Friday, January 12, 2018

Leveling Up: Embracing The Fanbase

Where does inspiration come from? What drives us to put pen to paper, create equipment being sent up to space, illustrate colorful or gritty images for comic books, mentor or lead a local theatre, or express ourselves because we feel comfortable, at peace, safe?

As a sometimes neurotic, introverted individual, my path to success sometimes finds itself in unconventional or geeky ways. Writing is a passion that can’t be quenched with finishing a story, and the ideas always have to be jotted down – even if it means sending myself an email with notes of what I will write, someday. My most open, extroverted period seemed to peak during my college years – as I challenged myself to become a Communication major, because, hey, why shouldn’t the quiet guy who was always told to “speak up” not want to do that. I branched out, extended beyond my comfort level to a degree, and then the best moment of my life happened – meeting the love of my life – a person who accepted all of my little idiosyncrasies and loves me just the same. This is Level 1 – the base or start to any game where you have all that you need to proceed. I honestly don’t know how I reached, or captured, this level and I can’t contemplate how I did anything before her.

Level 2 was having the freedom, giving myself permission to admit, that I want to write for a living. As soon as it happened. I plunged into years surrounded by reading and writing, much ado about dystopian fiction, and the world seemed a little clearer. My grasp on the craft continued to evolve as I etched short stories into my skin and pulled poetic younger years from my soul.

Level 3 – my children. “Game over, man. Game over.” There isn’t a need to reach another level, right? All that life has to offer is there, and it’s the most wonderful experience anyone can never fully realize until it happens. There are magical stories from Disney and Marvel’s Avengers, and an assortment of superhero toys and puzzles. My geeky influence spills over into their worlds, and it feels perfect. Seeing them take joy in the things I take joy in is wonderful, and it’s even better when they decide on their own who they want to be. Early on, it was, “I’m Super Woman!” for both my daughter and son – and watching them run around with a cape and a mask always made the day better.

How do I reach beyond a level I don’t necessarily see a need to exceed?

When dreams become necessary to fulfill, to not only satisfy my own desires, but to show my children it is always okay to go for what you want. The adventure of finding full-time writing has landed me in a special place. It’s a part-time gig, and the most professionally satisfying thing I’ve ever experienced, and the dream doesn’t stop. It grows. The experience continues to move, mold, and restructure itself as I push myself beyond my regular sleep hours to write and write and write. And before I knew it, I had reached Level 4 – and I am truly happy about it.

Level 4 is Fanbase Press. Leveling up through the “Fanbase” has been extraordinary as I’ve reviewed comic books, created a featured series, and interacted with those in and around the Fanbase Press family. The leaders running the organization are Barbra and Bryant Dillon, and their desire to support people’s fandoms, while creating new ones and making sure it’s an environment for anyone to want to join or share – and keeping true to the wonderful notion of building people up and sharing their dreams. Their endless workload and compassionate devotion to their geeky friends led my desire to do more for them, leading to the Geeky Parent Guide.

It’s been close to a year and a half with Fanbase Press, and it’s been an exhilarating experience. How does it feel to be a part of such an organization that only makes you want to do more and more, and never feel like you’re doing enough because you want to do more?

It is amazing. I am a part of something that can be bigger and brighter than any of my dreams ever could’ve imagined. Geeky Parent Guide will reach its one-year anniversary in April, I still continue to write reviews and editorials, and I’ve contributed to a few feature podcast episodes of The Fanbase Weekly. Being a part of a support system that encourages growth and heartfelt communication, I encourage everyone to explore Fanbase Press. If you’re looking for support, or simply want a community that will accept you for you and love watching you build your own geeky empire – then go to

If you find them on Twitter, share your geeky endeavors or your favorite geeky things, and then tag your post with #EmbracetheFanbase. It’s an honor to be able to be involved with this organization and as a staffer, and friend, it’s important for me to share how I’ve leveled up by being a part of Fanbase Press. And by sharing, hopefully it will continue a path of breaking out of my shell and exploring where the Fanbase will take me and where I can help take the Fanbase.

Embrace the Fanbase, and level up. I wonder if Level 5 is in my future.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con: Quick Recap

Baltimore Comic-Con is the only con I’ve attended. The first couple of times I attended, my only true aspirations were to dive through the thousands and thousands of comic books from the many, many vendors. This year, my objective completely changed.

