Reasons To Be Cheerful, by Martha Thomases
It’s Thanksgiving week. Impossible to get anyone on the phone. News stories about crowded, delayed and cranky airports. Christmas music reaches overload levels.
Let’s talk about giving thanks, and what inspires it. Here are some of the things for which I’m grateful this year:
* It’s a great time to be a comics reader. Even during the birth of the direct market when there were all kinds of cool independents, I don’t think we had the variety we have now. A lot of this is due to the Interwebs, the series of tubes that provides a low cost of entry for new readers and creators. A lot of this is due to the success of graphic novels in bookstores, which opens the medium to new readers who might want more than superheroes (obviously, what they want is manga). There’s comics for kids, comics for historians, comics for soap opera fans – really, the list goes on and on. Dirk Deppey, at ¡Journalista!, separates “literary” and “pop” comics, a dichotomy with which I disagree, but not in a hostile way, more of a “let’s have a few drinks and argue all night at the bar” kind of way.
* It’s great to be back in the comics business after doing other things for nearly a decade. I’ve gone to a lot of conventions this year, and seen people I hadn’t seen for a long time. Here, in no particular order, are a few that I missed while I was gone: Marc Hempel, Mark Wheatley, Ted McKeever, Scott Hampton, David Glanzer, Richard Case, Bo Hampton, Denys Cowan, Dick Giordano, Eric Shanower, Axel Alonso, Dean Haspiel and Nick Bertozzi, Mark Millar, Joel Meadows, Stuart Moore, Maggie Thompson, Joe Illidge, Mimi Cruz, Michael Eury and a bunch more I can’t remember at the moment. And, of course, my pals here on ComicMix, like Mike Gold, John Ostrander, Glenn Hauman, Michael Davis, Brian Alvey, Denny O’Neil, Mike Raub, Kai Connelly and Elayne Riggs.
* Comics is not just about my old friends, but also about the cool new people I’m meeting, too. Again, in no particular order, and leaving out too many because I’m old and have no memory, I was excited to get to know Valerie D’Orazio, Jeremy Atkins, Mark Haven Britt, James Hatton, Jarrett Williams, Tom Wilson, Stephanie Freese, William Chistensen and lots more.
* Like anyone who is alive and has a heart, I lost a few people who were dear to me this year. Thankfully, I knew them when they were alive, and, in the case of two of them, they live on in books, so you also have a chance to get to know them. We are all lucky to have lived in a world that contained Norman Mailer and Grace Paley.
* We are lucky to live in this world and have bodies, so we may touch and taste and smell and hear life. Even though I’m not much for quoting the Bible, I try to remind myself, every day, of the verse from the Psalms:
This is the day the Lord has made
Rejoice! And be glad of it.
Even on days when it’s overcast, gloomy and damp, and I feel fat, and my rotten husband is somehow incapable of reading my mind so he knows what I want and does it without being asked but instead I have to ask so I feel needy and bitchy, and my rotten kid somehow refuses to be the world’s most successful 23-year-old, thereby proving that I’m the greatest mother who ever lived – even on days like that, my can will let me pet her until she purrs, or there will be a Man from U.N.C.L.E. rerun on American Life, or I’ll discover a band new to me that I like — some little moment of joy.
* The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! My husband collects Christmas music, which is all well and good. However, it sometimes makes me feel left out, what with being Jewish and everything. So I’m very grateful that last year, I discovered that the Klezmatics had recorded an album of Hanukkah songs written by Woody Guthrie.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of ComicMix, is also grateful to have a job.