Tony Farina is the host of Indie Comics Spotlight on Comics in Motion. He’s also a reviewer on Fantastic Universes, DC Comics News and AudioFile Magazine. On top of that, he’s also a teacher, author and all-around really nice guy.
He joined me to discuss where it all began for him, how his geek journey has evolved over time and how people have reacted to his hobbies.
As always you can listen on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you prefer.
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I’m putting it on record. You can cut this. It’s your show. But Episode 100, I assume you’re going to have Mike, come on and be the interviewer.
Yes. Episode 100.
Mike Burton will be in your chair and you will be the geek. I can’t wait.
I have it on schedule it is set for the 10th of April 2023
That’s only 23 months
Hi. I’m Tony Farina, DC Comics News and Fantastic Universe. Also, I have two shows on the Comics in Motion Network, and I publish Audiobook Review, an audio file magazine. I don’t think I talk about that enough. They actually pay me, which is insane. So they send me audiobook files, I listen to them, and then they send me 10 Bucks when I write my review and the review is only 125 words, it’s the greatest. And I get to keep the book I don’t even understand. So Audio file. I do that. Also, Yeah. Comics in motion. I have into Comic Spotlight, which I’ve been doing since episode 72 is about to be out. So I don’t know when this is coming out. So it could be 82 by the time this comes out because I know you’re way far ahead.
Jack and I also have seasons Greetings, which was originally just going to be me doing. I talked to Dave and said, Hey, I was thinking about doing, like season by season Puffy, where I just kind of give my rambly thoughts about Luffy. And he’s like, Yes, whatever. You know, how Davis and he’s like, That’s a good idea. But I just kind of got to know Jack through Twitter and I didn’t know him, other than to have him on the show to do Firefly. And we really just hit it off.
He’s such a great guy, as you know, from the first episode of the show.
He’s just a great guy. So I just reached out to him. I was like, Hey, man, I want to do this Buffy show. You want to do it. And Here’s like, Holy shit. And it happened to be that I asked him on his birthday. I had no idea that was like, the best birthday present apparently ever for him, so that was cool. So anyway, I really enjoy that. We’re doing the season by season, look at Buffy. And just instead of it being binge and Buffy.
And now it’s season’s Greetings and we’re going to keep it on where we do season by season. Older shows. We have a list going, obviously, we’re going to do Angel next and probably Firefly, but we’re going to then look at maybe start the original star Trek, Next Generation. Fringe is on the list, which would be really fun for me because I never watched Fringe. So I think that’d be a lot of fun. Maybe Alias is something Jeff wants to do. And I love Alias. So that’s a fun show.
And then, of course, I write reviews at DC Comics News and I don’t write enough for Fantastic Universes. I have like four reviews I want to do. So sorry, Steven. Adam is just I don’t have I could make more time, but I also get paid to read these audio, listen to these audiobooks. So as I mentioned, so I spend a lot of time doing that, and I read all the time and I’m working on a second. I’m working on a novel. I’m about 70,000 words into that.
So it’s not that I don’t have time is that I prioritize my time. And unfortunately, and they’re going to hear this and be like, What a Dick. Fantastic Universes, Unfortunately. But it’s because they’re so nice because they’re like, whatever, man, whatever you got, whatever you want to do something because they don’t put any pressure on beware with DC Comics News. I’ve been there for, like four years now, maybe five. And so, Josh, we have a deadline we need in order to get the free comics we get from DC and Image, we have to put things out and all the indie coming at a certain time because I feel an obligation because of the deadline there. I’m a much better writer there and more consistent than a Fantastic Universe. So that’s my long-winded who I am and where you can find me around the Internet.
Are you able to talk about what the book is about?
My book? Sure. So my original Masters was in just education for teaching adults because I teach adults. And then I was just kind of use that for a while, and I’ve got a full-time job using that. And I had to choose between getting a PhD or getting MFA in the United States, a terminal degree. It’s just something where you can’t get another degree in that. So you can give a doctorate in creative writing. But it’s a PhD in creative writing. And I earned a Master of Fine Arts and creative writing. And so there’s not a DFA. That’s not a thing. So it’s an Automat degree. So I got an MFA in creative writing. And I wrote a book called The Will, which is this seven different points of view, perspective, this family and its math. I mean, I love that book. I’m proud of that book, and I’m trying to sell it right now. But it’s like I would just say to aspiring writers, don’t write in the first-person point of view from seven different people. That’s really hard, cause I had to keep seven different points of view and the way that they speak, their tone there’s all in my head at the same time. So that was really hard, but that was really challenging. And I love that. But it was a book for adults. It doesn’t have, like, a serial killer in it.
So it’s hard to sell because books for adults now are generally, you know, that the crime fiction or their romance, and it’s none of those things. It’s just a regular book for regular people who hate families. That’s kind of what it is. And that’s the logline. But the new book. So I was like, Okay, so the new book is a modern-day retelling of a Jane Austen novel. So I’m a big Jane Austin fan, my wife, and I love Jane. And so Mansfield Park is the one that I think gets the most stick, because Fanny Price, the main character. Everybody thinks she’s kind of boring and she’s not even really the star of her own book. But I love Fanny, and I think her earnestness is misunderstood. So I thought, well, I’ll do this modern-day retailing. I’ll set it as new adult, which means she’s, like, off the College instead of young adult, where she’s in high school. And so I’m doing that, and I’m almost about 70,000 words in and about 90,000 is what I think it’ll end up being. So that’s been a lot of fun trying to take the greatest writer in English since Shakespeare and try to make her boys my own, which has been really hard.
But it’s fun because sometimes I’ll drift into, like, really Janis and the set and structure and everything will feel really formal. But it’s been fine. I changed the character’s name from Fanny Price because, in the book, she’s Francis Price. The second her mom is also Francis Price. They call her Fanny. That would be the name is like, I’m not calling a woman in 20 21 Fanny. So I’ve just called her Junior. So she’s Junior Price. She’s the Francis Price Junior. So they call her Junior. So that’s what I do. So it’s been a lot of fun, though, to write, and I crack the ending the other day. I know how it’s going to end. So maybe by the time this comes out, I’ll have a draft done and I’ll be working on a second draft. That’s the book. And I feel like, with young adults new adult books to sell way better, those can be about nothing. For whatever reason. Teenagers are content with reading books about just life, or adults need somebody to die for some reason for the book to sell. So the hope is I give an agent, I’ll sell that book, and then people be like, what else you have? Like, I’ve got this other book. You should also read it. So those are the things that work on.
It’s interesting because I think that when I’m not a geek, I still am because when I was 12, I decided I would be an English teacher. And there were two moments in my life that made me realize that one was something my grandpa said, and one was my grade. I don’t know what you guys call that. My Canadian friends call it grade seven, and it’s the same. I don’t know what that is for you. I was 12. Most people were 13. So whenever that is for my British friends. So, my grandpa, I grew up on a fruit farm. My grandparents had a fruit farm, and my mom’s parents and I was just free Labor on the weekends and in the summers, and I just worked. I learned how to work on that farm. And I’m bad with a clock because when you work on a farm, there’s no clock. You work until the job is done. So it may be that you’re done at noon, one day or seven P. M. Or whatever.
My grandpa said, there’s really only two things worth doing, farming and teaching. And I was like, Well, this sucks. This sucks. I’ve got calluses on my hands. I’ve been damaged. I’ve got harm to my body from doing this farming job. I’ll check into that. That was just always there. And then in seventh grade, and so I’ve always been a reader. I’ve read. I could read his three. And I’ve been reading ever since. And so the time I got to seventh grade, whatever you guys call it in England, grade seven, Canadians, we were reading Dickens, Great Expectations. And I had already read it. And my English teacher said she was like, There is no value of you sitting in here watching your classmates try to get through this book that most of them probably didn’t read. Why don’t you just do something else? Because she knew it. I read it. So I said, Okay, something Dickens related. So I wrote my own version at each 12 of A Christmas Carol. You know, the most Dickens thing there is.
