I watched two different couples slow dance in the middle of a comic book shop to “Kiss From a Rose” off the Batman Forever soundtrack. To an audience of miniature robots, atomic monsters and costumed heroes and villains they swayed delicately. Serenading the dancers was a slightly drunk choir of geeks, sing/screaming back Seal’s profound nonsensical lyrics. I think one of the robots wept. That was my Saturday last weekend at Comicazi in Davis Square.
The DigThis Awards winning comic shop hosted their 3rd annual Battle of the Comic Shop Stars, and was once again the geek trivia gamma bomb detonated a whole lot of nerdy fun. As an all-inclusive pop culture challenge between the best comic shops in Boston (for charity), it’s a chance for the comic community here in Boston to catch up with one another, as well as an excuse to see who’s the biggest know-it-all in town. Plus, there’s an open bar.
The revelry and rivalries are all for a good cause, every team this year donated $100 to the charity group Boston Partners In Education, an organization that does some really important work with public schools including mobilizing community members to become academic mentors to young students.
Here’s a list of all the swell comic shops and organizations that donated and competed this year:
Bad Kids Press is local comic book publisher that I’m a proud member of. Our slogan is, “Independent people love independent comics.” But we might have to change it to, “Independent people love booze dependency” because after getting trounced at this year’s Battle we’re all hitting the sauce pretty hard.
Don’t get me wrong, everybody on our team was more than happy to help out Boston Partners in Education, but we were thoroughly dismantled during the tournament. We started out the evening with what seemed like a reasonable aspiration: We were going to win the whole flipping thing. Just like Tom Berenger says in Major League, if Major League is being shown on like TBS (which is likely) and they church up his otherwise colorful baseball speak with a word like “flipping.” Anway, we were a team, but were in no way ready for the Major League.
We came in 5th out of 8 teams, not too shabby, but we were grasping for the crown, people. And Team Comicazi are the brainy alpha-geeks who nabbed it.
Yes, Comicazi not only hosts the event, but they also participated in and won the thing. It’s like that kid you grew up down the street from, the one who had Mortal Kombat and invited you to play just so he could humble your ass again and again. And he does it using Johnny Cage, no less. That’s this.
Helping to drown down this bitter defeat is how entertaining the battle is every year. Steering this well-oiled machine is host Gary Spezzafero, an affable and avuncular lifelong Bostonian who is a die-hard Bruins fanatic, as well as DC Comics enthusiast. He also loves asking some of the most cruelly esoteric trivia questions ever devised. Every year he pours fire ants over the folds of our brains and smirks as we St. Vitus’ Dance to scramble for the answers. That’s another way of saying he’s good.
Example: What does each letter in the magic word “shazam” stand for in regards to villain Black Adam?
Hint: They’re all Egyptian gods.
Additional hint: That hint will not help you.
Spezzafero goes down in my book as the MVP of the evening. Which even when it ended, my team’s defeat went off on a lovely note. Remember the “Kiss From a Rose” bit from before? It played and some folks danced, surrounded by action figures and Star Wars posters as well as grinning friends with drinks in hand. That’s because Spezzafero had the good sense to play that song at that moment. He had played a snippet of it earlier, as a joke in the middle of an audio question about Batman music. At the time the instant we heard Seal’s dulcet tones, we all cracked up. But at the end of the night, watching the couples dance to the music, and everyone singing along with Seal, by the third chorus it didn’t sound so ridiculous anymore. I mean, sure, it did. But it also sounded fitting, touching even.
Fine, I was a little drunk and had just lost a contest third year in a row.
But then the same can be said for everybody else singing along in the room too.
Except for Team Comicazi. They’ll never know, that when it snows, my eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen…..