A brief bit of peace and quiet go a long way when things in life get hectic. Most functioning adults know that. Hell, most teenagers know that, especially during this time of year when school is back in session and the holidays still seem so far away. It might just be my own personal experience talking, but this time of year always seems the busiest. Going back to middle school, I always felt the most stressed out and overworked during this time of year.
That makes whatever peace and quiet you can find that much more precious. For me and my fellow comic book fans, New Comic Book Day offers an ideal situation in which to create your perfect happy place. I’ve already noted before how I enjoy just downloading my new books for the week via Comixology and reading them on my iPad with a fresh cup of coffee. To me, that is the zenith of peace and quiet.
During certain times of the year, I’ll play a little music in the background if I’m in the mood. I’ve done that a few times over the course of the summer. For this time of year, though, New Comic Book Day allows me to get my perfectly prescribed dose of peace and quiet. It’s both fulfilling and therapeutic. If my fellow comic fans are in need of that, a day like today gives you the perfect opportunity.
To that end, here is my pull list and pick of the week. I hope it helps you create your own little world of Zen before enduring another stressful day. Enjoy!
Everyone has their own personal happy place. It’s not childish or immature. It’s not something that warrants mockery, denigration, or teasing. Not everyone’s happy place will be similar. Some will come off as downright strange or quirky. That doesn’t matter. So long as it isn’t hurting anyone else, nobody should be ashamed of what constitutes their happy place.
For me, personally, my happy place has often revolved around comics. I have many other things that give me joy. However, it’s not always possible to structure those things around a happy place. With comics, though, it’s incredibly easy. Even before the days of the internet, being in my bedroom with a stack of comics was the bedrock of my happy place.
These days, thanks to smartphones, tablet computers, and Comixology, my happy place is almost always within reach. I could be having a terrible day. My favorite team could lose a big game. My friends could be giving me crap. The news can be extra depressing. Any number of things could be making me miserable, but that’s when my happy place does its best work.
I just log in, download some of my favorite comics, and let them work their magic. On New Comic Book Day, my happy place is even more robust. It often gives me some added strength to navigate whatever I encounter over the course of the day. For that, I’ll always be grateful.
In that spirit, I hope other fellow comic book fans have a happy place just as strong as mine. Today is as good a day as any to start building one. Here is my pull list and picks to help get you started. Enjoy!
I’ve always been an early riser. However, that’s not necessarily a habit by choice. When I was a teenager, I had to be up at 5:00 a.m. just to catch the bus to school. I lived on one of the worst bus routes in the district in that we were the first to get picked up. That meant it was often still dark out.
Waking up that early sucked for the most part. I was already an angsty teenager prone to misery and being so groggy in the morning didn’t help. That said, getting into that habit did have some perks. It certainly helped me later on in life when I began working. However, it really showed its value when comics started coming out digitally every Wednesday morning.
Suddenly, I wasn’t getting up that early out of habit. I had a damn good reason to be up at 5:00 a.m. That incentive definitely grew once I got an iPad. Now, I could just slip out of bed, grab my iPad, and indulge in a stack of digital comics before putting on any underwear. It’s a magical feeling.
That feeling is only more magical during weeks like this. Sometimes, just by sheer luck of release schedules, there’s a glut of awesome new comics, including some major event books and one-shots. There’s Heroes Reborn, the Hellfire Gala, and the wedding of Dr. Doom. That’s a lot to take in, especially in the early morning hours. Since I’m an early riser, I like to think I’m more equipped than most take it all in.
I know not everyone is up this early. I honestly envy the ability to just sleep in on a whim. If you’re a comic fan, though, some things are worth getting up this early for. When you see some of the books that came out this week, you’ll understand. Here’s my pull list and pick. After some of these books, I doubt you’ll be groggy. Enjoy!
When I was a kid, I had an exceedingly limited budget for comics. Even though they were cheaper years ago, the cost did add up. My love of comics was just that strong. Most of the time, that meant saving every penny I earned through allowances, chores, or birthday cards. Then, I had to basically look at a wall of comics and agonize over which to choose.
As a kid, it taught me a lot about managing a personal budget. That served me very well later in life. It also helped me appreciate the money I earned later on. These days, I don’t have to be quite as stingy with my comic book budget. That’s not to say I splurge every week. There are some books that I hold off on buying until a graphic novel compilation comes out. That’s just not as necessary as it used to be.
I imagine that if digital comics were around when I was a kid, I would’ve struggled even more to manage my comics budget. I like to think I’m fairly disciplined. I’m not sure that discipline would stand in the face of having unlimited comics at my fingertips through Comixology. In that sense, I’m glad I’ve managed as well as I have.