I wrote it as a play, and she liked it. And she’s like, we go, Okay, go do something with it. So I grabbed a couple of friends and we put it on. We created a play. My own version. I updated whatever year that was a version of A Christmas Carol. And she liked it so much that she convinced the school that that could be the Christmas play for the year. The middle school Christmas play. So play that I wrote and cast and directed, and we staged it and everything. So that was pretty cool. And so you think you’d be like, Okay, so that means, Tony, you’re a playwright. And while I still write and I write all the time, it was at that moment that my teacher, Ms Alboro, said she saw something in me.
She figured out what it is I needed, and she gave it to me. She as a teacher gave me what I needed. And so those two things my grandpa saying, teach. And my seventh-grade teacher being like, Here’s how you can grow as a person. That was pretty much it for me. Like, Okay, I always want to write. I always want to do all these other things. But. But being an English teacher, I know most people don’t want to be English teachers, but English teachers can impact your life because you’re going to be an accountant or you’re going to be a nurse or you’re going to be in marketing. You all have to write. You have to communicate in some way. So because. So I managed to turn my passion for reading and writing just into a job. So when you say, what do I do when I’m not being a geek, I’m I’ll leave this.
This is what I am is I’m never not doing this. One of our daughters says, my wife and I have blended our family. We didn’t have any kids together, but we brought our kids if we brought our kids from previous marriages together. So her youngest daughter, one time, we’re sitting at a dinner table with us, and we will just Yap. It about a book. And she’s like, This is like, I’m watching the world’s smallest book club and literally at least four times a week, my wife and I have completed the same book. We read different books a lot of times, but I say we each read of over 200 books a year between audiobooks and written books. And I say half of them we read are the same. So just yesterday, she finished Andy Weir’s new book that I finished a couple of days before, and I finished reading the Swedish translated science fiction fantasy book called Made that she had read a few days before.
So at dinner, that’s what we talked about all dinner projectile, Marie and this MateBook. And that so like, I’m never not nerding. Like, I can’t say I have anything else. I teach English. I teach writing for adults at Santa Heights University in Michigan. I’ve been teaching. I graduated College at 19 95, and I started teaching. I graduated in May. I taught my first class in June, and I’ve never stopped taught year round. I don’t take summers off. Since May of nine to 95. I’ve been teaching at the College level, not full time, but I’ve been teaching, so I did other jobs. I was a Carpenter. I did other construction work. I sold carpet, whatever while I was trying to get the full time teaching job. But I’ve never stopped teaching. I’ve never stopped thinking about books in art and the impact those things have on life. And so I’ve never not geeking out. So it’s hard. I can’t say that I have another thing because it’s all I do. So I turned the thing I love into a job. Not like I’m not a comic book writer. That would be sweet, right? But I get to write about comic books, though. I’m talking to you. I don’t get paid to do that. Stuff, but I still get to do it. It’s just one of those things where and I know it’s like Super tripe.
People say, find a thing you love to do and you never work in it’s. Super true. I mean, there are definitely days where I log into class. I’ve been teaching online for the last eight years, so the pandemic came, and I was lucky enough to be in a good sheep because I’ve been years before I quit teaching on the ground in the classroom, which I had been doing since 19 95 when I started teaching fully online. And I’d say the early days of the internet because I graduated College when the Internet was still a baby, we didn’t really have it. And so I started teaching. Is the internet happen? So from 95 on, and so with online classes and hybrid classes was the first thing I did where you teach on the ground for half the time, and then the other half of the class would be online to free up classroom space. That was really what we were doing. So I started. I learned I trained. I figured out how to do that work. So when the online opportunities came, I’d been doing it for years. It wasn’t work.
I knew how to teach online, so it was an easy transition for me. I’m one of those fake extroverts who really isn’t one at all because I was in a punk band in College and I can Fool anybody. I can stand in front of a room with 10,000 people and do whatever. I’m never embarrassed. I’m not shy. I can teach in front of I’ve had classes as small as six people, and I’ve had classes with 45 people. And I played in my band in my College in front of the entire campus, which my College was small but still doesn’t matter. None of them. No shame at all. But at the end of the day, I really would just like to be alone with a book or with my wife with a book. You know, I’m like really. So I just fixed everybody else. When the opportunity came to teach online, every thought, well, you’re going to hate because it you love to be in the classroom. And I didn’t I just love to teach it’s not so much. Being in the classroom virtual classroom is still the classroom. I’m still engaging with my students. I’m engaging with them or that I ever did. Because when you think about an on ground class that meets three or 4 hours a week, you can only talk to each student so many minutes in two hours or four hours when you’re online, and the discussion lasts an entire week instead of four hours. Every student I get to respond to every student twice a week, and I can take my time writing back them, and I know them way better. And I have a student right now who’s from Japan spent last semester in the Ukraine and who’s in Mexico right now? That would never happen. I would never know that student, you know, if it weren’t for this kind of format. Yeah. She’s really press.
She’s like, obviously the smartest person in the world because as she speaks Japanese, Spanish, English, and she was in the Ukraine for a while. So she’s speaking Russian, too. I think she’s, like, 21, so I don’t even understand what her brain is like.
But that’s just Super cool for me to be like, that’s a student about, like, that’s Super cool. Yeah. I’ve always loved the job. And it’s just something. So the idea being that you find the job that you love, because I get to talk about writing and creative. I have a whole unit on just thinking critically. So everything I do with that because you always say to me, it’s like, Dude, how do you find all the details and everything? It’s just because that’s what I’m doing all day long, like the clock when we talked last about the clocks and and Joe Hills Buck. But it’s just like, because that’s what I do all day. I’m trying to find the little things. How do I keep this conversation going? How do I get a reluctant student who’s not interested in whatever I’ve read, whatever I’ve given them to read? What’s the nugget I can find in their discussion post? They’ll respond to my initial question, and I’ll find one word sometimes in their post be like, Well, you said this. Let’s talk about that. And then I force them to have a longer conversation with me while they’re talking with the rest of the classmates in the Britain discussion.
But I’m saying you said this phrase. This is the one thing I want to talk about. I don’t care about the rest. I mean, I do, but I don’t. Let’s talk about that. So I’m always looking for the small things to get them thinking and keep the conversation going. So it’s like, that’s the job. So I’m just constantly looking for those little details and it does bleed over into light. You know, sometimes it’s hard. You can’t just, like, look at something and be mindless because you’re always looking for the what’s? The hidden message there. I think that’s why I like the Shark Needles movies so much, because there’s no there’s no message that’s six movies of pure, utter stupidity. And I love them all so much because there’s nothing else going on. This is this. This is what’s on the screen. There’s no subtext in the Shark Needles movies. It’s just text. And I love it. The best thing about it is that Tara. I thought she was in a real movie. If you’ve ever seen the Sharp Data movies like Tara Reid thinks that’s real. Like, she doesn’t get what’s happening. Everyone else gets it. She does not. I think she thinks she’s in something else. But that also makes the joy of that. It’s like just to watch her be awful when everyone else is being awful on purpose, and she thinks it’s just fantastic. So anyway, but I definitely do that. I can’t shut it off. So whatever it is we’re watching, I’m always thinking, like, what’s the other? What’s the other thing that’s happening here? So we just watched, and I don’t know if it’s been released over there, but Sara Borelli just has a new show out. It’s called Girls five Ever, and it’s about a girl group from the late 90? S Early 2,000 to reunite. If it’s an it is so goddamn funny. Oh, my God, it’s great. Tina Fey is one of the writers, so if you could just look at it for pure silliness, like, making fun of that, you’re fine. But there’s this extra layer. So even while I’m just enjoying the silly, funny, dumb songs, which they’re great and the acting is good and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s a great show, tight script, everything is good. But I’m always thinking like, well, what is the other comment that they’re making here about the in there when they’re listening back to their old songs that they sang in the original nineties Girl five of Us stuff and how awful it is and how, like, there’s a whole song about wanting to be a side piece. And