Television? Been there. Movies? Done that.
But comic books? That’s something entirely different. Lima can check that off its bucket list now.
Lima is featured in a four-book comics series, with the first available now. Those wholesome kids from the “Archie Comics” series find themselves in the Lima shown in the television series “Glee.”
“I think it’s exciting,” said Marc Bowker, owner of Alter Ego Comics, 230 N. Main St., Lima, which began selling the first of the four monthly comic books Wednesday. “I’m not a huge fan of the TV show or a huge fan of Archie comics, but both of those properties have some pretty rabid fan bases.”
Lima has a love-hate relationship with "Glee." Yeah, it’s cool to hear the city’s name used on television. It’s not so cool to hear it paired up as “Lima losers.” It’s frustrating the show regularly ignores the good things here or accurately reflect a place that really exists. The unwillingness to even use a real school’s name, calling theirs William McKinley High School (which actually exists in Canton), only makes us roll our eyes more.
The "Archie" kids from Riverdale meet “Glee” kids from McKinley in the comic book series, starting in "Archie Comics" No. 641. A wormhole or portal transports teens to each location, challenging them to return to their own time and place. That’s how Veronica from "Archie" ends up trying to woo Finn from "Glee," or how Josie and the Pussycats from "Archie" try to recruit Mercedes Jones from "Glee" into the band. Even Sue Sylvester from "Glee" and Jughead from "Archie" will cross paths.
“How perfect these worlds mesh, and how funny the comparisons are between the characters,” "Glee" writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told The Associated Press. He also wrote these comic books.”The idea was that rather than just have them meet at a competition to do something that was a little bit more comic bookish.”
"Glee" creator Ryan Murphy, who chose Lima as the setting for his Fox television series after passing through here as a child, told The Associated Press the comic books celebrate “the two worlds, not just their similarities but their differences, which I think we’ve done.”
Bringing these two worlds together helps bring comic books into focus for everyone. "Archie" has been around since 1941, and many people tell Bowker it’s the first comic book they ever read. Meanwhile, the "Glee" comic books bring new people into Alter Ego Comics.
“I’m a firm believer there’s a comic book for everyone,” Bowker said. “People who say they don’t read comics just haven’t found the right one yet.”
It’s certainly not Lima’s first brush with fame. Of course, comedian Phyllis Diller and news anchor Hugh Downs both graduated from high school here. Pierce Brosnan mispronounced the city’s name during a scene in 1999’s “The Thomas Crown Affair.” And radio host Scott Van Pelt joked about co-host Ryen Russillo getting wrong directions to ESPN personality Kirk Herbstreit’s home in Columbus and ending up at the Cracker Barrel in Lima in 2009.
And who could forget that just last month Lima became the de facto capital of Ohio for a day, when Gov. John Kasich and his cabinet chose Lima for the State of the State address?
Still, it’s nice to see our name in print. Bowker said Lima appears in the first issue four or five times. He couldn’t recall ever seeing our city’s name in a comic book before, although Dayton, Cincinnati and other larger cities in Ohio graced comic book pages before.
“It’s perfect for fans of the 'Glee' TV show, perfect for 'Archie' fans and perfect for that Lima connection,” Bowker said. “Lima is name-checked quite a bit, and it’ll give people some great Lima pride. They should check this one out.”