To those who are on a tighter budget than me, I hope my weekly pull lists help you make the most of every dollar you spend. There’s a time and a place to splurge on comics. The key is knowing when that time is and what to splurge on. I’m not saying this week is one of those times, but given the ongoing events across multiple major franchises, I can’t say it isn’t.
I’ll let you be the judge. Here is my pull list and pick. Please spend wisely, but if you need to splurge, I totally understand. Enjoy!
It’s June! Last year, that was just a formality, due to global events that I’d rather not dwell on. This year, we can actually say it with some enthusiasm. We made it to June and it’s New Comic Book Day. What’s not to love?
Summer has finally arrived. The schools are letting out after another crazy year. Things are finally opening up, much more so than they did last year. This summer, we will be able to go to a ball game. We will be able to go to a pool, a concert, a movie theater, or night club. We’ll even be able to go to a restaurant without having to wear a mask. If you’re not shedding tears of joy right now, then you have no soul.
I’m ready to embrace this summer in a way that I haven’t embraced a season since high school. A big part of that effort will involve comics. This time around, I’ll actually be able to enjoy them while lounging by a pool, sitting at a restaurant, or just wandering about. I cannot overstate how much I’m looking forward to that. With warm weather and a world that’s less chaotic, this is a great time to just enjoy summer like never before.
To all those still digesting their Memorial Day barbecue, I encourage you to do the same. Make the extra effort to enjoy this summer. Whether you’re a kid out of school or an adult still working, find a way to do something special. Let today mark the beginning of that effort and what better way to start then with a stack of new comics? To help, here’s my pull list and picks. Enjoy!
The older I get, the more I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self that things weren’t as hopeless as they seemed. I would’ve loved to grab my 15-year-old self by the shoulder, looked him right in the eyes, and told him that I had many wonderful experiences ahead of me. I would’ve maybe told him some winning lotto number as well, but that’s beside the point.
Most people who survived adolescents and found ways to thrive in the adult world appreciate the perspective of hindsight. It can be sobering for some, but bittersweet for others. When we’re young, ignorant, and inexperienced, everything just seems more overwhelming. We struggle to make sense of it all. You really can’t hope to understand anything without time, experience, and perspective.
I suspect most people have entertained the idea of sending messages to their younger self at some point in their lives. Even if it’s just to tell them who will win the Super Bowl this year, there’s a lot of wisdom we’d love to impart. Movies like “Groundhog Day” and “Happy Death Day” demonstrate the power of having such hindsight. However, those movies only go so far.
It’s one thing to relive a single day with all your memories intact. An entire lifetime is on a much larger scale with far greater implications. It makes for an interesting thought experiment. Now, after a certain X-Men comic told a remarkable story with this, I’d like to pose it as a formal question.
What would you do if you could live your entire life over again with the same memories, knowledge, and experiences you have now?
It’s a question that is likely to inspire many different answers. Everyone’s life, circumstances, and experiences are different. Some people wouldn’t want to change much. They like how their lives turned out. Others would make significant changes, both for their lives and for others.
Since a scenario like this has so many implications, here are a few specifics to consider before answering this question. I’m going to try and answer it for myself, but I think it’s worth establishing a context, if only to avoid the kind of time travel paradoxes that make the timelines in “Back to the Future” so confusing.
With that in mind, here are the rules for this little experiment:
When you’re reborn, you have all the memories you have up to this point in your life
You’re aware that you were reborn and don’t suffer significant shock from being in a younger body
You keep the fact that you have the knowledge of your future self secret
Your ability to recall your memories is consistent with your ability to recall general memories at this very moment
You have no hint of knowing how different decisions affect the future course of events for yourself and the world as a whole
The course of events still unfold as you remember them and don’t change unless you directly influence them
With those rules in mind, take a moment to contemplate how you would live your life the second go-around. What would you do initially? How would you change the course of your childhood? How would that change the course of your teenage years? What points in your life would you make radically different decisions?
For me, personally, there are many general aspects of my life that I would change, even from a young age. I would take a very different approach to how I went about everything from school to friends to my little league baseball career. Life experiences has shown me how flawed my mentality was during that time. I focused so much on outcomes over the process that it caused more frustration than growth.
I also developed a very negative outlook for much of my youth and during my teen years. In my defense, I had terrible social skills and some irrational anxieties that only became absurd with the benefit of hindsight. Armed with the experience I have now, I would’ve been a lot more hopeful and optimistic in approaching school, friends, and challenges. I think that would’ve helped me achieve more and learn more.
