I love the John Byrne Forum because it's pure distilled comic-book fanboy nerdiness at its sweatsock-stinkiest. You know those ubiquitous message-board threads where guys post photos of hot women and swap hubba-hubba comments? The Byrne board has one that's been running nonstop since 2004 and is currently 304 pages long.
Not 304 posts. 304 pages.
It's a jackoff thread longer than One Hundred Years of Solitude.
(Byrne himself patrols the thread daily to make sure that no one posts photos of women he thinks have had breast implants, but that's a whole 'nother story.)
It's no surprise that the board also routinely plays host to another of the universal comic-book forum threads, the How To Get Your Girl Into Comics thread. If, like me, you're foolish enough to spend any time in comics fandom at all, you know the thread: one of the regulars has acquired a girlfriend or wife, but he's not content. He can't help thinking how great it would be if he could indoctrinate her into his favorite hobby and indulge in both of his passions at once, like that episode of "Seinfeld" where George tries to eat, screw, and watch TV at the same time. But girls hate comics! Obviously, the solution is to find that one magical uterus-friendly comic that all humans of the female persuasion are genetically programmed to love. And who better to locate the Bestest Comic for Girls than a bunch of nerdy men on the Internet? The thread currently running on the Byrne board
is notable only because it's such a perfect, Platonic example of the genre. It's like a template for all Get Your Girl Into Comics threads on all comic-book forums for all eternity. It's got every one of the essential elements:
1. Sandman, Strangers in Paradise, Fables,
and True Story Swear To God
are recommended over and over and over. And over.
2. Manga isn't so much as mentioned.
3. Neither are comic strips. Or webcomics, unless you count the print collections of Girl Genius.
4. "Romance" is repeatedly cited as something all women adore. The "romance comics" recommended are frequently just superhero comics that include a love interest, like Frank Miller's run on Daredevil.
(That sound you hear is Lea Hernandez's head exploding at the notion of Frank Miller as the perfect female-friendly cartoonist.)
5. Everyone with a girlfriend or wife weighs in, even though none of their girlfriends or wives like comics. Mostly, they just want everyone to know they're not single, either.
6. Someone uses the phrase "chicks dig it," possibly without irony.
And, most essentially...
7. The thread is now two pages long, and no one has thought to ask about the tastes of the woman in question.
You know, like what kind of books or movies or TV shows or off-Broadway musicals she enjoys. Like whether she actually likes romance, or if she's more into mysteries or slapstick comedy or The Da Vinci Code.
On the contrary, everyone's been blissfully ignoring what little information the original poster provided. He said only that his wife found Jeff Smith's new Captain Marvel
comic too disturbing (huh?), and people are cheerfully recommending that he hand her Hellboy
and The Walking Dead.
Basically, you read the John Byrne forum so that you never have to read another comic-book forum ever again. It's all there, pure and uncut.