it’s like, I’m your broken girlfriend and this stuff. And it’s just like, so what is the comment? I mean, it’s there, but it’s not like you can just listen to that and laugh and go, Ha ha. But then you look at yourself and you’re like, Well, what are the lyrics? What are the songs I sang along to in to 999? What are the words that I didn’t think about at the time? So even in this silly, funny, really enjoyable comedy, I loved it. I hope it just picked up. It was so light. There’s another layer there. There’s another thing to think about, so I don’t mind. I don’t mind it. But there are definitely times they’re just like, Okay, just want to shut it off. I’m just going to watch Shark NATO. Or, to be Frank, the CW superhero shows. There’s not a lot of thing going on in that. Those are Super formulaic. And I know Chris hates them for that because it’s like, it’s like you’re watching a soap opera. That is exactly what it is. I can watch The Flash. I don’t have to think too hard because every episode is exactly the same. So there are those moments where I want to shut it off. But I think that’s also where season’s Greetings came from. It’s because it’s like, well, I want to enjoy Buffy and love it for what it was because I watched it in real time. Those first four seasons, I did, and then I had kids, so I didn’t. But thinking back to, why did I like those so much? And how does that hold up? So I’m even having fun doing analysis. I can’t help myself where Jack and I interviewed Dan Waters, who did whose Homesick Pilots is out right now. And when he did Coffin Bound. So the second half of Coffin Bound at the beginning of each of these four Bucks of Coffin Bound, there’s a line from your regard book. So I just went and read the whole book before I interviewed Dan Waters just because I was like, I need to know why. And even I think even during the interview, he’s like, Yeah, but character already did that. I’m not doing that. I’m just like, I’m making my own commentary on it. But I had all these whole questions about, well, this line is in your book, and this is in the like, I just can’t help it. So that was fun for me to sit and read some care guard before I talked to Dan Waters about a comic book that 14 people read. So it’s okay. It’s fun. It’s still fun for me. But there are definitely moments where you want to be like, okay, I’m just going to I just want to stare out the window and not do that or watch Snark, NATO or the CW. But even the music I listen to, I don’t listen to a ton of, like, most of the music I listed to even that has, you know, stuff going on. Sometimes you just want a silly pop song. Like, I love some bubble gum pump pump. The Jose and the Pussycat soundtrack, I got to admit, is amazing. I love that entire SnapTrack. It’s so great. It’s just silly fun. I like that kind of music, but I do still want even, like, The Remote is one of my top three favorite bands. Even there. Even now, I want to sniff some glue. Makes it seem like you’re like, well, I get what that’s about, but is it? I mean, there’s an argument about what’s happening at the time that that song was written and what’s happening to these young Street kids. And why do you need to sniff some glue? What is it that you’re trying to do? Like, what’s wrong with reality that you need to? So even there even just listening to, like, don’t punk music, I still am looking for the next thing. I can’t help it. I’m not saying I’m right. That’s the thing, too. I’m not one of those English teachers or who’s, like, my way is the only right way. And if you think now I want to sniff some glue is about something different than me, you’re wrong. You may think now. I can’t believe you even talked about that. That sounds dumb when you think about it at all. Beyond it’s, two and a half minutes of noise with four ugly men in black jacket singing fair. That’s totally fair. I’m fine with that, too. Like I said, I love my job, and I think about my job all the time. And it must be pretty training, though, to not. I mean, you know, I can’t help it. So it could be 7 30 at night. I can look over my wife. I have this thing here. It would be something cool I could do in class or like this other book I’m reading. I’m like, I wonder if I could work class. Could I work this San? I’m always thinking about it, so it must. But I like that. But if you don’t, it must be nice to make a good living and not have to think about it and not have to worry about it to not bring work home. And if you’re good at that, I think that’s awesome. I’m not. And again, because I’m an introvert, and obviously the dream is for a lot of people. If you could just for all of us. Nerds, I’ll just keep is the word you’re using. So I apologize. I keep saying nerds, but getting a job in art would be amazing. That would be a great job to be able to be like, Oh, what’s your full time job? I do this like, Sam, who did our amazing picture. He’s a full time artist. That’s his job. I’ve seen his office. I’ve interviewed him. I know that’s his workspace. It’s like drawings and shit all over. And it’s pretty cool. Like, that’s a dream job for a lot of people to be able to be creative and do art and make a living off of it. So I just think everybody’s got something different that they love and that’s good. And I think our common ground is this nerdy, comic book world, movies and TV and everything. For whatever reason, we’ve all found our way there because there’s an escape from whatever it is, whether it’s an escape in some cases, or whether it’s just, like, a reinforcement of the things that you love. Because, of course, I grew up a DC fan. I always like Marvel, too. But my favorite Marvel character was Nightcrawler. He’s Super complicated because he looks like a demon. He’s treated like a demon, but in a different world, he’d be a priest. He’s the most religious character in all of the X Men. So that’s such a cool concept that you’ve created a demon character who believes in God so much. And who if he weren’t born Nightcrawler, if he weren’t Kurt Bogner puzzle, which is Kurt on a regular guy, he’d be a priest right now. And so it’s such a cool thing. So I just find and his ability to be so happy all the time. And he shouldn’t be like, if you look like Night Crawler, it’s hard to wake up and be chipper every day. So there’s this weird commentary about his faith and his and how that brings him. And I’m not a person. I was raised Catholic, but I quit that team, and but to see how that can bring joy to some people. And so it’s just again. Even in the the nerdy stuff that I love, I’m coming at it from that perspective. I’m coming at it from the place of what is the second layer here? What is the psychological trauma that Bruce Wayne is going through? Why is Tim Drake my favorite Robin? Because he didn’t. I grew up a Tim Drinky kind of life, you know, just a book nerd who is interested in things I didn’t have trauma. My parents stayed married. You know, like, Tim drinks. Life was pretty okay. He still chose to be Robin. He doesn’t become a Super hero out of trauma. You know, Kurt Bogner doesn’t make the make the trauma of being born neck crawler to find him. He’s like, I’m going to be a hero because I’m here. It’s like, even in this stuff, even in this nervy stuff that I love, I’m always looking at it. I was never just, like, cool. I hope that that punches that guy. And don’t give me I love Batman. 66. I think there’s a lot of enjoy there. But it’s also like the little kid in me who saw that man. 66 and it was just on reruns. I was like, Oh, but then as an adult, you look back at and then 66, they’re like, Oh, look, God, they’re totally making fun of that. Like, this isn’t the height of the comic book censorship stuff. And Batman 66 is saying, is this really what you want? Is this what you want your comics to be? And there’s that they’re making fun of how silly and watered down. And, you know, we’re going to put that in rather than a snow Cone instead of so it’s like the dumbest shit ever. But it’s commenting on the comics scope, in my opinion. So. But sometimes it’s just like, I’m just going to shut my bright off and watch Hulk Smash. And that’s also fine. You don’t have to think about the social commentary that is Hulk. You could just be like, Hulk Smash. Let’s go. And that’s great, too. So we all find our joy in some way, whether it enhances what we love or it takes us away from work or whatever and just lets us not think about it at all. There’s a picture of me that my mom. We say mom with an o over here gave me. It’s always weird. I don’t know the reason for that. That is always fascinating to me. That’s nothing again. Part of why I do what I do. I spend. But anyway, she showed me a picture of myself and my sister. I must have been three or 4, and I was holding a Batman action finger. It’s just been my earliest memory. I was four years old. 19 77. I was not even for so May of 19 77. I’m at the drive in movie theater. It was a big thing in the 70? S. And so you would go in. Everybody would have a green station wagon and you take your family and you take a speaker. And I’m not making this up. It was like three by 5, 3 inches by five inches. I don’t know what that translates to, because we still use inches. You guys use interest. It’s big. I don’t know in the old people inches. Sorry. Okay. Super small speaker. You would put on the window. You get one speaker, you get one speaker. I’m just going to let that go. And you put it on your window. And that was the whole movie was through that speaker. Okay, so imagine that one mono speaker. This is how we see why it probably didn’t take on take off. Although during the pandemic over here, drive ins came back. You can tune in through your radio. But we used to go all the time, and they would always be a double feature. So you pay a flat rate for your whole car so you could cram as many people in the station wagon, and you pay, like, 20 Bucks. And everybody gets two movies. The first movie was always for kids. In the second movie was always not kids. So we would do that all the