When I first started working in comics, I’d visit a local shop at least once a week. Not just to buy books, (which I did of course), but out of a desire to be around one of the things I loved the most. (Truth be told, I’ve been known to do the same thing at grocery stores, but that’s another story.) My love for comics transcended the text and the art, I literally just wanted to smell the air; air that was filled with the fresh scent of paper and ink. I would sit in the aisles, specifically at Midtown Comics 46th and Lexington Branch and just flip through books for hours. Caressing the pages, digesting stories- their words, their colors, their pencil strokes- whether it was Manga, the X-Men or Kabuki, it didn’t matter, yet it did;I absorbed it all in to my senses.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. Two days ago was the first time in ages that I entered a store just because. The wanting of comic book immersion for pleasure left me a long time ago. It’s been work, work, work over the past 13 years. Working on creating comics, working on making the industry a safer place for marginalized people, working on my career…all of that working can create burnout. And it definitely has. I haven’t been as creative as I’d like to be, not in a while; it’s been a very difficult few years…I could probably write stories upon stories about that alone. I still might when I’m feeling a bit more objective and less traumatized.
Walking through the shop, I searched for that old feeling; the happiness of just being among comics. It took a minute or two. That familiar joy crept in. I walked through the stacks; touching the books gently, flipping through this book and that book. I wasn’t sure if I was going to buy anything; truth be told I was given a gift card awhile back and figured I’d use it. I saw a few books that I liked; Blade Runner 2019 #2 was on the shelf but no sign of the first issue, I found out later that it was sold out. I’m a sucker for Androids and Cyber Punks and was hoping to buy both copies. Instead an old favorite was calling my name, a hard cover version of Battle Angel Alita Volume 1. Years ago, before the movie was even in production, I got my hands on an original soft cover of the first collected stories, but I couldn’t find any more issues after that since it went out of circulation. Long story short, I bought the book that day and am very much looking forward to reading it.
It all felt like a big step towards refueling from burnout. I’ve been doing a few things here and there; self-care and all that jazz- truth be told I need to do more of that. I took a much needed hiatus after SDCC from Conventions and am gradually getting ready for NYCC. I even started writing a little on a new story; nothing major but it felt like such an accomplishment to do it. These days I take little for granted, life is too short for wasted moments and wasted energy so I’m conserving how I spend mine. I hope y’all are doing the same too, even if it’s in bits and pieces it all adds up and helps to ground your feet in this crazy world of comics.
I’ll be working on keeping this blog up and running again. It’s been a long time and that was one hell of a hiatus…
Your (Still) Friendly, Neighborhood Writer,