In 1997, Rich Koslowski's "How to Pick Up Girls if You're a Comic Book Geek" introduced to world to Keith Pankowski, Allen George and Jim Tamphear, a trio of geeks that would go on to star in the critically acclaimed "3 Geeks" series, followed by "Geeksville." This January, Koslowski invites fans to geek out once more with "3 Geeks: Slab Madness," and CBR News caught up with the writer to get the details.
"Keith, Jim and Allen take everything to the Nth degree when it comes to their hobby, so they're maybe a little more extreme than your average, everyday collector," Koslowski told CBR. "But anyone who does collect or has collected will say to themselves, 'Oh, yeah, I know these guys!' or 'I am this guy!'"
A few of the trio's adventures in fandom include going to conventions; self-publishing their own mini-comic; attempting to "pick up" girls utilizing their expansive knowledge of comics; participating in comic book movie marathons; tracking down a letter writer that raised their ire; experiencing a birthday disaster when Allen is unable to lift the hammer Jim made for him; being forced to get jobs to support their 'habit'; the Y2K scare; a disastrous pool party where Jim's uncle wears a very rare Wonderful Woman trunks into the pool; "and so on and so on," Koslowski said.
The three geeks' latest adventure casts them neck-deep in the world of comic book grading. "Allen (who has the biggest, most pristine collection!) is so delighted with all his CGC graded comics that he surrounds himself with them so he can bask in their glory," Koslowski explained. "Eventually, he builds an igloo type of shell with all his slabbed books so he can better view them and enjoy them. And when he puts the last slabbed book in the last space something magical happens! Enlightenment! Allen finds himself all-knowing when it comes to grading comics."
This triggers the arrival of the "Cee Gee Cee," who come bearing prophecies, in search of the "chosen one." "Jim and Keith find themselves going head-to-head with these mysterious cultists to free Allen from the cocoon and to save Allen's very soul!" Koslowski said. "Besides, how the heck's Allen going to go to bathroom in that thing?"
The writer admitted he is not as obsessed with keeping his comics in mint condition as his 3 Geeks characters are. "With some of my nicer Silver Age stuff I am, and some series I really like I do take extra special care with bagging and boarding and the occasional 'slabbing," Koslowski confessed. "But for the most part I read them, they pile up next to the bed getting little dings and dents, and then I finally, someday, get around to sorting them and boxing them."
The idea for "Slab Madness" has been germinating for years, but a host of other obligations kept Koslowski from writing it until now. "Finally, my good pals, Steve Borock over at the CGC, Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics and Marc Nathan of Baltimore Comic-Con nudged me a bit with their support to finally get it off the ground," he revealed.
Perhaps fittingly, tracking down back issues of classic "3 Geeks" adventures is no easy task. A handful of the original issues can still be purchased at www.RichKoslowski.com. There are also four trade paperbacks collecting the first eleven issues of "3 Geeks" and "Geeksville," but Rich Koslowski is letting those go out of print in anticipation of a "3 Geeks" omnibus. "I'm toying with coloring all the back issues for the Omnibus as well," Koslowski said. "I'm hoping to have this ready for next summer if all goes as planned."
Last year, independent filmmaker Heath McKnight became attached to produce a film adaptation of the "3 Geeks," but the filmmaker's own busy slate has put the film on the back burner. "It's pretty frustrating, but what can you do?" Koslowski remarked. "I've pretty much adopted a, 'If it happens, it happens' approach as, for the most part, it's out of my hands. I do everything I can to expedite it but there's really only so much a creator can do."
Koslowski does expect he will have something more concrete to report about the film adaptation within the next couple of months.
"3 Geeks" is not the only project on Koslowski's horizon. "I'm just putting the final touches on a new graphic novel I illustrated (written by newcomer, J.D. Arnold) that will be published by Top Shelf Productions and released in Spring/Summer of 2009," he said. "It's called 'BB Wolf & The 3 L.P.s' and it's a retelling of the classic Three Little Pigs story. A much, much, much darker retelling, though, let me tell you. It takes place in the depression era deep south and the Big Bad Wolf is a poor blues playing farmer with a wife and a few cubs, and the Little pigs are greedy landowners. What goes down ain't so pretty! The story is amazing and the art's probably the best thing I've done to date. I couldn't be any prouder."
On top of that, Koslowski has quite a few other pitches making the rounds. "I do have about two-to-three other solid books planned that I'll just go forward with and either end up self-publishing or finding another good pub for them," he said. "I just go where the wind (or whim) takes me these days."
"3 Geeks: Slab Madness" #1 hits stands in January.