time. And so it was four years old. It was May 9, 77. And it was Star Wars. And it’s my earliest memory in life. I was at the drive in, and in the event, we’re just trying to kill us, that’s what my wife and I always say, like children were left alone and nobody cared. So we’re at this thing with a bunch of cars. People are in their cars moving around. And at the front, at the base of this big screen, there was playground. So my cousin and I, we’re at the playground and doing whatever. I’m four. He’s almost six. So 4 and five alone at the playground in the Sea of Green station in. And Star Wars starts. And I don’t remember why I was so excited. I don’t know what it was. I don’t know how the marketing worked on my little four year old rain, but we just screamed and ran and bounced off of the station wagons, running back to our cars and get to sit on the roof. And that’s it. And that’s the memory. And, of course, a team Star Wars so many times we could Act it out right now, if you want it to the original Star Wars, it’s now episode four, but that is it. So that happened. There’s a picture of me with that man. So there was just something in me I don’t know about this need to live in these fantasy world. And so that was it. And then the next year was Raiders. And then I got see Blade Runner at Way Too Young and anything with Harrison Ford in it, they let me see. So that was just kind of it. And I think the Batman 66 show existed. There was an Iron Man cartoon and the Speed Racer cartoon came on. And I loved that Speed Racer cartoon. I still love Speed Racer. I love Speed Racer. I’ve got my desk here have a set of Speed Racer cards that are actually shaped like Speed Racer. I love Speed Racer. And so that was always there. Just cartoons and stuff and comic book cartoons. The old Super friends, which were always absurd. I even question them as a child. It’s like, Superman would be like, I see on the screen. They would always talk through. It was a tell Matt show, like, you’re watching a cartoon. I can see on the screen that something bad is happening. But Superman would be like, There’s a Hurricane. I should fly away. And then he would fly away. We’re like, Dude, see, you see what’s happening. So anyway, as time went on, I don’t remember really having comic books. We just read book books. And then I got my first comic book, which was a Green Lantern. When I was I always say 12, but mathematically I was probably 11. I was just think of it in terms of 12. That end of my six grade going into my grade year, I got a Green Lantern comic. And it was like, What is happening? And then I got a Detective comics, which was weird that my first one was a green lander, not a Batman. It doesn’t make any sense because I love to Batman. Always Batman and Robin. And so then that was it that was done. And where I’m from, there these things where poor people and working class people, like my family was go on the weekends. They’re called flea markets. I don’t know if you guys have them, where people would bring their junk from their garage and shit and set up a table and then sell it for a quarter. So through that and I worked my grandparents had a farm. And Yes, I did not get paid on the farm. So to that end, there would be like, if I wanted stuff, I could use the air quote, money that I never got. So it’d be like, Oh, we’ll pay you 20 Bucks, which really just meant I want these comics. And they’d be like, Okay, you know, I never really got any money money. But so I I just started buying comics at the flea markets. And whatever be like, what’s in this box don’t care 10 Bucks for this whole box. They’re like, 500 comments, Boom. And that was it. And then my cousin the star was cousin. His name is Jim. But I couldn’t say Jim when we were little, so I called them. No. So still, to this day, I called now 49 years old. I come now. So he and I would just, like, kind of got way into Marvel. I got way into DC. And so we would trade. And it’s just from that journey on. And so through those things, I just never stopped caring. When I had kids and was broke again. Being broke as a child, you don’t realize how poor you are when you’re a child or how working class you are. You don’t realize what you’re struggling with when you’re an adult and you have kids and you’re like, Oh, this is what broke is. So in College, I actually my senior year in College, I sold my comics to pay rent for the year. And I sold all my comics that I’ve been collecting from, like, 12 to 21. I stole them all. And that was where I got my Robin tattoo, my Tim Drake. I took 45 dollars out, and I got my Tim Drake tattoo of the Robin there. And so then that was it. I’ve never collected comics again, but I’ve never stopped reading them either. So, like, through libraries, through friends, collections or whatever, I would get them there’s probably two or 3 years where I just didn’t, right. When I was getting divorced from my first wife, my kid’s mom, and during the early part of our marriage, I just didn’t have that kind of time because my two girls, our Irish twins, so they’re less than a year part. This is hard. Just kind of. And my ex wife had an older daughter, too. So trying to have three kids and read comics. This didn’t happen, so I would do my best to try to just pay attention. The Internet was a baby so I could get on and kind of read something. And then after we got divorced, I just went back to the library and, you know, binged everything that I could. And so now when I buy comics, I buy them digitally. But for the most part, I still check them out to the library. You Super digital. And then, obviously, before I met my wife, Buffy happened, and that was life changing. I watched Buffy on regular TV with an antenna, no cable and everything. So I’ve just never not liked this stuff. I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction because I always feel like fantasy and science fiction stories have an extra layer story to tell again. We talked early about my novel, part of what makes my novel just like, Here’s what happens. I think there’s subtract, but it seems boring because it’s like people standing around doing shit. But in science fiction and fantasy, it’s always action and it’s adventure and whatever. But there’s also something else, right? My parents again, Seventies and Eighties parents were bad parents, and we watch stuff. We got a VCR and my parents probably 85. So I was 12, 11, 12. And we got the first movie we ever watched. Our VCR was Friday the thirteenth, part three and 3 days. So I was whatever watching that. And so I watched a lot of those. I watched all the Friday, the 13 th movies and whatever I could just get my hands on whatever kind of weird, crazy shit. So that’s my geek journey. And I’ve just never stopped. And I’ve always been writing. I used to write comics and write plays. I told you about to play, writing books and writing stories. And so I always lived in this other place. And my desk, I’ve got Speed Racer saying, I’ve got a Night Wing, I’ve got a Batman, I’ve got a Buffy, I’ve got a Hulk, I’ve got a Robin. Like, all these figures are just sitting on my desk at a Tinker Bell. You know, Peter Pan. The original Peter Pan is one of my favorite books ever, ever written. I think it’s beautiful and it’s horrific. It’s pretty dark, man. It’s pretty dark. But there’s something lovely about it, too. It shines a light on being a 12 year old voice. And so that book is always resonated with me. I have four or 5 copies of that. So I’ve always loved Tinker Bell because of what she represented to Peter. And so I’ve got to think about that on my desk, too. So it’s just like my life is just nerd. That’s what it is. I can’t help it. So that’s why I can’t say why I’m a geek. Just. I always have been. It’s just been in my. It’s just been in my DNA. And my parents didn’t like this stuff. My parents weren’t science fiction. My mom was a reader. She’s the reason I read. But my dad likes Westerns. He didn’t like Star Trek. He didn’t like. He thought Star Wars was fine. But, Yeah, for the most part, I mean, we watched Bruce Lee films when I was way too young to watch Bruce Lee films. Like, again, I watch all these movies that I shouldn’t watch. But he didn’t care for that stuff. He like, Dumb Lastic fraternity. Like, Animal House is his favorite movie. And as a kid, I saw Animal House. It’s an awful it’s. Essentially, the plot is a bunch of dumb white fraternity boys, you know, look at naked girls jumping around and do stupid shit. The end. It’s the dumbest movie. I hate it so much as an adult. As a kid, I saw it a million times. I was like, Oh, my God. So awesome. Yeah. So the most science fiction thing he probably liked was Gross Busters, which as an adult, I’ve learned to dislike. But I liked as a child, it was one of the few movies we saw together in the theater with, like, me and him. But, Yeah, I don’t like it. It. He loved it. Still all the way till the time pass away. He thought was great as an adult. Again, that critical eye. I’m like, Oh, this is really bad. I think it’s aged poorly. That’s all. I can’t get past it. You know, the first book I had late fees for from the Library was Where the Wild Things Are by Mary Sendak. That was the first. So I walked up to the library on my own than 70? S. It wasn’t like it was around the corner. It was like a mile or so away. And I got this book, and I had my own library card. And I didn’t know at the time, like, nobody really explained to me, You got to take it back. And I loved where the ratings are so much. I kept it. I hit it on the top. It like a standing closet, my room. And I hit it up there. And Super late for the first book I stole from the library. How sad. My wife’s a librarian. She was shocked when I first told her I stole that book. But I was like, five. So I think that was it. I love that. That’s a fantasy story about, like, an angry boy who just wants to be left alone in his mind. And he sails away. And there’s these monsters, and he becomes the King of the monsters. And it’s just I love it so good to have