Well, 2019 Sucked!

By | Monday, December 30, 2019 3 comments
I've seen a number of people on social media taking the end of the year to reflect on their accomplishments throughout 2019 and, when I attempted to join in, I found myself having a great deal of difficulty. Over the past several years, I've attempted to follow a DO EPIC SHIT mantra to achieve one great thing every year, but I didn't feel anything fell into that category for me in 2019 -- finding anything even sort of note-worthy seemed challenging.

Over-shadowing most of my year were some changes at my day job that resulted in new (and poor) leadership that in turn led to a very poor work/life balance and significant stress. Couple that with continuing to go through rehab from my accident last year, which wasn't stressful in and of itself, but I wasn't able to do nearly as much running as I was used to. That was both a source of self-identity and tension release, so not being able to run compounded the stress I was having inflicted from my job. I left that company a couple months ago and, while there's certainly some stress in looking for a new source of income, it still pales in comparison to the stress I was getting through my job. (Seriously, my blood pressure dropped 20 points after I left!) So, professionally, 2019 was awful for me and colored much of my outlook for the year.

I did eventually come up with a couple things I accomplished in 2019. Comics-related ones, even. But part of my problem was getting past all the awfulness throughout the year. There were, of course, a number of comics creators who passed away this year: Batton Lash, Tom Ryan, Kazuo Koike, Tom Lyle, and Gahan Wilson to name a very few. We're far enough along in the industry that those types of losses are, sadly, par for the course. Two deaths this year, though, hit me a little harder than usual -- comics folks that I considered friends: Derek Royal and Tom Spurgeon. Tom was probably more well-known and his memorial a couple weeks ago attests to the impact he had on the comics industry. While Derek was less well-known, he was still quite influential, co-hosting the Comics Alternative podcast with me and line-editing a series of comics studies books for Bloomsbury, of which my upcoming webcomics book is a part. He'll still be credited as such in my book and Tom provided a very nice blurb about it; so I find it will forever provide me with some mixed feelings about the book. I am very proud of it -- both the research and the writing -- but it will also forever be the last association I had with Derek and Tom.

The other highlight I had for the year was being able to attend TCAF for the first time, and catching up with several friends, some of whom I only met in person for the first time there. That was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend -- even outside the show venue itself, we kept hanging out with great comics people and just had a really fantastic time!

The down side to that speaks to another negative from 2019 -- many of the conversations with those friends started with some variation of "how's your health?" Because it seemed like so many of my friends -- comics friends in particular -- had significant health issues this year. From broken bones to chronic diseases flaring up to unknown issues that led to general health scares. And of course tied to that are the resulting health care bills that are causing problems on top of the basic health issues. I've had more than a few friends have to launch GoFundMe campaigns to cover medical bills.

Destruction caused by Iron Man 2020
Add on top of this the typical types of problems we see in comics in any given year -- for 2019, we've got MAD Magazine sort-of going away and ComicBookDB.com shutting down as specific examples and the continuing racism and misogyny as more general ongoing ones. Add on top of this the general background of the country collapsing (I'm US-focused, but many of them are going down the shitter right now, so feel free to insert your own here) and there's continued inaction on climate change despite ever-increasing evidence that we've fucked things up nearly beyond repair at this point!

So, not to be overly negative, but I just don't see a lot to be optimistic about going in 2020.

That said, I do have things to look forward to. I have several friends who have books coming out in the next month or two (check out David Gallaher and Steve Ellis' The Only Living Girl #2: Beneath the Unseen City and Damian Duffy and John Jennings' adaptation of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower!) and my own book is scheduled for a June release! Hopefully, it won't be too long before I land a regular job, and I'll be able to make it to TCAF again. I'm still pushing myself physically so I might be able to try for running another marathon. I have things I need to do in 2020, despite... well, everything!

For as abysmal your 2019 may have been -- whether because of your job, your family, your health, your finances, whatever -- please join me in saying FUCK THAT! I'll be charging into the future like there's no tomorrow, and I hope you'll join me there!
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Matt K said...

Nice choice of image.

Something from an Iron Man 2020 story seemed obvious, and I actually spent a while looking for an image of the character going on a rampage. (Turns out, I've equated the character too much with the Black Sabbath song; Arno Stark never really went on a rampage of any sort. Just the usual Marvel-heroes-misunderstanding fights.) But then I came across the end destruction scene in that Spider-Man annual, and it seemed to illustrate my mood just as well.

Matt K said...

Ever since the 1990s I have mapped Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" to "The Crossing," which is probably the best thing which can be said of that retconned storyline.

But it is definitely a loss that Arno Stark never really went on a rampage of any sort.