New Beginnings Prompts Looking Back, Episode 2

As I mentioned in Episode 1, I have moved into a new place that I am actually sharing with people after living alone for more than two decades.  This has been a wonderful experience and so to have I enjoyed blogging.  This new beginning has made me want to look back at how my attitudes toward genre have been shaped and how genre has shaped me.

In Episode 1 I talk about my first comic book in 1977 and how it didn’t impress me.  But by 1983 my world was very different.  I was in band and made friends with two bandmates, the brothers John and Rob.  John was a very, very good friend in school but we didn’t see much of each other after I left band in my junior year.  I wish I had stayed in touch with him, but we ended up at different colleges.  I was nonetheless very, very saddened by his passing in the early nineties.

When we were in high school, John and Rob lived in Island Park, a neighborhood of Portsmouth, RI.  In Island Park there was a comic book shop, Park Nostalgia.  John and Rob were avid comic book fans and prompted me to get into it as well.  The series they recommended most was Amazing Spiderman and Peter Parker, Spectacular Spiderman.  Both series were featuring a very cool villain at the time, the Hobgoblin.

My First Hobgoblin

I knew nothing about Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin.  But Hobgoblin quickly made an impression upon me.  What I liked most about Hobgoblin at the time was his use of the scientific method to advance his powers.  I caught up with the Hobgoblin at the point at which he had perfected the super-strength serum. He had a battle van.  He eventually made important improvements to his finger blasters (he put in a system that randomized his aim in an attempt to overcome Spidey’s spider sense).  I had decided in Seventh Grade that I was going to become a Computer Programmer and Hobgoblin fit in perfectly with my worldview.

Soon after my introduction to Spiderman, the brothers made it clear that a big event was coming to comic books.  Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars was soon upon us.

My First Big Comic Book Event

In Secret Wars, I am introduced to another villain that is intent upon using the scientific method to his advantage.  Doctor Doom spends the entire series hypothesizing courses of action that will gain him victory, putting each hypothesis into action and in the end he almost achieves complete victory.  Again I was enthralled.  Doctor Doom spoke to me as a budding technologist.

But looking back now, another reason I was so into Hobgoblin and Secret Wars is that John was into them as well.  I had a friend to share my fandom with.  We weren’t alone, most guys at school were into both Hobgoblin and Secret Wars and Secret Wars got much gossip on the school bus.  And this brings me to now.

I have some very, very close friends these days.  I am living at one of those friend’s homes.  This is very, very cool.  Looking back I realize that genre, and the bonds of fandom that come with it are a big part of how I meet people.  I have Major Depressive Disorder, and part of my symptoms include Social Anxiety Disorder.  I have a very hard time meeting and warming up to new people.  But since 1983, genre has been a big part of the way I overcome my Social Anxiety.  I have met people through work, but no one from work came to my 40th birthday party and I didn’t really miss them.  My 40th birthday party had family, some family friends and many, many friends I had made first by sharing genre.  The presence of so many friends is what kept me away from suicide during the worst of my depression.  Being around for me friends is what made me seek out psychiatric treatment.  And so it can be said quite literally that genre saved my life.

And look upon these words themselves.  This is a blog about genre, but I am sharing some info about myself that I really don’t discuss much.  Genre is changing my life even as we write/read, making me grow stronger.


About dbpyritohedron
Working on a group of genre settings for use with the HERO System

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