I remember thinking back in the day how cool and interesting it was that many of the creators who were gaining prominence about the same time kind of knew each other and were friends to varying degrees. Marv Wolfman and Len Wein is a prime example. Kurt Busiek and Scott McCloud is another. These guys who were interested in comics, and grew into the industry roughly in tandem.
It makes a bit of sense if you think about it. Their interest in comics meant that they would travel in similar if not the same circles, and they would be exposed to many of the same experiences around the same time. So, if they were going down a path of a comic book creator, they would run into each other repeatedly and would be able to develop a friendship.
It struck me tonight as I was getting ready to head up to Chicago that I'm aware of that in a more contemporary setting. Several of the people that I hung out with on various message boards and such a decade or so ago are now working in the industry in some capacity. They have different skill levels, of course, and they're at somewhat different stages of their respective careers, but I know guys who've written Marvel and DC comics, penned their own novels and started reasonably successful entrepreneurial style businesses. Some of the folks I'll be seeing this weekend will be on the other side of the table, as it were.
As I said, I thought it was fascinating to see groups of creators "come of age" together in comics when I was growing up. But it's even more fascinating to see different people I know have the same types of experiences. It's even cooler, of course, because I know them, but I also get to see some of the less spotlit careers that I wouldn't have even been aware of when I was a teenager.
So keep an eye on those younger folks you know through your various social networks, not just the ones that are already pros! Pretty soon, you'll have your own "I knew them when..." stories!