Tuesday, June 09, 2009

"Never Special," Costume Concerns, pt. 9, 378 words

I jerk the comic back open with a guilty start as I hear Alter Ego’s heavy steps returning from the back of the store. I haven’t quite let go if it when he reappears, bearing a few dark gray garments, and the comic spins a little to face towards me with my sudden movement. He sets the costume down on the far end of the counter and nods to the comic.

“You a fan,” he asks, in that eager tone of an aficionado hoping he’s just found another person who shares his esoteric interests.

“Uh, I used to be,” I say. “It’s been… gosh, seven years since I last read an issue. My collection’s stuck in a closet in my mother’s home.”

“You didn’t miss much, then,” he says. “They ended the old series about five and a half years ago. This new one’s okay, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the old one. The penciller’s got too much manga influence in his style to fit the writer’s neo-Victorian tone, and while the writer has a good ear for dialogue, his pacing is shi—uh, garbage. Pardon.”

I shake my head at his attempt to cover the casual profanity and smile a little. “I’ll keep that in mind.” With a nod at the garments, I ask, “What do you have?”

“A good start,” he says, and picks up the clothes. The top is something like a late autumn or early spring coat, made of something that could be denim – it’s hard to tell, with the dark color. It’s bulky, and looks quite warm. There are a couple zippered pockets down at the sides, each big enough for something the size of a paperback novel. The pants are the same color, and look like the same material. Big pockets on those, too, that can be buttoned or zippered shut. He shows me a few other pockets on the top, their zippers hidden under fold-over flaps of cloth, and built in so the bulk of the coat hides them almost perfectly.

It’s the most practical-looking costume I’ve ever seen, so much so that it doesn’t even look like a costume.

“They should be about your size,” Alter Ego says, holding the coat up in front of me for comparison.

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