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Small Galaxies

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I got this lovely note in my ask box. I’m not going to post the name because I don’t know if the poster involved wanted her name used. It got me thinking:

“I just wanted to thank you. I know it sounds extremely cheesy/lame, but I just appreciate all of your work so much - especially Birds of Prey and the new Batgirl. I’m a huge Barbara fan, and for some reason, reading the stories that you write about her makes me feel a lot less lonely. Thank you for all of the hope that your stories have given me. Can’t wait until Issue 5!”
Of course, I appreciate the kind words, but I was really struck by what she said, about comics making her feel less lonely.
I don’t talk about this online a lot, but I grew up in an extremely rough situation that didn’t really get better until I left home.  I’m not going to whine about the whole story here, but one problem was that I grew up on a farm, far, far away even from the teensy little redneck town where I went to school. We had no close neighbors with kids my age, no television, very little to do other than chores and wandering.
But comics really did help with that. When I read comics (or some really good fantasy fiction), I felt like the world wasn’t so tiny, that it was MASSIVE and filled with wonder and people from other planets and amazing friends with wonderful adventures. I was just a kid, but I treasured those stories and read them to tatters.
As I grew up and moved away, comics had gotten pretty grim and unwelcoming to female readers and I drifted away a while.

Then I went through a very sad period, and rediscovered comics by accident (it was Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ KINGDOM COME). I just fell in love with it. And now they had actual SHOPS where you could buy comics, and you could talk to the other readers, and the staff. And holy crap, I went online and there were whole message boards where you could talk to hundreds of people about these wonderful books.
So, lots of times comics have been lovely for me, made me feel emotions. And twice, it was life-changing. That’s not counting going pro and all the things that that has brought to my life, I’m speaking solely as a reader.
This is one of the reasons why I take this stuff so seriously. An issue of a particular book might be just an assignment to the writer, but it might be tremendously important to a reader. I’ve had, probably, over the years, maybe eight to ten people say that stories I’ve written helped keep them from hurting themselves, and I know other writers have had that, as well. Comics can do that, they are stories of better possibility, they can touch the heart.
So my question is, have comics ever helped you feel less alone? Have they ever caused you to experience a powerful and positive emotional response?

If so, what characters do that for you the most?
(Also, I have no idea why Tumblr is ignoring my paragraph breaks on this post…any ideas? It looks like a block of text!)

I come from a little rednecky town in Oregon, and honest to god, if a kid had been openly gay, his or her life might have been at risk. There was simply no tolerance whatsoever, and this wasn’t all that long ago.

Now, the school has several openly gay kids, including my niece, and they are well-liked, popular and accepted. No question that there are still struggles and prejudice, but it’s a different, and better world by far for them.

I do have a lot of hope for the future. I feel like the hard wave of sheer, rampant, unapologetic homophobia is in fact fear…these people know the world is passing them by, and they want to hang on to their ignorance any way they can. But they’re going to lose, it’s just inevitable, and their kids will be ashamed of them, and history will portray them as the fearful little bigots they are.

Gail Simone (via doctordisaster)

Gail Simone has a tumblr. Gail Simone has a Tumblr.  And she says amazing things on it, because of course she does.