in it. But my parents were never like one to explaining to me everything was a book was like, Oh, I’m curious about this. Here’s the book. So I just think it just kept happening. And so everything with books. And so at some point in time, you feel like what’s in your house is finite. I think at the time, comic books were really cheap. They were so cheap. And I was buying used one. So I was literally buying hundreds of comic books for, like, 10 Bucks. So I just think it was an easy, accessible thing. And they never discourage me because they they understood. I just wanted to be left alone and read. I was a straight edge kid in high school. I didn’t drink or smoke or anything. He just wants to be left alone and read. They just left me alone. Like, I couldn’t sleep when I was a kid. So they gave me, like, a little six inch black and white TV. And we were close enough to Chicago and our part of Michigan. So with an antenna, I could get there’s a channel called WGN Out of Chicago. And so you could get, like, late night horror movies. And that was actually when I saw Rock and Roll High School for the first time on a small little six inch black and white screen TV, which is a movie where the Ramones come and blow up the high school at the end. I have that lunch box up there. Actually, over both lunchbox, Rock High School changed my life. I didn’t know you could do that. So I just think because they just left me alone with my devices. And so I found this crazy art and music and whatever. My sister was four years older. She didn’t discourage it either. So I know what ever said. That’s stupid. It wasn’t until I got into high school, when it wasn’t cool anymore. So that man. 89. I graduated high school in 91. So my first two years of high school superheroes weren’t cool. And the second two years of high school superheroes were Super fucking cool. So I remember going out in public with my Batman 66 shirt on, and it was the one with the Adam West face on it and everything on the Batsymbol. I have another version of it as an adult still. And I remember being somewhere with me and NEM and somebody’s like, Oh, Where’s Rabbit? Blah, blah, blah. I didn’t care. I was just used to whatever. And then a year later, all these people are wearing, like, every booth and every store sold the Batman Tshirts Batman 80. And I came out and changed everything. I just never cared. Like, actually, one of my senior pictures. I don’t know if you guys do that, but in our country, during your senior year, you get, like, fancy pictures. For the year, I took my black trench coat, which I always wore and batch my Bat stuff. And one of my senior pictures, the guy had a poll that you put up, and it was me leading it gets the pole with my black trench coat, my Batman gear, like my Batman shirt and everything. So just they never discouraged it. They never said, like, don’t be weird. I played American football. And before every game I go to, I go early in high school and I get dressed. I’d be in an hour in the locker room before anybody else got their full pads. Full gear, sit down, read comics before every game. So it’s just always was there. No one ever told me not to do it. So they didn’t encourage me. They just didn’t tell me not to. So I think that was it. They weren’t ashamed of me. They raised a nerd. They didn’t care again. I didn’t have a lot of friends. My high school class is one of the smallest class. I went to a little tiny ship white town in the middle of nowhere in Michigan. And the thing about it is like, I just truly, truly there is not one person from a graduating high school class with whom I’m still in contact. I don’t wish any of them ill. I don’t dislike any of them. They just weren’t actually my friends. We were so different. And so I made my own little weird try my cousin in back. And then below me, my friend Heath. And there was another Tony. We call them Little Tony because he was smaller than me. He was so small, I could pick them up and do the he would be the guy from the beginning of Batman 89. I could pick him up and he’d go, What are you I’m Batman. I could throw him like that’s how small he was. So he called him Little Tiny. Not what the thing to do that’s not see how that’s not very cool. And so I definitely think it just these people kept me company. They were my friend. I’m really like these characters mean a lot to me. I can remember certain things in my life. So I definitely that’s what kept me in. I related to Tim Drake and such a weird way. Again, he was the first comic book character that I thought, Oh, Here’s the path. I’m not Robin, but I could be. Tim Drake is the first time I thought, Oh, I didn’t have to experience tragedy or whatever. You just be like a smart kid who figures things out. There’s a reward for that. And the rebooting of that girl, of course, she’s a ballerina and gymnast and all these other things. She’s photographic memory, which I don’t have. But again, she’s still just a normal, right? Her dad’s a cop, you know, it’s like she you just like, you’re rewarded for being smart. Her role is Oracle. You’re kind of like, Oh, I get I get you. I get what you’re doing there. So I just think these people were just my friends that kept me company. There’s also, like, that level of hope in there. There’s that idea of doing what you think is right. Like, Bruce Wayne does what he thinks is right, not what is right. He’s a maniac. Bruce Wayne is insane. He should be in Arkham Asylum, but he does what he thinks. He’s right. And so there’s something about these characters. Han Solo, right. You know, that anti hero character. He does what he thinks is right. And in the end, he does the right air quotes. Right thing. But it takes him. He has to have his own way to get there. I always like to better than Luke and everybody did, because that first movie, More Camels, are terrible in it, right? He’s like, I go get the power converters and new. And I would always be like, This is Luke Skywalker coming at you live from Probaby Land with. And so it’s like that. Then we would just say that randomly. And so this just idea of these people mattered to me. And I saw the movies a million times. And I saw Bridge was stark every Tuesday for three months in a row. And they kept me company. They kept me safe in a way, definitely kept me out of trouble. And when everybody else is out doing shit and falling asleep, drunk in a field and lucky to not choke on their own vomit, I was just at home, you know, hanging out the mansion with Kitty Pride. So I was okay. So I just think that’s what kept me safe kept me saying gave me hope. Like, they are also very creative, you know, comic books, science fiction and fantasy movies. They’re very inventive. And while I don’t write that kind of stuff, I like to watch it. Just seeing you can tell all kinds of stories, all kinds of ways, which is kept me telling stories. And I’ve always written short stories and written books and stuff. So I just I think that’s what it was it was just a way to be those people who succeed in these things that we love. They’re also freaks, right? Most people, like Colin Jost is a great example. He is Mr Scarlett Johanson. He is the head writer of Saturday Night Live. And he hosts the news on Saturday Night Live. Right now, he’s married Scarlett. So he’s this, like, rich white guy from Long Island who would have been fine no matter what. You know what I mean? Like, he’s the rarity in art. Most of the people who get really famous and really successful and not even famous, but, like, have careers, people who are set of Autographer and people who are storyboard artist. They were all the weirdos. And you see that, like, there’s very few very successful artists who were like, Yeah, everything was fine. Always. Like, I didn’t have a weird thing that I did when I was a kid or I didn’t come from a broken home or whatever. And that’s why we hold them up. It’s like, Oh, well, anybody could be Oprah. No, you can’t be Oprah. Like, her life story, she’s a fluke, but it’s because of her need to do whatever it was she’s doing. That like, weird drive. And when you look at art, all of artists are the weirdos. And so I just think reading the comics, which is about weirdos, literally in suits, spandex punching people, and the people who write them, they must also identify with them. And pre Internet. You didn’t know anything about them. You didn’t have a clue. But when the image revolution happened right after I graduated from College, and you’re like, these guys were all, like, sticking it to the man, they’re like, even moving away, they’re like, somehow comic books became too corporate. We’re going to start image comics, and we’re going to do our own thing, which is exactly like the thing we’re doing over here, but we’re going to do it on our own. And that was Super inspiring. Like, people are always pushing the limits, too. There’s no budget in comic books. And so your mind is unlimited. And it’s just was a great place to be. And sometimes too, you know, I write realistic section, but sometimes I want to just sit and watch a science fiction show for an hour, because there’s still a structural element I can learn from that. So if I can make a believable character in Star Wars and part of the stick, the original the prequel trilogy, guests is the bad acting and everything. But, you know, Anakin was a grumpy, awful teenager. He was a Dick. Everybody hates him. Hayden Christin is not a good actor, but he was giving the performance he should be giving, right? You know, like, Anakin in that second movie, he’s a Moody teenager who’s joined a religious cult and taken a vow of chastity. Well, that’d be pretty grumpy, too. And so you still find something to relate to. And there’s something we can all relate to with these characters. And so I just there’s an inspiration there for me and my own work. Like, what’s the story to tell, even if without a fantastical force. But, you know, element, there’s no charge or banks. But what is being what’s being told there? There’s a kid who’s being told what