In terms of specifics, I freely admit that I would use my knowledge of the future for personal gain, albeit to a limited extent. I can’t remember specific lotto numbers for specific dates, but I can remember which teams won the Super Bowl and the World Series. I also remember which companies made the most gains in the stock market. As such, I would invest whatever I could in Apple, Netflix, Amazon, and Google.
That would’ve made paying off my student loan debt a lot easier. It also would’ve spared me some very unpleasant experiences I had when it came to finding decent housing, both in college and after I graduated. Not having to worry about money would definitely have helped with a lot of things. I could use it to take additional classes, invest in my writing career, and avoid some major missteps, of which I’ve made plenty.
I imagine a lot of people would take advantage of that knowledge. Now, there are some arguments that making those kinds of investments and bets often end up changing the outcome, resulting in a time paradox of sorts. That might be the case if you randomly invested a billion dollars in Apple at a time when it was on the brink of bankruptcy, but I imagine it would take a lot to significantly change something like that.
This brings me to the most sensitive aspects of this thought experiment and one I’m sure more than a few people have already imagined. Having the benefits of hindsight means you can fix the mistakes you made in your youth, both in terms of decision and attitudes. What about decisions that might affect the entire course of history?
It’s one thing to profit from a bump in stock prices. It’s quite another to change a key moment in history. It’s the inescapable implications behind the butterfly effect. However, even movies like “Back to the Future” show that you can only affect the course of history to a limited extent. Even in the worst scenario, Marty McFly only messed up Hill Valley in “Back to the Future II.” He didn’t cause a nuclear holocaust.
If you only have your memories of the future and no other abilities beyond that, you’re still going to have trouble changing certain events. A lot of people would probably try to prevent the events of September 11th, 2001, but how would you even go about that? Would calling someone at the FBI or warning the airports be enough? Would going there and trying to stop it directly be effective?
At best, you’ll only delay it. At worst, you might get yourself killed. The same goes for any event. Say you wanted to change the outcome of the 2000 US Presidential Election or, depending on your affiliation, the 2016 Election. These events have many moving parts. There’s only so much you can do to influence them. Even if you shout the warnings from the highest rooftop, you’ll probably won’t be taken seriously.
There’s also the distinct possibility that changing these events will lead to something much worse. That’s what happened in the Stephen King novel, “11.22.63.” In the story, Jake Epping stopped the Kennedy Assassination, but that indirectly led to a nuclear war. There was even an episode of “Family Guy” that explored this concept.
It’s a difficult decision that I’m sure most would wrestle with. Personally, I would make an effort to avert something as terrible as the September 11th, 2001 attacks. I don’t know how I would go about it, but I certainly would try. I would probably do the same for things like the Columbine massacre or other school shootings, if only to save the lives that wouldn’t otherwise be saved.
As for other events, it’s hard to say and even harder to know the implications. If someone has a specific method they would use, please share them in the comments. I think they’re worth discussing.
These are just some of the issues you would face if you had a chance to relive your life all over again. Hindsight offers many benefits and perspectives, but it also comes with risks. You might be able to avoid the mistakes you know about, but you also might end up making others you didn’t anticipation and those could be far worse.
It’s still an interesting though to consider. As we get older, our perspective on the past and present changes considerably. We can never know how we would’ve acted with some added foresight. I like to think that I, along with most people, would’ve used it to become better.
It’s the last New Comic Book Day on the last week of the year and I think I speak for many, comic lovers and non-comic lovers alike, when I say fuck 2020. Fuck this god-awful year. It cannot end fast enough.
I apologize. I just needed to get that out of my system. Thank you for bearing with me.
I know that’s a popular sentiment. I think everybody is ready to close the page on this shitty year and embrace 2021 in ways we usually reserve for puppies, kittens, and a cold beer on a hot summer day. However, we still have a few days left so there’s still time for an asteroid to hit.
The industry has since adapted. It still has a long way to go and will likely face more upheavals in 2021. However, the bar for improvement is so low at this point that I’ll be content if it just means I can attend a comic convention at some point.
Normally, the last New Comic Book Day of the year is a time of bittersweet reflection. This year, which has been like no other, carries a very different feeling. Whatever that feeling entails, let’s try to enjoy it as best we can. Better days are coming. I believe that and I’m willing to work towards it.
In the meantime, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube Channel, Jack’s World. As someone who has followed and praised X-Men comics for years, I wanted to make a video that articulated just how important the recent House of X/Powers of X story by Jonathan Hickman is in the history of the franchise. I tried to do it justice while trying not too hard to geek out. Enjoy!