“Hold on. I’m going to be Awesome.”
If you’re in a car with me driving and you hear these words, its probably because I’m about to do something of… questionable moral fiber. Like driving through some parking spaces because the exit is choked off by a truck, or cutting ahead of people because I need to turn at the last second. Zipping across six lanes to get to the Shake Shack across the street. (This is not my fault, the exit is idiotically placed. Usually there are gaps in traffic on a red light) I don’t do it often, or if I can avoid it, but that phrase is your signal to keep a lookout. Or whatever it is you do when your driver needs to make an emergency decision. Sorry, fellow motorists.
But these past few months I’ve felt the need to be Awesome more and more often, and not in a driving situation. That is because I have been the sole breadwinner and caretaker of a wife with a chronic illness since November of last year. It was a mixed bag of fortunate and unfortunate circumstances: we moved closer to people who can help, but away from our accustomed conveniences in the city. Mostly it means I’ve had to adapt. The Episode Where Vox Does Emergency Laundry. The Episode Where Vox Makes Dinner From Seemingly Nothing. The Episode Where Vox Rushes Wifey To The Emergency Room. That sort of Awesome.
So when it comes to stuff like New York City Comic Con, I fully expected to have to be Awesome the whole time we were there. You might think it’s a terrible idea to bring someone chronically ill to a place crowded with people in sometimes inconvenient costumes. You would be right… sort of. The thing is, while lots of people are oblivious or outright dickish to people who are disabled (those douchebags who cut in front of a wheelchair, your ankles were justifiably clipped.) there are lots of people who are decent and considerate. ReedPop itself and Jacob Javits did a great job providing free wheelchair lending and handicap access to panels. Other people amiably stopped to compliment our costumes, or had conversations about the new games and shows on display. We were fully able to enjoy the convention and connect with artists, cosplayers, and writers. Here’s a picture of what I mean:
Cosplayers, I think, often turned to cosplay as an escape from the everyday. And I think ultimately fandoms do things as extravagant as this to show a love for something that takes us out of a world where people double-park right in front of a crosswalk. Or a world where it is acceptable for a political party to have kept power for more than a decade on platforms of fear, ignorance and hate. Cosplayers don’t hate. At least, they don’t immediately denounce something as alien, not when their own geekery involves walking around with their butt hanging out in fishnets and being ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENT about it. Cosplayers know what it is to have found people who love what they love. They know that even if they aren’t in a particular fandom, it is perfectly okay to love different things.
After a while I began to relax, and I was able to get to a few things that I personally adore. I met Giuseppe Cammuncoli, who was gracious about my dated geekery. He misses drawing Constantine. We met Allison Sohn, who was fascinating on the topic of art and not being discouraged about making something imperfect. She also really loves sheepdogs, which is something I can get behind. @GMBChomichuck absolutely wowed me with his retro-dark art, and I am slightly embarrassed because I am working on a Raygun Gothic and he has already put out a lovely free serial that I will be devouring ravenously. (it looks like we have different ideas on the subject, which will be interesting.) He is far more talented than I am. Z.M. Thomas is a massive Kamen Rider fan, and he complimented me on my costume. I really don’t think I can top his Jesus on a unicorn, firing guns and shooting laser beams from his eyes, though. That’s just sheer balls, man.
Coming home from con, and for once having a plan involving my wife’s condition go totally well, I felt recharged and inspired. Yes, I’m still going through a rough patch in my life. We had planned on saving up and starting a family after getting married, not squeezing by and running ourselves ragged trying to keep up with a chronic illness. Illness hits everybody around the patient, and I don’t think healthy people understand that until they have had to care for someone. We haven’t even had a chance to send out Thank-You cards to friends and family, and it’s been a whole year. But like Winston Churchill said, if you’re going through hell, keep going. This coming year will feature the re-launch of my steampunk Lands Beyond series, and hopefully I can find a home for my Raygun Noir and Raygun Gothic. I am terribly excited about how they’re coming along.
So until next time, here’s a few cool pictures I got from Comic Con.
Right. Let’s go be Awesome.