not to do, and he’s reacting poorly. That’s an element. That’s a story I can use in a regular piece of fiction, because what he does, and then you think about, like, you know, how Pad may react because she’s older. And what would a woman who’s 20, who’s interested in a 17 year old boy, how would she react? Should probably react like this should probably be a little too bossy at first. And so even though there’s midi chlorines, all this other bullshit happening, there’s still a good story, if the root of it. And so I think there’s just I think you have to be a better storyteller to tell. Science fiction and fantasy, if you’re just, like, throwing a bunch of nonsense words at the wall and hoping they sick, people won’t believe it. It’s still character driven. There’s still something has to happen. So there’s just always a real element to this non real stuff. I just care a lot about it. And it’s again, nobody told me not to care. Nobody told me it was stupid to care. So I cared. And, you know, I didn’t make my kids. I mean, that’s not true. I mean, I made my kids watch Buffy, my two girls. And then Kaitlin Lee’s oldest. She watched Buffy later. And we did hear the kids out. We give them books still to this day. Well, just they randomly open their door and there’s a book that we sent them. Still do it. My youngest. I sent her that Andy Weir book project to Mary. She texted me yesterday, got the book because she’s a scientist. She’s getting a degree in science, and it’s a work of fiction, but it’s about science. And, like, she’s going to love this. So we’ve always encouraged them. But I never I didn’t watch. I didn’t for Star Wars on them when they were little little Harry Potter was a big deal in their life. So I let that be. They did. They could recite to Be Fair rock and roll, high school. I did make them watch that. And they ended up loving that. So they at a young age, they knew all the Ramones. And when Tommy was replaced by Marque, and when, like, they knew all that stuff that would be important stuff, they could sing at age six and 7, they could sing Starch of Peppers on the Ear Cup Land in order, important stuff like that. But, you know, like, as far as Star Wars and Star Trek and some of the science fixing stuff, I let them come to that on their own because, again, they didn’t say what’s that. And when they did, it was like, Okay, Let’s sit and watch it. I let them come to that on their own because that’s kind of how I got it. Nobody said, Watch this and love it. I loved it. So whatever nerdy stuff they wanted to do, except for the Ramones and Buffy, they had no choice. But they ended up loving that. My oldest daughter said to me the other day, that the reason that I think that a non binary. So they is the pronouns. I’ll explain why I’m about to say, you’re like, you just said daughter. So the reason that Emma said that they are the way they are is because of Buffy. That being able to. By watching Buffy as the kid, I was able to see people who are different and who are accepted and loved and had their own group and found their own tribe. And that seeing Willow and Tara together and seeing strong women do whatever that helps Emma feel comfortable to be the person. Man. Awesome. Mission accomplished. Well done, Buffy. So, like, I’m proud of that. That was something that came out of that. That’s not really in Star Wars, right? That’s a bunch of dudes literally with glowing Dicks. Literally of virtual lit up pissing contest is what’s happening every Star Wars bound. Sorry, Mike, I love it. But Let’s acknowledge what’s happening.
There was a live-action Peter Pan when they were kids, which was amazing. Jason Isaacs played Hook, and I don’t know if you ever saw it. It is so good. It’s actually where my Tinker Bell action figure comes from. Luda Vine. This French model played Tinker Bell and PJ Hogan. I think he’s the son of track. And I want to say that’s why PJ. Paul Jr. I’m pretty sure he’s the director. Anyway, it was great. It was live action. Jason Isaac owns it. There’s a new live-action one coming. I’ll see them all. I don’t care. I love God. Pan, But I took him to see that because that was important to me. And they didn’t know like this. Think about dies in the original, and then they bring her back to license. So I didn’t let them know there was like this. They would see it. That was their first real experience. Peter Pan, I’m like, on the edge of my feet. And when Pink dies, like, Emma, like, dropped her head. She was like, five, and she was so upset. But I was like, you know, and then we all clap. I do believe in fairies. I do. I do. And there’s this, like, they were all excited. And so there was this real amazing moment in the theater with my kids, like, getting excited. Like, I believe in fairies. And so it was great. So there were a few things like that that I made them. I made them listen to. They Might Be Giants, which I think are the most creative inventive amazing, bizarre band of all time. So they listen to a lot of weird music. And they did say Green Days, American Idiot with life changing for her as a child to hearing American Idiot way too young to hear American Idiot. But because Here’s the music that’s it’s arguing against what’s happening in the world. So we listen to music and stuff way more than anything. But, Yeah, just whatever they were interested in. I didn’t care if you want to do whatever our youngest is in the process of dabbling in Judaism, converting to Judaism. So we acknowledge that I sent Rachel, and we’re not religious people at all. It was something Rachel was interested in. We’re like, what do you need? What’s the. How do we help you? And she’s like, I got it. But, like, we send little notes and stuff on Jewish holidays to support her on that. So whatever. We never care. Whatever you want to do, go to go to College, to go to College, be a person. And our big encouragement was get out of your own gene pool. Like, none of them live in their hometown. So that’s a big thing for us, because, you know, mid Michigan home towns are full of crazy tin foil hat on red hat people. But anyway, so they’re all different. One of the girls is an artist. Actually. She’s quite a talented artist, but she’s special Ed teacher. And then Emma is in Chicago with Emma’s partner, L. They were on the show, and L is getting two master’s degrees in Emma’s working for Northwestern and Karen’s working in Ohio. She and her boyfriend are looking at getting a place, and she’s work for the gas station there and ranches in Fill in school. She’s still an undergrad up in upper Michigan to be scientist. She’s getting a degree in medical lab science. But we talked the other day. It looks like she’s going to go get a degree in a doctorate in immunology to study diseases. That’s the plan. So they all just do different stuff, sociology. And it’s all whatever they want to do. Yeah. So we’re proud of all of them. They all are self sufficient and doing what they do. Yeah. They all like different stuff. Like the one who lives in Ohio, she’s big into, like, fashion, and she knows all kinds of shit. Like, she says words I don’t understand. She’s begin to make up, and I guess all that stuff and guess what things are and guess what names are. And that’s important. Like, always just put together. Always looks like a million Bucks, even when she’s like, I’m going to go to the gas station to work at seven a. M. And I’m going to look like I’m going to the runway, and that’s how she expresses herself. And that’s awesome. That’s great. And the rest of them don’t wear makeup at all. And there’s not binary and has a partner who’s transitioning from female to male. And so whatever you got to do. We just love them all and just do and be. We never told them no to stuff like that. Like, don’t touch the hot stove and don’t be an asshole. Like the rules were, don’t lie and don’t mind. And don’t be rude. And if you cannot do those things, everything else should probably be okay. We made them all work. That was the one thing we made them do. It 14 50 go get a job. So then they had to, like, learn how to be around other people. So it was good. They’re all just giant nerds. My wife, the librarian. So also a nerd. Again, the world’s smallest book club of two. It’s pretty cool. I mean, it is a pretty cool book. I’m reading a collection of essays about wealth about the wealth gap in Chicago. It’s called Having and Being Habits. This woman who’s like coming to grips with the fact that she’s a middle class but doesn’t understand how she got there. So she’s, like, comparing herself to her neighbors. It’s really fast. It’s not fiction, but it reads a little like poetry, almost. It’s really fascinating to think about it from that perspective of, Oh, you think I’m rich, but I think you’re rich. I think that person is rich, and I think I’m just barely getting back. So it’s like, a cool way to think about money. So we already read it. So that will be a topic for discussion. Probably tomorrow. I should be finished with that book that’s the book club talk
