Dive in head-first by slapping on Sephiroth’s duster and hitting the Smithsonian Anime Marathon at the Freer on Saturday, March 28. There, according to the DC Anime Club’s Web site, “we will cosplay on stage while also having [a] power point presentation on the World of Cosplay.”
Chicks dressed like Sailor Moon + Microsoft presentation software = an environment guaranteed to overwhelm the last remaining shreds of your internalized nerdphobic self-hate.
• Begin the day at Big Planet Comics in Georgetown, the patches-on-the-elbows Comp Lit professor of D.C.’s funnybook retail scene. Big Planet’s cherrywood bookshelves, classy recessed lighting, and general tweediness are helpful if you’re not quite ready to face up to your basest nerdy desires. And should anyone you know see you furtively thumbing through Captain Britain and MI:13, you can always pretend you happened in accidentally, thanks to the shop’s location: “Brah! I totally thought this was Armani Exchange!”
• Next stop: Fantom Comics, the most indie-minded of D.C.’s comic shops, favoring the adventures of narrow-chested introverts with girlfriend troubles over those of mesomorphs in circus tights. Fantom’s got shops in Union Station and in Tenleytown, but for our present purpose, head to Tenley. By now your inner geek will have had a first taste of four-color freedom. Your inhibitions will be lowered, and you’ll be eager to experiment; do so responsibly. To make sure you don’t go home with anything you’ll regret, ask the staff for recommendations—and not just because the store’s shelving system can stymie newcomers. They know their stuff, and they’re eager for you to know it too.
• Finish up at Big Monkey Comics on 14th Street NW, which, besides devoting an impressive amount of attention and shelf space to comics for kids, is ground zero for classic superhero fare in all its pure, multiversal, time-travelling, reality-altering glory. If by this time you’re ready to admit to yourself how much you thrill to beloved Marvel and DC characters saving the universe by beating the living snot out of one another, the Monkey’s the place to say it loud and say it proud.