Why Do I Keep Talking About Comics

By | Wednesday, November 29, 2023 2 comments
I've dropped off most social media now. I still have a LinkedIn account for professional reasons, and I maintain a presence on Mastodon just to have somewhere to dump whatever non-comics crap is rattling around in my head, but that's it. But everything else seems to deliver more awfulness than benefits. (And actually, even LinkedIn is more of a playing-the-long-game benefit at best.) And while my feed is still full of cat memes and bad puns and random Bettie Page photos and whatever other nonsense, there's also plenty of news on Israel bombing Palestine back to the stone age and Russia trying to get Ukraine to roll over and COVID killing thousands more people and corporate greed screwing over yet another swath of people and the GOP trying to dismantle democracy and hundreds of other headlines that showcase how/why humanity doesn't really deserve to exist.

I live in a town with a population of around 75,000 people. It's a suburb of a major metropolis with a population north of 2.5 million within the formal city limits, and nearly 10 million when you look at the broader metro area. And I find myself doing more to insulate myself from those people. It's not that there aren't good individuals out there, but it seems increasingly dangerous to go out to find them. Because the Jason J. Eatons of the world -- the people who step off their front porch to shoot three college students just for being Palestinian -- have ready access to guns legally. Because of the 300-ish people who have been convicted for trying to overthrow the US government (300 of well over 1,000 who have been arrested) the median sentence has been a mere 60 days. Because... actually, I'm going to stop myself already. You get the gist. The point is that it seems trivial to wax on about a statue for an old Batman fan or a co-worker whose grandfather was friends with Count Dante or just complaining that Skrull Kill Krew should never have existed in the first place.

So I keep having to actively remind myself of this short comic Jon "Bean" Hastings wrote in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. And while the "Planes crashing! Buildings collapsing..." screed is a little different now (just pick a headline) the impact is similar. So maybe it's worth pulling this comic up again to see why I need to keep writing about comics...

A friend asked recently what, these days, gives me hope or makes me smile. I could rattle off several things that make me smile (a loving wife, a reasonably secure job, comics...) but I had trouble coming up with anything that gives me hope. Hastings reminds me that it's the stories themselves that provide hope, and that by examining the stories, I can express precisely when/where/how that hope might be placed relative to whatever bullshit is coming out of Washington. It's incentive enough to keep doing what I've been doing: trying to be the best me I can be, whether that's calling out people on their racism or just writing about building my own funny pages from scratch.
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Matthew E said...

I hope you do keep talking about comics. Because you want to and because it's good. Why the flip should you have to not?

@Matthew -- Thanks! I don't have any intention of stopping, but I do need to remind myself why it's still okay to talk about this kind of stuff.

@Jen -- I'm not seeing your email, but feel free to email me at sean@seankleefeld.com if you like. I talked to him briefly earlier this evening, but he's still feeling the effects from last night so I didn't try take up too much of his time. I'm going to try to swing by in the next day or two. Probably Friday afternoon.