Afflictions: Part Thirteen

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Jude stood outside of a large brick building, his heart racing, and looked up at the sign. It was a traffic light, on green, with the words ‘Green Light Comics’ in large white letters next to it. He had scoured the internet and knew for certain, that inside this store lay a hidden treasure of immense value. Issue number 13 of the Vanguard. He had, over 10 years of collecting comics, acquired 18 of the 20 issues of the Vanguard, one of his favorite comic series. It is so rare, not because of its popularity, in fact it is for the opposite reason, it’s obscurity. Green Light Comics specialized in indie titles, and thusly had come across one of the two issues he needed.

“Jude, are we gonna go inside, or just stare at the sign?” Zoey nudged him.

“Sorry.” Jude smiled. “Let’s go.”

Zoey nodded and followed him into the building. Inside, Jude saw a horde of people milling about hundreds of shelves. The store was actually not that popular before the green light hit, but once the name association took off, and supers became real, comics took off again.

He analyzed the shelves, and saw that the shelves were organized by publisher. The front of the store was largely dedicated to the biggest publishers, since that was what most people came here for. He began to make his way into the store, when out of the corner of his eye he spotted something. He glanced back to where Zoey was, and sure enough, she had noticed it before him.

“Jude, is that a cardboard cutout of you? That’s so cool!” She made her way into a throng of people, and went towards it.

Jude groaned and fell in behind her.

They steadily approached, and, sure enough, there stood a life-sized cardboard cutout of himself. He knew that the DSR had licensed a comic series for some of their more well known supers, but it looked like his was really popular. They eventually reached the front of the crowd, and Zoey had gotten her hands on a couple of issues, so Jude began to shuffle them out of the throng of people. He found himself shoulder to shoulder with his cardboard cutout, when he realized just how terrible of an idea it was to enter this particular crowd.

“Whoa, that guy looks just like Dayspring!” A voice called out of the crowd.

“No way, that is Dayspring!” Another voice shouted, loud enough for everyone to hear.

Jude sighed, and forced a smile. “Yup, that’s me.”

The next thirty minutes were the longest that Jude had ever experienced. He was mobbed by at least two hundred people for selfies, autographs, and handshakes, and he ended up obliging every one of them. He received three different business cards from people offering to sponsor him, and one person showed off their Dayspring tattoo. Two people showed off their superpowers to him, asking to join his team. To each of them he gave one of the business cards Josh had asked him to keep in his wallet. One of them had the ability to slowly make small metal objects, and the other claimed to be able to see for miles.

Eventually, an older man pushed his way through the crowd, and caught Jude’s attention.

“Mr. Dayspring! I’m so pleased you’ve come to my store, I’m Mr. Liefeld.” He shook his hand.

“Hello! I’ve actually come here looking for a particular comic.” Jude shouted over the crowd.

“Let us go upstairs, where we can discuss more quietly!” Mr. Liefeld led Jude out of a now disappointed crowd, through a door, and up into a room filled with shelves of boxes of comics. It was silent, except for what little noise seeped in from downstairs. “What were you looking for?”

“I heard you had issue 13 of the Vanguard, is that true?”

The man thought for a moment, then went into the back of the room. After a moment, he returned with a single comic in a sleeve, and handed it off to Jude. “Here you are! I see you are quite into comics! This came out in the 90’s, and wasn’t exactly popular.”

“I’ve collected them for a while.” He smiled as he looked down at his prize. “Now, I think the listing price was-”

“Oh, I can’t take payment from you! Do you have any idea how much you’ve boosted my sales? I started this place as a retirement project with the intent of losing money, but you and The Siren are some of my greatest sellers!”

“Are you sure?” Jude was surprised to be lumped in with The Siren. He was a super that actually operated in Nashville, and had built up quite a following. Jude wasn’t a fan personally, but he was aware of the success of the series.

“I insist. Now, I would like to ask a favor. Would you be willing to take a photo with me?”

Jude smiled. “Sure thing.”

Zoey sat on a bench, about a block away from Green Light, and stuffed the comic she’d just finished back into its sleeve. She looked down at her phone, and saw Jude hadn’t texted her anything else after he told her to get out of the store before she got recognized.

“Sorry about that.”

Zoey looked up, and saw Jude standing beside the bench. “It’s fine. I didn’t know you had your own comic.”

“Yeah, I don’t really keep up with it.” He answered, as he sat next to her.

“I grabbed a couple of issues before I left. Was Electrified really planning a takedown of the city’s power grid?” She handed him the issues.

Jude rolled his eyes. “Not even close. He was just a guy. Stuff like that is why I don’t read my own comic. Real people don’t make for well formatted comic arcs.”

“Oh…” Zoey looked down. She hadn’t meant to touch on a sensitive spot.

“Anyways…” Jude looked around. “I’ve made my stop, and your dad is waiting for us at the hotel, so why don’t we grab something to eat, and make our way back?”

“Sure.” Zoey grabbed her bag.

“Oh, wait…” Jude reached into his bag. “I got a few first issues I thought you might like.” He handed her a stack of ten or so comics.

“Wow, thanks!” Zoey thumbed through them. Most of them she didn’t recognize, but there were a few she did: ‘The Siren’, ‘Heavy Hitter’, and ‘Batman’. She put them in her bag with the other few she got, and followed after Jude.

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Happy Pride traveler! I just released an album! Here’s all my links. You can also find it under the music tab in my navigation bar. I’m not sure exactly how much I’m going to do with this, but I had fun making it. If you’re here for my writing, don’t worry. I will still be uploading Earth 2, I’m just doing a little bit of rebranding as I combine more projects with this blog.

This does mean that there is now a way to directly financially support me! Just buy or stream my album! I’m going to look at a few things this weekend. I still have aspirations to set up a patreon and a kofi/paypal link or something, but I’m slightly busy right now, so don’t hold out hope for the patreon.

Photo Credit: Original

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