So yes, I have work to do. And I am not trying to whine about “writing a novel is hard.” But the book I’m working on takes up an enormous amount of headspace in order to produce things that are relatively small. Which I’m happy about, but it is a new thing, process-wise.
It’s also a thing that’s got me looking backward at my own past in a way I tend to avoid. Which means unearthing a lot of the stuff I consumed in order to constitute myself back when I was a kid growing up in the no-place of the Buffalo suburbs.
Which brings me around to comic books.
Comics were my best conduit to the weird outside world that was an object of pure faith for me when I was a teenager. A little later, it’d be film as well, but comics were unmonitored by my parents—as was all reading material; only movies, music, and television were suspect—and were just stranger than anything else I consumed. They offered possibility, rather than just reflecting myself back at me.
Okay, so. I’m already writing about Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and I am, as the kids say, back on my bullshit on that front. But I was looking for something to read that would feed into the work I’m doing and also just be a goddamn comfort. Because we are all of us short on comforts these days. I’d more or less settled on re-reading Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, a series I picked up and read in individual issues for almost fifteen years, starting (for me) in 1994.
Before I even pulled the book off the shelf, someone on Twitter mentioned James Robinson’s run on Starman. Which I was also reading month-to-month starting in 1994, through the end of the series in I think around 2001.
Both these series got me through high school and college.
Neither of them has anything in common other than being published around the same time.
So naturally, I’m going to re-read them together and write about them as if they are deeply, deeply entwined.
Possibly themes will emerge that will link the two. Possibly said themes will not emerge. I’m going in with no plan, and if you’d like to read along, I welcome you to join me.