Talking Comics at 200: Some Personal Thoughts
A somewhat-focused musing by Bob Reyer
As we here at Talking Comics celebrate our 200th issue, I find myself, as is my usual wont, growing reflective regarding my time hereabouts, and the tremendous impact that our enterprise, my co-hosts, and this community have had upon the “September Song” of this cranky curmudgeon’s existence. On the happy occasion of our “birthday” my thoughts run toward how truly privileged I am to be a part of this family of friends.
I sometimes say in describing myself (and not always completely in jest) that I’m an “only child bachelor orphan”; now it’s not as if I’m Oliver Twist roaming the streets, as my childhood was certainly filled with joy, and as long-time readers know, my Mom and Dad are responsible for my love of reading, and of reading comics, respectively. That said, as the tomorrows creep by in their petty pace from day to day, I oft-times find myself in a melancholy mood about those things in life that have eluded me, but the swiftest cure for those moments is turning my thoughts to these climes.
When Mr. Bobby Shortle initially started Talking Comics, and then brought together Ms. Stephanie Cooke, Mr. Steve Seigh, and your Obedient Servant, I’m fairly certain that his goal was to simply curate an entertaining and informative show each week, which if nothing else would be a great way for new friends to get together and chat about their shared love of comic books. None of us could have realized that what would grow from these humble seeds would be the amazing community that has sprouted around our passion project, a community that has quite literally reached around the globe, and which for me personally has become the birth-place of deep and genuine friendships, as well as a loving retreat from the vagaries of the everyday.
Part of what has made this endeavour so near to my heart has been the overwhelmingly positive reaction to what we present, even when we’ve ventured into some treacherous waters. I’ve been thrilled by the response to our “Women In Comics” weeks and the great dialogue that’s been started on the issues of representation and the changing nature of fandom. On an even more personal level, the lovely e-mails that I’ve received on such things as my appreciation of the Sensational She-Hulk , my farewell odes to the Fantastic Four and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel, or our Talking Comics “Wonder Woman Panel” (my all-time #1 podcast moment, in case you were wondering!) have all touched me deeply. Here’s the thing though; many of the greatest moments have come when a listener or reader has made the leap across the aether because they’ve been moved to do so, as this listener was about my views regarding what I felt was some objectifying artwork during the Janelle Asselin dust-up:
I’m a big fan of the show. I really appreciate all the time and effort you guys put in week in and week out. Thank you very much!
On the show today (#137) you made a comment about people that don’t listen because you’re too much of a feminist. I find this really funny because when I first found the show I was of the opinion that you ARE too much of a feminist. For a little while it kinda bothered me. Then it clicked!
I’m a 33 year old dad. I have two girls. My oldest is 6 and my little one is almost 2. My 6 year old and I have read comics at bed time every night since she was 4. It’s a really great thing that we share together. I can’t wait to start with the little one.
I tell you that to tell you this. I don’t always agree with your “feminist views”, but I’ve learned to appreciate the difference in opinion and thinking. It’s helped me to view things in ways I otherwise wouldn’t. More than anything though, you’re helping me be a better dad to my two girls, and I appreciate that more than you could know. Thank you very much, and keep up the great work!
(I’m still humbled re-reading this letter more than a year after I received it.)
Other correspondents have become such great friends that I can’t imagine that they weren’t always a part of my life; so to Sarah, Carolyn, Huw (see you soon!), Logan, Kyle, “msdc” (you know who you are!), and to so, so many others, my thanks for taking that first step, and to those ladies who took the next leap and became our sisters-in-arms, Melissa, Mara, and Maria, go a special tip of the cap for their friendship, intelligence, and charm, not to mention the ability to put up with my string of notes about their marvelous show.
Last, but most certainly not least, are my colleagues, Stephanie, Bobby, and Steve, who fill each day of the week that isn’t Tuesday with anticipation for the time we’ll spend together. Despite my verbosity, all I can say is that my heart is filled with admiration and love for these friends who have become more than family, and who with no reservations welcomed me into their circle, and here’s hoping that circle will remain forever unbroken.
For a “third act” to my life, I couldn’t have dreamt that I’d be able to find a use for all the arcane lore that’s rattling around the musty attic that is my brain, let alone to be able to share with you wonderful folks my passion for comics history, my love for these characters and their creators, and more, to have it mean so much to seemingly so many of you, that has been a true wonderment and a saving grace, and for that you all have my undying gratitude.