I wanted to attend as many panels as possible, and possibly interact with writers and artists I’d written a review for. I’ve written plenty of reviews on single issues, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels from publishers like BOOM! Studios, Titan Comics, Dark Horse, Image Comics, and other indies, so I definitely wanted to express my appreciation to these publishers in some way, if they were attending, even just to say, “Awesome stuff.” This didn’t always play out because of my sometimes-awkward, introverted nature shining through, or if I did, I tried to make it brief to make sure their time wasn’t taken away from others interested in their works.

Now, my time on the main floor was limited over three days, because I spent most of my time attending panels. Let me say this – it was absolutely amazing. Listening to so many writers and artists talk about their craft, how they approach storytelling and some of their favorite parts, and you can see it. You can see how much they love what they’re doing. They love the world of comic books, and the ability to tell a story in that medium, which some made sure to emphasize, “Comic books are a medium, not a genre.”

There were numerous panels, making it impossible to see them all, and that’s a great thing. Although it might be difficult to grapple with the choice, “Which one do I go to?” – it made the experience better knowing there were plenty of different options to choose from. Some of the choices included:

“Writing Across Genres”
“#Daretobeheroic with Dynamite”
“Creating Kickass Characters”
“Comics Creators Consuming Coffee” – FYI, a panel that offers coffee to attendees, while discussing favorite coffee habits and comic book stories is the best way to start a con day!
“DC Comics: My Secret Origin: How I Broke into Comics”
“Valiant Presents Icons: X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Faith and Beyond”
“Women Creators Discuss the Evolving Comic Book Industry”
“BOOM! Studios: Discover Yours”
“Image Comics: Your New Favorite Series”
“Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick Panel”
“Comics for Everyone”
“Creative Community: Finding It; Building It; And Growing with It”

Outside of the Iron Fist panel, which involved actors discussing their training and experiences within the TV world, the others included writers, artists, and publishers discussing future projects, past experiences in the industry, and how others might attempt to get into the comic book world. It was fascinating to listen to each person’s perspective, while also providing an encouraging boost to writers wanting to pursue a similar path, seeing the enthusiasm for their craft and listening to their funny anecdotes – with the ultimate realization that being creative is a wonderful thing.

If you’re in the Baltimore area in September of next year, this convention is a great way to learn from those in the comic book industry. The panels usually seem to have more than enough room for attendees, and the subsequent discussion that follows is entertaining. Baltimore Comic-Con has highlighted many different guests over the past few years; Frank Miller, Lynda Carter, Haley Atwell, Sean Astin, Katie Cassidy, Ming-Na Wen, Edward James Olmos, Stan Lee, and many others.

If your only interest is to find comic books to add to your collection, or find something new to start reading, Baltimore Comic-Con has a massive floor showing a seemingly endless number of vendors who sell new and used comic books, artwork, t-shirts, figurines, and an assortment of other clothing and collectibles. A friend who has been to many different cons – Dragon Con, Awesome Con, C2E2, New York Comic Con, and others – said about the Baltimore Comic-Con years ago, “It’s the most comic book-oriented con of them all.”

For an overall experience, this con is fun, with plenty of ways to stay occupied, and plenty of reasons to return again and again.

Monday, September 18, 2017

I Am Now A Fanbase Press Staffer

Of the many things I've done as a writer, I cannot accurately express how much it means to become a part of the Fanbase Press staff. A little over a year ago, I wrote my first comic book review and it's been an amazing ride since that point.

I have had the opportunity to read awesome stories, look at tons of unique artwork, and realize my life as a writer is the most satisfying professional endeavor I could ever hope to achieve. I'm thrilled to say I am now a Senior Contributor/Creator of the Geeky Parent Guide, and "as is the case with all of Fanbase Press' staff members, [I] will also be taking on a critical role within the realm of geekdom." I have also been given the responsibility, in this additional role, as Guardian of Fantasia, and I'll make sure, as part of the Fanbase, that they'll never know The Nothing.

Thank you, Fanbase Press, for letting me be a part of your world.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Geeky Parent Guide

If anyone wants to know what's been happening with the Geeky Parent Guide, a featured series on Fanbase Press, check out some of our most recent posts. We've dived into:

You can keep tabs with the GPG, and connect with other geeky parents, by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Continued Excitement About Fanbase Press

For the past three months, I've been a Guest Contributor for Fanbase Press (FP). Not only have I been absolutely thrilled to be involved with FP as a writer, I have enjoyed reading other people's reviews, listening to their many podcasts, and interacting with several of them.

Knowing how much I enjoy being a part of this fun community, I am ecstatic to announce I am now a regular contributor. I can remove the "guest" part, and happily say I am a Fanbase Press Contributor. I even have a bio - how cool is that?

In one of my happiest shouts, "WOOHOO!!!"