Pandemic Blues by Nick L.
Welp, it’s been about a year that we have all been navigating our way through this pandemic. We do our best to make it through each day, grasping at any semblance of normalcy we can hold onto. I know we all miss a lot of things about our old life. Comics are a nice escape from the doldrums, now more than ever. But there are some comics associated things that I miss quite a bit. So, here are my top five things in the comic world that I have been missing during the pandemic.
Gaming Tournaments: How much has this particular type of social gathering been missed? Whether it be Magic the Gathering, Heroclix, Pokemon, etc., this was one of the main ways I had of meeting new people, getting to share our stories and how our week has been, making new friends. And of course, show off our skills in the games we love. I know that those that gathered in Naperville for the Magic and Heroclix nights can’t wait to get back to those days. I just can’t wait to be able to get the old gangs back together.
24 Hour Comic Day: One of our usual, yearly hosted events, people would gather together at several of our locations to attempt to make their own 24 page comic in just 24 hours. It would be early October of each year (my birthday is right around then, so the event was a friendly reminder of that), Fall would start setting in, and everything would feel right with the world. The conversations that would come up during the course of 24 hours shoulder to shoulder with your fellow artist were always memorable (especially in the 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. hours when we would get a little loony). It was one of those special thing, like a holiday, that you didn’t know you would miss until it wasn’t there anymore.
Free Comic Book Day: Talk about a Holiday right!? The biggest comic day of the year, people spend all day hitting as many comic shops as they can, just for the fun of it. You would get 3 or more free comics from every location, with every store seemingly having their special thing to add to the big day. It brought together the whole GCC staff, and basically every customer you have ever seen, it was everyone’s favorite day. I particularly loved going out with the GCC crew afterward to celebrate and just keep the good times rolling. Those good times have to come back.
Conventions: Remember about a year ago, when we all went to our last convention C2E2? Who would have thought that just two weeks after that, the pandemic would begin and that convention we just went to would seem like a distant memory? It seems unfathomable now, to get thousands of people together in one building, meeting tons of new people, shaking hands with your favorite comic celebrities. Conventions were the thing you looked forward to all year, as the biggest celebration of all the favorite things you love. C2E2 says they will try to come back this December, and I certainly hope that can be a reality.
All of you: The saddest thing of all to miss, you the customer, who maybe I don’t get to see as often anymore for obvious reasons. Our long trips to the shop to browse around and chat it up for hours have been replaced with mail orders and quick trips in and out to get our little taste of escape. Or saddest of all, the customers who I have not seen since the before times, the long long ago before all of this started, that I just have to hope are keeping themselves safe and that one day, I will look to the door, and finally see again, and let out a sigh of relief that they are okay. Because I do love you, the customers I’ve spent years of my life with, that keep me coming back here every day. I hope more than anything that someday I get to see all your actual smiling faces again. That is what the comic shop is: Hope.