"Brunette reading a comic on the L train - m4w" - Craiglist NYC

Found in Craigslist's Missed Connections this past week:
"As the title says: you were a short haired brunette (with glasses!) reading a comic on the L train heading to Brooklyn on Wednesday. We both got on at 8th ave, and I sat next to you, with the pole in between us. You were reading some DC Comics. I think I've seen you before on the shuttle bus, but I'm not sure.

I got off at Myrtle-Wyckoff, you remained on the train.

I was the short haired hispanic guy in a grey shirt/black tie with a bookbag. I fell asleep a couple of times on that ride, I remember apologizing because I think I bumped into you.

If you remember and are interested, I'd like to take you out for a drink sometime.

- V"
Wednesday. New comic-book day. The week Comic-Con is happening out in San Diego? A day of passion.

I had two house-guests recently. Both are good, clean, comics-reading folk; one from Portland, OR the other from the Boston, MA area. I told them that, truly, the thing that I love most about New York City, and the main reason I never intend to return to the Boston area, is that there's comics culture in the fabric of the society itself here. It's more than just conversation about comics in a populace with a larger percentage of comics-readers, it's an energy and feeling, a zeitgeist, that's created by all that conversation and partially by the comics stores every ten blocks in Midtown Manhattan, but mainly by the history in this great city.

Will Eisner. Jack Kirby. Stan Lee. Harvey Kurtzman. They all grew up here. Eisner in the South Bronx. Kirby in the Lower East Side. Kurtzman in Brooklyn. Lee in Washington Heights. This is where Marvel Comics was once Timely Comics and DC Comics was once National Periodicals and where they both still hold offices today. Comics culture and history is thick on the sidewalks of New York City.

I was just talking with comics writer and sometime artist Brendan McGinley (@brendanmcginley) Tuesday night at the bar in the People's Improv Theater (@thePIT). The weekly Comic Book Club show (@comicbooklive) was long over and we were talking about the neighborhoods of New York. I mentioned that I used to live in Washington Heights and he mentioned that he used to date a girl living there. We both experienced the neighborhood's change. I see it even more clearly after moving away a year ago and coming back to visit. Starbucks. Vegetarian cafes. Fancy restaurants. But it used to be the home of Smilin' Stan!

(There's an experience all by itself. Imagine realizing you'd been living in the neighborhood that birthed your childhood hero on your last week before moving out.)

Brendan said there's a high school that churned out comics guy after comics guy in the Thirties. DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx just happened to be in a thickly Jewish neighborhood at the height of the depression when imaginations seem to have been on overdrive. Lee, Eisner, Batman's co-creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and the co-creator of "Casper: The Friendly Ghost" Seymour Reit are among its graduates. [Read a bit more about that here.]

I suspect the only other place that feels this way at all is Cleveland. The birthplace of Superman's creators Siegel and Shuster as well as the home of the late great underground autobiographical comics writer Harvey Pekar. The two trailblazing, trend-setting pillars of the two main expressions of the medium in America from one Mid-Western city.

Josh and I both grew-up in suburban environments, what an old girlfriend of mine used to call the land of 'white bread' people. We didn't grow up with this and it's almost intoxicating to me. A tiny bit like being in a comics convention going on in secret all around you at all times. Sit down in a park, you might strike up a conversation with someone about Craig Thompson's "Blankets". Get on the subway, you could sit down next to someone reading the latest issue of "Wolverine". Drop by some small cafe in Brooklyn and you will find comics from local indie creators amid the free pile of small-press newspapers and magazines.

It's easy to get spoiled by it. But it does make me less jealous of the people who went to San Diego last week. I'll take New York over California any day of the year.

~ @JonGorga

P.S. ~
I covered a very cool event last year about comics that capture this adopted home of mine and the write-up is here.

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