (thanks, Gary!) from the City of Melbourne, who, with Laffin' Luke Scully from City Library wrangled me into running the club. (Not that I needed a lot of wrangling, you understand...)
(thanks for lending me your Scott Pilgrim box set, Pat Grant - I'm taking care of them, I promise!)
If you'd like to be part of the club (a club? for comics? are you kidding? where do I sign?) and you're over 15 and a student, then tootle on down to the Comic Club page here and sign up. Then read the comic book in question and come along ready to talk and listen and laugh quite a bit. It's free, it goes from 6 - 7.30pm, and did I say it's every second Wednesday?
We'll be talking 'Akira' Book 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo on Wednesday September 28, and 'Fun Home' by Alison Bechdel on Wednesday October 12.
And hey, Sumisha Naidu interviewed me about the club in meld magazine.
And here we are, comic clubbing. In a world of our own. Brilliant.