Torsten Edison sixth grade
The author, after discovering MAD Magazine, but before Amazing Spider-Man #254 (and junior high).

Another year has passed into the record books, and once again, October 10th rolls around. Why should you care?

Because, in 2011, Heidi created a new holiday: Torsten Day!

While others celebrate Columbus, we will celebrate Torsten Adair, who’s become our regular weekend poster, keeper of the Coming Attractions, and master of the roundup.

Torsten has been commenting at the Beat as long as there’s been a Beat, and somewhere back in the mists of the Mesozoic Era we said “Hey, if you’re going to write all that you might as well post it.”

An Omaha native, Torsten studied Library Science at the University of Nebraska, before moving to the big city and eventually landing a spot at Barnes & Noble in 1999, first as a bookseller at the famed Lincoln Center branch, and more recently as a Data Analyst. Which is why he offers those insightful posts on bookselling. He’s a regular at just about every comics gathering on this coast, and always stands ready to supply some insights.

Torsten has been stumping for graphic novels long before they were cool, and he’s definitely done his part to bring them to the masses. Please give him a big thank you, because he’s a lifer, just like The Beat.

So, yeah, I was gobsmacked. Since then, I’ve run with it, since it’s kinda fun, and it usually occurs during New York Comic Con, when I’m communing with the various tribes, passionately discussing all sorts of trivial but cool and interesting topics with interesting and cool people.This year is the fifth year I’ve noted the day, but nothing special is planned. (I am, however, celebrating my TENTH New York Comic Con.)

This year’s theme is “Be Curious”.

curious [kyoo r-ee-uh s]

1. eager to learn or know; inquisitive.
2. prying; meddlesome.
3. arousing or exciting speculation, interest, or attention through being inexplicable or highly unusual; odd; strange:
a curious sort of person; a curious scene.
4. Archaic.
  1. made or prepared skillfully.
  2. done with painstaking accuracy or attention to detail:
    a curious inquiry.
  3. careful; fastidious.
  4. marked by intricacy or subtlety.

#1… YUP. I joke my middle initial stands for “Wikipedia”. My train of thought meanders through the Internet. My Web Fu is mighty, as synchronicity leads me to strange and wonderful corners of the Internet.

#2… I try not to be. I don’t want to be a jerk, and I’m perfectly fine if people tell me to stop asking questions.

#3. No, not really, high school basically encouraged me to become invisible, to avoid attention. I still do hate being placed in the spotlight, but I’ve learned to deal with it. ; Odd? Why, indubitably.  I love the odd. I’m bad at remembering names, but tell me something unusual / weird / strange / bizarre / out of the ordinary, and I’ll file that fact away for future citation. ; Strange? No, I’m all “secret identity”. I don’t want to stand out. Wait… I am strange, but not explicitly. I keep it locked away, unless I’m among friends. Again, nerd + 80s + high school. Bernard Marx in Brave New World. I’m different, I pass for “typical white guy”, and am rather reserved and private. But I function okay in public. ; Yeah, I’m a curious person. But that’s a recursive loop, maybe even a Klein bottle.

#4. Not really, except for 4.2 . I have a Midwestern work ethic, and if the chore is enjoyable, I’ll do my best to make it look as good as possible. Otherwise, I’m not a perfectionist, and generally I don’t care enough to be one.

So, how to celebrate Torsten Day?

Each year, I change a rule. This year, in celebration of the theme, be curious, especially with strangers. Maybe you’re standing in a line (especially at NYCC). Maybe you met someone at Bar-Con. Start a conversation. Me, I’ve developed two strategies. One, if I know stuff about what the other person is talking about, I’ll share my knowledge, and possibly even brainstorm ideas. If I don’t know anything, then my inquisitive nature will kick in, and I’ll start asking questions, hoping to learn something new.

If you’re at New York Comic Con, stop by a table in Artist Alley that catches your eye, and talk with the person behind the table.

The rest of the rules for celebrating “Torsten Day”:

1. Recommend a comic book or graphic novel to someone, preferably someone who hasn’t read one before. You can gush about your favorite, or you can try to match a comic to what they like to read, or you can just let that person know that the local library has comics!

2. Help someone in need. Myself, I suffer from a Boy Scout Complex. If I see a bewildered tourist on the street, I always ask (from a comfortable distance) if they need help. That may be why I’m a librarian… but also part of why I’m a librarian is because…

3. Go online and learn something new and strange and bizarre. Let your mind wander and wonder. If you’ve got a smartphone with a data plan, immediately scratch that itch. Then share it with the world via Twitter or Facebook or G+. Be curious. Let your mind trespass into areas not normally spoken of in polite company. (Like questionable baby names.)

4. Have some food and drink with friends, and discuss the sorts of stuff you all enjoy. Doesn’t matter if it’s sports or comics or porn stars named after automobiles. Whatever keeps things lively is okay!

5. Read comics in public. (Yes, I know there’s a holiday for that, but you should do that every day!) Chances are someone will start chatting with you about comics…

Okay, Rule #3 is sort of Rule #0. So here’s a bonus rule, which I’m adding to the list:

#6. Is there someone who makes your existence better, but isn’t necessarily prominent in your timeline? Let them know. Give them a shout out online, buy them a cup of coffee or a cold brew, give them a call.

As always, please say hi to me if we cross paths at Javits today or Sunday. And if you need some help with your curiosity:

Want to know more about myself? Go visit my Google Plus page! It has links to my other social networks. Please! please read and comment on stuff I wrote. I see the stats on my Blogger site, but most of those visits are by Google bots. I even made a webcomic! Using Microsoft Excel! Or leave a link below to something unusual. If you’re really bored, go search #forgottentvlyrics.




  1. Because of the difference of time zone, I will celebrate and follow all the rules of Torsten Day in one month, while attending the Thought Bubble Leeds Festival in UK.
    Today, I almost made it: I recommanded Head Lopper to a friend (#1), helped my cat reached the sink because he wanted to drink the running water (#2) and learned about this weird USD commercials with a pooping rainbow unicorn (#3).
    I did #4 and #5 extensively 5 days ago, bathing under the sun in the middle of the city, reading old Gerry Conway issues of Legion of S-H, then watching with two friends the beginning of season 3 of Game of Thrones, with lots of remarks about which male characters became hotter or was still gazed in uglyness.
    Good Day to you Torsten!

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