I realize that you can glean a few things about my various tastes by what I write about. I realize you even know a little bit about my personal life, as I've occasionally talked about my wife, posted pics from my wedding or given you con updates that include some info about my friends. But do you guys really know anything about me? I realized today that, while I've promised to be as candid as possible here, I've not been exactly true to that.
Some people would probably say, "So?" I mean, the thought of airing all your personal stuff on the internet is a pretty mortifying one for many people. But I grew up online (for better or worse) and the idea of people out there in the ether knowing more about me doesn't frighten me at all.
I have a Facebook page and a Twitter feed, and you can learn things about me there if you're willing to seek them out, but this blog is supposed to be about my life, not just about what comics I'm reading. So, in the interest of getting to know you guys, I'm going to help you get to know more about me.
I live in Nashville, TN. I haven't lived here my entire life, but it still feels like home. I grew up about an hour and a half from here, small town called Lawrenceburg near the Alabama border. Our claim to fame is being the (supposed) birthplace of American folk hero (or cowering coward) Davy Crockett. It's the kind of small town you hear about in Bruce Springsteen or John Mellencamp songs. Growing up there wasn't easy. I was a very smart kid with very little access to decent education, so I wasn't always the best student because I had very few challenges to hold my interest. I went to a local Catholic school (almost everyone in the school was a relative. My family is pretty much 90% of Lawrenceburg's Catholic population) and that's where I first discovered comics.
My best friend at the time, a kid named Jeff Brink (if any of my friends from the past who read this know how two get in touch with Jeff, please let me know) introduced me to comics on a class trip to the circus. That story has been told elsewhere in the blog, so I won't bore you with a repeat performance. Jeff was big into comics, specifically X-Men, and he got me involved in it as well. My favorite comic growing up was the Infinity Gauntlet and I can remember Jeff and I collecting it together, each of us spending allowance on alternating issues and sharing them back and forth. I still engage in the activity of sharing comics with my friends today.
High school in Lawerenceburg wasn't great but it wasn't as horrifying as high school was for a lot of geeks. I had close friends who were interested in much of the same stuff as I, a steady girlfriend who loved comics (and her older sister who taught us a bunch about guys like Moore and Gaiman) and a steady diet of theatre to keep me safe from the rigors of small town geek life. Theatre was my big passion at the time and I thought for a while that I wanted to be an actor. The biggest obstacle was the fact that I hated most of the college drama kids I knew and didn't really want to be a part of their world that seemed rife with backstabbing and ladder climbing. In the back of my mind writing was always the thing that drove me and comic writing always the thing that excited me.
Of course I would go a long way toward screwing that up and tearing it down before I finally came out the other side ready to work. I'll expound on that in the next segment of this trip down memory lane.
I mentioned earlier that Nashville felt like home. It was the largest city in close proximity to my hometown so we spent a lot of time here when I was a kid. When I got to high school, my friends and I would escape to Nashville and the surrounding areas a lot to mallrat around and basically do dumb, fun kid shit. Laser tag, coffee houses, all ages punk shows (though not as often as I'd have liked), etc. I had a lot of baggage as a teenager (some of it I'm still dealing with, in various forms, as an adult) but for all rights and purposes, I had a pretty good teenage life. And through it all, comic books were always present. I didn't always focus on them as much as I should have, never got the collector bug that so many of my other friends had, but I never forgot them, never stopped wondering what it would be like to create them.
It would be a long time before I took the steps toward making that a reality, but I was surprised to find that the steps were a lot easier to take than I'd always feared...