Friday, April 26, 2013

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

This is my first posting in quite some time, and that has a lot to do with several events that have happened in the past few weeks, the events that we're all very aware of at this point. Perhaps more than anything else, it's taken me this long to process everything, to really take in the full severity of what happened. 

I was lucky enough not to be at the Marathon when the bombings occurred, I did not know anyone personally who was running in the Marathon, and I was not in an area that was directly affected when the second suspect was running around town creating chaos. I was very, very fortunate with all of these things, and I know that not everyone was as fortunate as I. 

But even with all of the madness that was going on, as it was unfolding, there were a few things that I kept thinking. If what happened had occurred where I'm from (namely LA), I don't think things would have been handled nearly as well. Not that I have anything against LA, but Boston was essentially shut down for half a day, and once the stay in place order was out, the streets of Boston looked Gotham City during The Dark Knight Rises, and I don't think LA could handle something like that. For one, LA is just too big. To me, it was mind-boggling that an entire city could hibernate that quickly and efficiently. That speaks volumes about the community - that everyone banded together to help out the authorities nab the bombing suspect. Ironically, I felt extremely safe during the entire ordeal, but that also may have had to do with the amount of police, SWAT, FBI, and others that were present during that week.

Not to repeat what has already been said by others much more articulately, but the kindness, the support, and the generosity that followed the bombings and its aftermath was amazing. I'm not originally from Boston (though I can claim some roots via my father), but after everything was said and done, I felt more like a Bostonian than I have previously. Buzzfeed had a great article with photos and short interviews with people. Take a look here at the original site; this really showcases the people that help keep Boston strong.

It was a long week (did anyone else feel like about a month of time lapsed during that week?) and to help release some of the tension, I went with a friend to Comicazi in Somerville. We originally were supposed to go to Boston Comic-Con (which would have been the first time for the both of us) but with everything that happened, the Con was postponed. However, the wonderful staff of Comicazi and a handful of fantastic writers and artists who were scheduled to show at the Con came together and had the Not-Boston-Comic-Con-Get-Together.

It was fabulous, especially since the one artist that I wanted to see at Boston Comic-Con, the legendary Don Rosa, was there. I have wanting to meet him since I was ten years old, when I first starting reading his Uncle Scrooge comics. My Grandpa used to take me to the local comic book store (which is still there!) after school, and would let me get an Uncle Scrooge comic or a Star Wars action figure. Rosa, as the inheritor of the canon that Carl Barks created, has managed to take the characters and world that Barks initiated and expand upon it in unique and fantastic ways. Scrooge was a great character in the Barks universe, but Rosa has made Scrooge a solidified bad-ass. 

I certainly wouldn't want to mess with this guy.

When my friend and I showed up at Comicazi, we were pleasantly surprised to see the large crowd of people waiting to go in and see the writers and artists. I was disappointed that I hadn't thought ahead the last time I was home to bring my Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck or any of a number of Rosa's comics with me, but I knew that meeting Rosa would be enough. As we eagerly waited in line with everyone (and my friend took the opportunity to score a great Doctor Who pin which says "I <3 <3  the Doctor" - if you're a fan, you'll get it), I went over in my head what I was going to say to Rosa.

The last time I had met someone I had admired (here's looking at you, MT Anderson), I had managed to not embarrass myself too much, though from what I remember, I think I had laughed hysterically in a similar manner as Emily Blunt when she met President Obama. It's hard when you meet someone you admire, since there's definitely a fine line between admiration and tripping all over yourself to tell them about how much you admire, worship, or flat out adore them. I did not want to meet Rosa and then somehow find a way to accidentally stab him with a sharpie or knock off his glasses.

Luckily enough, I was able to compose myself, and as we inched closer and closer to my favorite comic artist in the whole world, I saw that he, among the other artists, was very generously sketching for the fans in line. This led me to another quick disappointment, since the notebook that I typically carry is lined. Though as a fan, I would have let Rosa sign or sketch on anything I had present in my bag, be it a gum wrapper or a Kleenex, but I selfishly wished that I too could get a sketch. The comic book gods must have been smiling on me that day, as my friend had her unlined notebook with her (an awesome Star Wars themed one) and very graciously let me borrow it when it was my turn to meet Rosa.

Rosa was absolutely everything I had dreamed and more. I told him about how I had become a fan of his and when he asked, "Well, what can I do for you?" I answered, "Could I just shake your hand?" He did shake my hand, and then kissed it and I was sure that I was going to start the crazed laughter a la Tom Hulce's Amadeus. Some part of my mind was still conscious enough to not allow that, and ended up having a great conversation with Rosa and he sketched Scrooge during his Yukon days for me, which is my favorite chapter in Scrooge's life. 

Again, bad-ass.

My friend snapped several great photos of me with Rosa, and the Scrooge sketch turned out great. We left, and I was definitely floating on cloud nine. Had we attended Comic-Con as originally planned, I would have never been able to have the same experience as I did, though I'm sure Rosa would have been just as kind and charming. 

My ten-year old self and my twenty-six year old self having the ultimate Scrooge fan-girl moment. 

After leaving Comicazi, my friend and I walked around town, stopping for a bite to eat at The Buren and then headed back into the city to walk down Newbury Street. The atmosphere was so different from the days prior, and with the beautiful, sunny sky, the city seemed fresh and exciting, and more like how it was before all of the tragedy. There were a lot of people out, probably all with the same idea that we had, just to get out and enjoy life.

Not to end on a sappy note, but more than anything else, I know that I am entirely grateful for what I have and what opportunities I have been given. Boston's a tough city, and though it is not the city of my birth, I have chosen to live here, and I want to be strong enough to be called a true Bostonian. 

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