Monday, August 27, 2007

Full Circle

Today, I was at the bank taking care of,...well...you know. I had to wait a while for someone to help me because I was there on my lunch hour and that's usually the busy time at banks. The lady in the office on the left seemed more cheerful so I was hoping I'd be meeting with her. It didn't work out that way and I ended up with the lady in the office on the right.

During the course of our business together, she asked me what Mike did for a living. When I told her "Freelance Comicbook Illustrator", I watched her face closely. Usually when I tell "civilians" (As John Byrne calls them. I sometimes think of them as "muggles".) my brother is...was...a comic book artist, they give me a funny look like I'm putting them on. This lady perked right up. "Really? That's what my daughter wants to be."

It was my turn to be incredulous. I imagined a little toddler sitting at a table scribbling on newsprint with a crayon babbling, "I unna draw tomits in I grow up!" I asked her how old her daughter was.

She said, "Nineteen. She's studying Sequential Art at SCAD."

I was floored. We talked for several minutes about her daughter's love of comics and I asked if she'd considered the Joe Kubert school though I told her there was nothing at all wrong with SCAD. She didn't know what I was talking about but had me write down the name so she could look it up. She was very excited and just knew her daughter would be interested. We finished our business and I left. But I couldn't get it out of my mind.

It was such a strange encounter. Meeting with her and not the other lady was pure chance and yet I felt like it was meant to be. For so long we've been hearing so much pessimism about comics: It's a dying industry. Kid's don't read comics. Women don't want to work in comics. All that combined with Mike's passing had me ready to give up the hobby in disgust. And yet here, in one complete package, was the antithesis of all that pessimism. The mother of a young girl chomping at the bit to go out and create comics for a new generation. What were the odds of me meeting this woman in the way I did? I felt like Mike had taken me by the hand and led me to this meeting as his way of telling me, "Don't give up just yet, bro."

The meeting left me feeling content and optimistic in a way that I haven't felt in weeks. Am I just being silly? Maybe. But the older I get the more I'm convinced that not everything can be written off as sheer coincidence. Whatever it was...

It was cool.

10 comments:

Randy said...

Awesome! How serendipitous. ( i always wanted to use that word... "awesome" )

todd said...

randy--
HA! HA! HA! awesome...

matt--

everything for a reason, my brother.
it's there if you take the time to look for it. love that story, love that you had that experience. love that mike is getting through.

love it.
todd

Adam Hutch said...

That's a great story, Matt.

Nothing has profound, but Countdown on top of 52 plus Infinite Crisis and Civil War has taken a toll on me. The event fatigue coupled with my new daughter had me wondering if I should take another extended break from comics. Titles like X-Men First Class, Spider-Man/Fantastic Four, Invincible, All-Star Superman and Brave and the Bold are the bright shining spots for me, and are keeping me pretty entertained lately.

Leaf said...

Bank of America, right? That same lady helped Angie and I set our accounts, but she was the one who was slightly embarrassed. When she said, "Sequential Art" she kinda mumbled it, but when I said I dabble in the field and then she perked right up. I was bald at the time so she kept calling me Lex. Too funny.

PJ said...

The world has a strange way of working, especially in our bleaker moments.

The important thing is to keep our eyes open for it. It renews our hope and replenishes us. It’s funny how things work out and yes, you are not alone in thinking there are times when there is more than mere coincidence to events.

Just hang in there.

renecarol said...

I think Mike would love that story as well. He liked the idea of younger generations being into comics. That's part of what he liked about his annual visits to Ann's class at Cameron. That maybe he could inspire them to read comics.

Heywood Jablomie said...

Hi Matt,

This was a, as Randy put it, awesome post. As an avid fan of Mike's and Todd's there, from what I followed from him, I believe he did have a hand in this. It's events like these that help brighten those dark moments that losing a loved one can bring. And I'm hoping that there can be more optimistic times for comics as well. I've almost given up at times, but then there's always something that drags me back in! I have followed your 'net presence since I discovered Mike's, just never posted but for once, hope you don't mind if I continue to follow up on your happenings.

Mike

Rich Faber said...

Matt,

I've been reading your posts, and I've been both heartbroken and delighted, respectively, about the feelings you've shared, and then this experience... not to mention, I'm happy about the kitties moving towards peaceful cohabitation. =)

I really want to email you and Suzanne, but I wanted to give you guys some time without intrusion, but please let me know if it's ok. I know we don't *really* know each other, but I feel like that Friday bonded everyone, and I feel like you guys are friends now. I hope that doesn't sound trite, but I wanted to let you know that Traci and I really care about you guys, and have been thinking about you and your folks.

Best,
Rich

PS: Listen to Todd. He's right about everything happening for a reason. He's been telling me that for ten years, and has never been wrong. ;-)

Denis said...

You know, if you can bear to part with one of Mikes sketches, I bet that budding artist would get a huge boost of confidence in herself if you gave her one of his pieces to put up in her room!

Chances are, if she's a would-be comic artist, she knows your brothers work. A gesture like that can really help someone at times when things are getting tough. Just a thought.

japhy99 said...

Fantastic how the world works sometimes, eh Matt? Great post.

(It's O'Donnell, by the way...)