As a parent, I spend a fair bit of time in parks talking to other parents while we all rather desperately try to ignore our offspring. These conversations often start out with “so what do you do when you are not herding rugrats?” And, since at least one of the things I do is write about comics, I sometimes end up talking to strangers about funnybooks.

I had two such conversations this week, both of which were pretty entertaining. The first was with a woman from Columbia, who’d also spent some time living in Mexico. She told me that Wonder Woman in Spanish is “Mujer Maravilla”, which is pretty great. She was also interested to know what I thought of the Hernandez Bros. — she said she had trouble reading their stuff because she found it so sad (I think she was talking particularly about the Palomar books.) Maybe most interesting, she told me that there was hardly any native comics industry in Columbia. Instead, what comics there were were all Spanish translations of American super-hero comics. When I asked her if there were any imported Spanish-language comics from Mexico, she said, emphatically, no — which surprised me.

The second conversation was with an English documentary filmmaker; we’ll call him D. D. had once been very interested in comics, but hadn’t followed them in a long time. He explained that when he was a kid in London, he used to buy 2000 A.D. regularly, often shopping at the great London sci-fi and comics store Forbidden Planet. Anyway, one day when he was 13 or so, D. was in the store when a couple his age walked in. The girl was stunning; D said he looked at her and knew that this was it; a girl like this was what he wanted out of life.

Meanwhile, the guy who actually was with the girl walked over to a wall of comics, spread his arms, and said, half-joking-but-not-really, “Here it is! This is my life.” D. was watching the girl’s face while her boyfriend made this declaration — and that was it. D. walked out of the comics store and never went back.