in normal life. Do you think people treat you differently when they find out that you’re into geek stuff? That, like when you enjoy comics? Do you think people look at you slightly differently or treat you differently? That is tough because I am such a homebody, and I don’t like where I live now. I generally don’t. I’m friendly with my neighbors, but I’m not friends with anybody. Really. I don’t think I suspect probably. I know that we’re kind of social pariahs because we just like to be kept to ourselves, probably because generally, if you’re big into art and that kind of thing, you’re probably going to be a little more left left leaning. And I’m in a very red right leaning area. So I think there’s something to that for sure. I think it’s in my normal every day to day life. It doesn’t come up because he’ll be sometimes once a week I’ll see other people that’s not somebody is online, right. And those are people I’m choosing to see. Or my wife when I was teaching on ground. It definitely could be problematic depending on which University where I was teaching to summer a little more, you know, conservative where I had to wear a suit and everything. So I couldn’t really express myself at that place. And so I have a whole collection of fedoras. Like, half of my family are Italian, so we just grew up wearing hats. A hack guy got a bunch of for. Hey, so some of them are like, old, old, old, like a hundred year old fedora. And so would wear those. So if you’re making me wear a suit, I got to wear a shirt and tie to work every day. I don’t wear a Fedora. And I used to get that was too far. Like, I would literally get notes in my mailbox, like, leave the hat at home. Leave the hat in your car. It became an issue. Just wearing a Fedora at this place. It’s like, I was like, Yeah, but, you know, I don’t wear it while it’s teaching. And since I don’t have an office, I was an adjunct. I walk into the classroom. It’s my coat on. You don’t make me leave my jacket in the car. Like, if I have a winter jacket over my suit jacket, you don’t make me take that off in the car. You let me wear that in the room and then take it off. So wearing, like, a winter jacket over suit looks absurd. But wearing a Sidora with a suit doesn’t look absurd, in my opinion. I didn’t wear it while I was teaching. I just wear it into my classroom and set it down. So in those moments, like being weird, there being freak, there was problem. It kept me. The hat kept me from getting a full time job. There, without a doubt, I did everything else, as were the shoes where the suit look nice. You know, did everything you want me to do? The hat was a problem. It was, too. I actually had one person said, and this is. Her grasp of history was clearly wrong. And I corrected her during the interview, so I knew it was a problem. But she’s like, I was a finalist for the job, and she’s like, I just don’t know that you’re right for this job. This is a leadership job. And, you know, rebels aren’t leaders. And I said, Do you know anything about this country? I said that right back to her because it was founded by rebels who led. She did not like that answer. It was the wrong thing to say. I knew I didn’t get the job as soon as the words came out of my mouth, because what she wanted me to say is, Oh, I’ll change and do whatever. And, like, your history is wrong, ma’am. So that was definitely, definitely a problem. You know, I couldn’t have shown up to work there wearing, like, a Batman T shirt or anything like that. I couldn’t be more jeans. So that was the one time, and I was there for a while. But it was the job that I had. I was geographically bound. My kids were in the neighborhood. You put up with things that you put up with. I would never get a job at a place like that now. So that’s probably it. But for the most part because I’m in academia where is full of weirdos, too, you know? Like, there’s somebody who has a degree in Russian literature who didn’t just study Russian literature but studied, like one obscure Russian poet that you never heard of and got a PhD in that. That’s the place where I am, for the most part, universities. Academia. It’s okay to be a little weird. I do work for Catholic nuns now, though. And one day I showed up for a meeting when I was still living in Michigan, and I didn’t think about what I was doing beforehand. And I showed up and I had a shirt on over, but I didn’t. I forgot the button it up. So I had a Batman shirt on, and it was like a neon yellow bat. And so I walk in and Sister Sharon, my boss, is like, Oh, Batman was like, and I just looked down. I totally forgot. She just laughed and let it go. It’s not like I didn’t get fired or anything, but that was the closest. It caused me trouble at this job. I’m good. I’m not on Facebook or anything, so I deliberately. I’m only on comic Twitter, you know, item add on the other parts of Twitter. I’m not on the part of Twitter where those people who have, like, those assholes who like, like, one of my favorite, one of the best colors in the business. And she was writing Buffy for a while. Jody Bellair. She had kind of been harassed off of Twitch. She’s on Twitter anymore. It makes me sad because I would always tack her when I would review her stuff. And there is that weird, ugly part of Twitter, and I choose to block those people so they’re out there. I just don’t see them. So it’s nice. I just choose to be willfully ignorant of the hate. And then I’m okay. I’m sure there’s people talking shit about me, but I just don’t care. Yeah, it’s a choice to not be around the people who I don’t like. I’m not like Roger Merton tool to this shit, but I feel like I am. I don’t need your nonsense. I don’t care enough. I’m one of the people says, just because you’re having a party doesn’t mean I have to come. That’s where I am, because you want me to do whatever it is you think I should do. I don’t care enough about you, in your opinion, to do the thing that I don’t want to do. It like, you don’t want to go to a meeting. You’re like, Fuck this meeting. Everybody’s been there. That’s work. You don’t have a choice, but I’m not getting paid. So when my neighbors here, when we first moved in, they’re like, Oh, we’re having this party or this cookout. And I would always say, like, we’re not. That was people were really introverted. We’re fine, pre pandemic. We’re just like, we’re not interested. Plus, you’ve got Trump signs. We didn’t say that part, but we thought it. And so we’re, like, burned out. We don’t want to hang out, too. I was just real honest about it. And it got to point with 10 people. One person even said to me, Somebody who I like, very well in respect. And we get along fine here. She’s like, You know, you guys don’t make you’re not doing yourself any favors by not showing up at anything. And I was like, Yeah, but we don’t care. We didn’t move to this building to make friends for life. We moved to this building because the view is amazing. And there’s the pool. That’s why we moved here. The end. Those are the two things you had that we wanted a view of the River and the pool, everything else. If it was a different building that had those things, we would have moved there. But we moved here. You weren’t irrelevant. You being here isn’t important enough to us, I think, because that’s just kind of our attitude makes it easier to not care if anybody else talk shit because they do. I know everybody here is things were those weirdos. That like, we were also excited when we got Sam’s picture. And, you know, there’s types of people who are like, Really? You guys are adult man. And this is the most exciting thing of your week. Yeah. Yep. It was pretty exciting. A different grown man drew a picture of this group of grown men, and we liked it. V n. There’s stuff like last. Thanks. Two Thanksgivings ago. Good God. Time just up the road for me. The day after Thanksgiving, which is not a thing there. Sorry. One random day in November. There was a live production of Mr. Science Theater 3,000. And Joel, the original host of R 2,000, was on his farewell to her. And Lee actually was the one who saw that. It was tickets were coming. Sent me a text. It’s like, You need to go. She hates that show. She hates it. She cannot stand that they’re talking over the movie. There’s too much stuff going on. It drives her crazy. She knows how much I love it. She’s like, You totally need to go to this. So I went by myself on a Friday night to see Mr. Sein Tater 3,000 live. They did no retreat, no surrender. For real. It was amazing. The puppets on stage, they did music. It was fan test. I had a great time just by myself. No problem. She’s like, Go, have fun. Everybody’s got a thing. I think the people who don’t get it are people who need the approval of others. And I think right now, because it’s so easy to be a geek, it’s very mainstream now. Everybody loves the MCU and everybody loves everybody watching. I mean, not everybody loved. I have not seen Falcon Winter Soldier yet. I know. Sorry, shame. But I loved one division. And I know it was pretty divisive. But again, people who had never would have thought they watch a weird show like that. Watch shit now. So geek culture is pretty everywhere, but watching it, they watch it because they think they have to. They feel like everybody’s watching the MCU movies. So they’re going to go, I didn’t see Titanic until, like, 10 years after Titanic. I just saw Top Gun last year. Okay. So I think most people saw it because that’s the thing. It’s this big movie. We got to go see Titanic. We got to go see Avatar. That was he looked like a piece of shit, and I had no interest in it. And I still have never seen Avatar. It’s made the most money of any movie in the world. I was not interested at all. I mean, not interested. And I score Weaver in it. And that’s hard for me to be like, Oh, scoring reason a movie. I’m gonna pass. I did. I totally did, because it just wasn’t interested. But everybody was on that bandwagon. So I think I think the reason that what you say to those people who don’t get it is they’re getting what is the popular part of geek culture now, right? So if somebody’s, like, wearing author shirt, say, or somebody’s wearing a Captain America shirt, and you go like, Oh, my God. I have no. You start talking about Ed Brewbaker, and you see their eyes glass over, and that’s okay. That’s okay. I’m not here. I’m not one of those geeks who like, you’ve never read the beer. I don’t care. Okay? But I think there’s people who just like it now because it’s trendy. And then when it’s not trendy, they’ll move on to whatever the next trend is. And so what I think they’re not getting is geek culture isn’t a monolith. It’s full of people who love all kinds of things. People who love weird music. Like, they might be going one of my all time favorite. And they are so weird. Just the nuttiest shit that they do. One of them just pronounce an album is just totally true. An EP that is entirely in Latin just because it’s bananas. I could not stop listening to it. When I got it, I was like, I don’t know what’s