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Avril Brown Presents:

X-Men t-shirts are hot.

That is the very first thing that came to my mind when my friend, colleague and Comic Culture Warrior Elliott Serrano asked me if I wanted to try my hand at a fashion column (of sorts) for comic book nerds. Now I’ll be the first to admit I’m no Cosmo girl. Hell, I was still wearing stretch pants with foot stirrups when I was in the seventh grade. However, many moons have passed since that clothing catastrophe and I have reflected and grown. Most of my knowledge comes from my mother and sister, both of whom were born fashion divas, but there are a few things I figured out myself.

What we wear says something about who we are. I’m not suggesting we can do a complete Freudian analysis of a person based on the threads they happen to be sporting that day, but our sense of style is an expression of our personality and inclinations.

And I’m inclined to believe X-Men t-shirts are hot.

I’ve been a True Believer for almost ten years now, and an X-Men fan for longer than that. I watched the X-Men animated series every day after school for most of my middle school career, and Rogue and Gambit were my favorite characters. When I was sixteen I walked into a Walgreens looking for some Q-Tips, spotted that sizzling Southern duo on the cover of X-Men #81, and walked out a comic book fan.

At first I was a bit shy about the whole thing, worried that my family and friends would think comic books were childish. The more I immersed myself in their wonderful world, the more I realized comics could be enjoyed on many levels, by many ages. I shucked my unnecessary fears and found myself wanting to talk about the stories, the art, and all the feelings a truly excellent comic can invoke.

This is how clothing can help us make connections.

When I see someone wearing an X-Men t-shirt, I immediately know we have something in common. We have a connection, not to mention a really great conversation starter. I met a very interesting guy on the ‘El’ (that’s elevated train for all you non-Chicagoans) who started a conversation with me when he saw my X pin. I noticed he had a Star Wars pin on his bag, we started chatting and several entertaining dates followed. I talked half the night away to a guy I met at a party who was wearing a silk, button-down Punisher shirt. To this day I still laugh my ass off thinking of the t-shirt one of my high school classmates owns, which has printed on it a picture of a covered wagon and says “You have died of dysentery.” (‘Oregon Trail’ isn’t a comic book, but it was a damn cool computer game and that t-shirt deserves a shout out.)

By wearing an X-Men t-shirt, flashing a Batman watch, buckling that Superman belt buckle, we are announcing to the world that we are nerds. More than just nerds, nerds who are proud to be nerds. Normal clothing can say anything about us, but comic clothing and etcetera says very specifically that we are comic nerds. And we our opening the floor to questions.

By donning those superhero shirts and matching accessories, we’re essentially unfurling our nerdy feelers. We’ve declared our presence and are receptive to positive signals. We’re awaiting a connection because two things comic book nerds love to do are reading comic books and talking about comic books.

Everyone can communicate through their dress, but we’re the lucky ones. When we wear our comic book clothing we know exactly what is being said:

“I am a nerd. Ask me how!”

So smile when showing off those Spider-Man sandals and whistle a happy tune as you fasten those Conan cuff links.

After all, you never know when what you wear might get you laid.

Avril Brown

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