Monday, November 1, 2010

All The Best Comics Have Daddy Issues #4

Being a father is a hands on job. So is being a reader of comics. You need your hands to do both. So how can you do both at the same time? Once upon a time it was surely a moot point, it could not be done, but in today’s technological utopia the ultimate father gadget has helped keep us nappy changers and midnight walkers back in the game. All hail, the iPhone, saviour for daddies everywhere who want their comics and their kids, one in each hand.

Double Parked: Kids and Comics In Clenched Fists

I love my son and my time with him is always fun. He smiles when he’s just fed, he burps in my ear, he babbles while I change him. I love those moments and would never change them or sub them out of my life. It is good to be a dad at ground zero.

But sometimes it’s not as exciting.

Sometimes you have to hold your son but he’s asleep. There’s no interaction, and also no respite. You try to put him down but he doesn’t want that. He’ll cry, he’ll wake mum up; he just wants to be in your arms. So in your arms he stays. Or at least, singular, arm. And there the boredom can set in. He’s asleep, you aren’t, you’ve got an indeterminate amount of time ahead of you in the darkness of the night. What to do?

Sometimes you can park it and catch up on tv, The Wire and Mad Men are still waiting for me, but there’s the off chance that sitting will provide two problems. Either your little prince will get annoyed because the motion has stopped and he’ll wake up, or, due to a lack of motion you’ll fall asleep. I don’t particularly want to wake up on the couch to find Parker squashed under me our drowned a an avalanche of drool. So I stay upright, I stay on the move, and I need something to get me through.

The reader within thinks a good book in my hand could be the solution. I could try a novel in a hand, or a comic, but both can be tricky due to lighting issues; consistency, really, not every room is lit and so as I wander the light waxes and wanes. That’s not good for reading eyes, kids.

Then there’s the struggle with holding up a book in your hand for an hour or so. I cannot do my late night walk and read a Clive Barker tome and I’m certainly not going to finally finish From Hell while holding it up with one hand. I could go for single issues but they only last for so long, I’d be changing them over constantly. Something has to help me out and my favourite new millennium device solves all these problems.

I’m a massive fan of the iApps for comics, I’ve shown you this many times before. I download the Free Comics every Wednesday without fail, check out Matt’s weekly review column now (well, not now, unless you want to open it in a fresh tab to peruse later…did you know the best way to open a link in a new tab is to click it with the scroll wheel of your mouse? If you use a mouse. I didn’t know that for ages, a kid in my class taught me, huh…anyway), and I can now, as a father, see how these digital comics might just make the future a brighter place.

The iPhone provides its own light, thus what I am reading is consistently glowing for me. It’s the best way to save my eyes and still be able to read while going in and out of lit and dark rooms. My phone doesn’t even die as much as it used to because I turned off Push Notifications, it really does save your battery.

The iPhone is also not that heavy. I can easily sustain holding it up in one hand on any angle. It fits right into my palm, can be placed in my pocket in case I need to mop up the odl milk vomit that hits the cloth nappy on the shoulder. There’s no need to misplace it because it just slips away right next to your junk, or your cheeks if you’re worried about some sort of radioactive cancer turning your twig and giggleberries into John Merrickesque sideshow entertainments.

I have even mastered the perfect hold so I can use one hand to load comics and then swipe the pages/panels across the screen while also being able to easily and quickly switch from portrait to landscape view when necessary. It’s the world, or mostly just the Marvel Universe, right in my hand. I have so many issues saved up from free downloads that I still haven’t read them all. It’s great.

Imagine your wife wakes you up (if you have a wife) and she’s had the baby (if you have a child with your wife) on her lap for the past two hours. It’s your time, maybe you’ve gotta go wander with the kid to settle him, or maybe you’re on bottle duty. Who knows? The important thing to know is that you’re up. You’re not sleeping, not right now, so you get the kid settled but you need to stick around a little while. Maybe an hour, maybe just five minutes, either way, you know it’s the perfect time to catch that War Machine comic you’ve been trying to find time to read. Or you’re going to cycle through all the intro issues of near every DC Crisis book.

The point is, you get to still get your comics on while also being an awesome father and letting your wife sleep. Bonus points if you read the comic aloud to help settle your child.

The iPhone can also help by providing comic podcasts to listen to, but volume should be low enough that can still hear the baby’s cries or general noise. You don’t want to be caught oblivious of baby’s cries while chuckling along to The Splash Page or MOMBcast podcasts. That’s just not cool.

The iPhone, revolutionising fatherhood everywhere, every time.


I know the iPhone is my saviour as a father/nerd. It’s kept my sanity and state of being awake thriving on those nights where nothing else will work. Have you ever had a device or gadget help you out with being a father/nerd? The tv remote doesn’t count unless it does something extra special. Let me know in the comments, I can always use the help.

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Anonymous said...

I was very surprised to find that not only can you hold a newborn and play videogames at the same time, but they actually enjoy the movement!Many is the recent night that I have lulled a cranky baby to sleep at 3 a.m. while playing GTA.

Matt Duarte said...

Not related to fatherhood, but the iPod really is useful for reading comics while standing on the bus/train. I usually carry TPB's to read on the way to work, but I can't read those while I'm standing and holding on to the rail.

brandon said...

I can remember rocking my 20 pound 1 year to sleep when she was sick. I tried to put her down and she stirred so sat down with her on a stool and I read half of an Indy Jones omnibus. I needed a ton of advil later. My muscles were locked. But it was also the last time that little girl ever fell asleep in my arms so I'll cherish it for as long as I can.

Baby #2 I mastered the football carry with one hand so I could pace and read a comic with the other.

Good times though painful - lol

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