happening. This is so interesting that you would put in this kind of energy during lockdown to teach yourself Latin, get a Latin teacher to help you, and then sing it. And he made a son play guitar. It’s insane. It was great. So that, to me, is a geeky thing to do is to be like, you know, it’d be funny. Let’s make a whole album in Latin. They might be Giants. Could have made a gazillion dollars. They’re so talented. They’re insanely talented. But they didn’t want to quit being the weirdos that they are. They never really broke into mainstream, but they could have. But they didn’t like, they did the Malcolm in the Middle theme song. They could have written the songs all day long. They could have been stars, right? But they were like, you know, not that they want to be just middle of the road rock star guys, but they’re just like this, we’re not going to be able to make different music because this isn’t who we want to be. One of these guys. So I think what the geek people who don’t get geek culture are not getting is that we’re not all the same. I like the things I like, and you like the things you like me or different things. And but we respect each other. Geek culture respect the differences in geek culture. We realize we’re not all the same where I live. You got a red hat on. You believe that anybody else who has a red hat on her who looks like you is like you. And so they’re not understanding. So right up the road from us is a Park. We can walk, we can hear it. When bands play there, we can hear it. We can hear it from our house. We can open our screen door and we can hear it. It’s awesome. So every weekend on Martin Luther King Day, also another holiday you have, which is a random day in January. They have a party, they have a pride parade, and they do a drag show there and everything right up the road, which is my little neck. Florida, is really a big deal. So one day when we first moved in here because I’m like straight white guy, one of the other guys, I would say something like, Oh, blah, blah, blah, pride. This weekend, the guy was getting ready to make a joke. And so I just walked away from him because I could tell what he was about to do because he saw me straight white guy. So he just assumed I’m in the straight. Like, I read hat wearing, Let’s make fun of the drag Queen club. And I was like, Let’s not do that. Let’s not do that. I’m going to walk away from you because I just moved in and I don’t want to get arrested. So I’m just going to walk away and not the intolerant prick you are. So I think geeks aren’t intolerant. Yes, there is a horrible sub sub sub section of Toxic, Andem that exists the people who shit on Kelly for her performances. Rose and the Star Wars prequels sequels pissed me off. I thought she was great. I loved Rose. I thought Rose got jobs in that sign of movie I wanted. I was expected, and I know she was to carry Fisher Head and died. She would have definitely had a bigger role. My hope is here gets her own series under because she deserves that. But there was a lot of people who didn’t like her. And people don’t like those sequels, not because they’re good or bad or whatever, because a woman is the star woman. Is top billing in each of those movies. And what are we going to do? And it’s about a girl this time instead of a white boy, straight white guy, because Ray at the end, she kisses spoil alert everybody. But I don’t know, Ray seems like she could be by. I actually thought Ray was going to be gay the whole time. I really did. And everybody wants to put in and put together, including the actors. They thought that should be the logical ending. Is that sin info. So there’s like, so there’s the people who those toxic fan Bros who hate that. But for the most part, everybody is like, that’s pretty awesome. And if you dislike the movie, you just like it for whatever reason. Not because there’s a girl at the front of it or whatever. So I think what people don’t get about geeks and said, We love what we love. We are freaks who want other freaks in our life. We want to respect your weirdness. You respect my awareness and such an open group of people who genuinely respect each other in a way that is unlike other groups. You know? Like, I dump that whole thing on Discord the other day about shitting all over Quentin Tarantino. And I know Jack and Dave love Quenton Tarantino, and I forwarded them both. And it was like, just remember, you guys are my friends. Nobody cared. I was like, Oh, that’s a good point. You know? It’s like, because I wasn’t like, I had reasons. We could debate it. We could argue it. I don’t like him. But I get why people too. And I’m not saying you’re wrong to like, I’m saying I don’t know how I’m gonna. I just realized at some point is like, I don’t like him. I keep trying to like him. I thought I did. I don’t. So I’ve moved on, and that’s just other geeks are cool with that. Whereas if you weren’t your life. But this is the club. This is Quenton Tarantino club, and you can’t stop liking him. You got to continue to like him forever. We’re not going to be your friends anymore. I think that’s what non geeks are. If you put a red hat on, you’re going to storm the capital because you can’t ever go like, Hey, maybe I miscalculated this red hat. And because the people in my country who have done that have been kicked out of their own party or ostracizes or lose positions of power or whatever. So. But geeks would never do that. We would never kick you out of the club for not liking whatever. I don’t like Guardians too. I still have a show on this network. I’m not interested in the Suicide Squad because I don’t like James Gunn. If it weren’t free on HBO, I wouldn’t watch it. That’s a fact. Like, when it comes out, if HBO on, I’ll watch it. If not, I don’t care. I don’t like James Gunn. I’m not a fan. Unimpressed. Everybody else thinks are. Oh, Guardians are the best. That’s awesome. I’m glad you love those. That’s great. You should love those. We don’t have to hate each other because we have a difference of opinion on that. I think in other parts, nongeek parts of the world, a difference of opinion leads to huge division. That’s what they’re missing. If they just let their freak flag fly, then you could just accept other geeks for what they love and love that they love it. I mean, nobody loves things more than Steve. I mean, with Steve loves who loves but Steve. We all know secretly Steve hates Superman for there’s one thing we know, but he doesn’t talk about it, right? Because he doesn’t like it. And so when we know our friends from down under Steve love Superman for there’s still talk. They’re still friends. You know what I mean? So it’s like, where isn’t other circles? That thing about your liking Superman tour to be like, we can’t be friends over that. Geeks aren’t that way. You love the thing that you love. Yeah, I think it’s okay. I just defended Hudson Hawk, that show that Spider Dan has. That’s what when we do comics on trial, it’s about us defending a thing that’s unpopular because, like, Chris went on and tried to take down Ghostbusters. It didn’t work, but he tried. He was willing to have an unpopular opinion. And that was the whole just behind that show and let us all go on and state something that we believe that is totally unpopular. And knowing at the end of the day represent on that we’re all still paws. But it’s a way to show discourse. And I think geek culture shows how to have healthy debate, which we don’t have anymore.
You can hear more from Tony on Indie Comic Spotlight and Season’s Greetings, both available on the Comics in Motion podcasting.
You can find Tony’s views and reviews on Fantastic Universes Com, DC Comics News Com and Audio File Magazine com.
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I will admit to being a bigot against bigots. Like if you are like, if you’ve got a sign up that says God hates Queers, I’m not your friend. We’re not going to be friends. That’s too far from me. But if you have a sign held up that says Batman stinks, we can be friends. That’s fine. You know what I mean? Like, I feel like because that’s again, I don’t know. You’d hold up beside this is as you could just be like, Yeah. Don’t really like that, man. Okay? You don’t have to. So I just think your reasoning behind it is also there. And I just think weeks in general are more open. But I will freely admit that I am definitely a bigot against bias. I have a problem with racist sexist, homophobes. And if you’re one of those things, it’s going to be hard for me to have a conversation with you. But I think most people aren’t those things. And so we can debate all the rest of the stuff. Didn’t mean to get all Super political. Sorry, but that’s the difference. I think geeks in general don’t want to don’t want to be that way. We don’t understand. Like, it doesn’t make sense. Why do you care? Why do you care if two boys are kissing? Why do you care? Like, when Ice Man came out, Bobby Drake came out like, that was a big deal in the Xmen world. Because, you know, the X Men are always have kind of been a metaphor for being gay, for being different, right? You got to come out as a mutant and all this stuff. It’s all right there. So it’s like, why did it take so long to finally have an out? You know, mutant? And it makes sense that it’s Bobby in the top grade. But that was a problem for some people, like with Alan Scott Green lander. And when they made him get you were like, Oh, got to ruin everything in this woke agenda. And social Justice were like, No, it’s like, this is real. And it’s reflecting the readership, and it’s showing acceptance and love. And so, you know, to me, if you’re one of those people who’s like, I’ll never read a comic book again once they made out in Scott Gay, like, you didn’t even know who else got was. You thought Greenlander Mishel. Jordan, stop. Shut your mouth. You know, I just want to hear I want to hear that bullshit. Because anybody who knew who Alan Scott was didn’t care, you know?
Sorry. That was my branches again going out strong, buddy.