Friday, August 1, 2014

Outside Your Comfort Zone

I don’t like Golden Age comics.  There, I said it.  In our little community, that seems like a shameful sin, but I can’t hide it any longer.  I understand the history, appreciate their significance and respect the creators.  If it wasn’t for their hard work, books that I enjoy wouldn’t be possible, and for that, I am deeply thankful.  Still, the stories themselves don’t appeal to me or speak to my generation.  I am not a historian nor am I particularly well-read when it comes comics.  In fact, my corner of fandom is so small, that I can’t carry on a decent conversation with the GCD elite.  I don’t even try.

And there lies beauty of the GCD, right?  We have a community of fans with a variety of interests that range across the ages, genres and national borders.  We have experts and novice alike indexing issues creating a database that is versatile enough to be used by users from all different types of backgrounds and interests while still maintaining accuracy strong enough for researchers.  That is no small feat and considerably more ambitious than similar online comic database who are more focused in scope.  Our members are really that good.

We’ve been at this for 20 years with a impressive success story to share, but I want to challenge you as we look forward to the next 20 years.  Expand outside your comfort zone.

The 2014 GCD Convention experience has been my foray outside my norm.  It has changed (for the better) how I see the GCD.  I continue to struggle with meeting new people or starting conversations with strangers, but the rewards have been worth the energy and fear.  I’ve met so many different types of people who have never heard of the GCD and always encouraged by their reactions when I explain it.  It has been  positive experience for both me and, I hope, the GCD.

I encourage you to look for opportunities to reach out to a different set of comic fans that you wouldn’t normally visit.  Go to conventions, shows and exhibits that are not in your area of expertise to talk to the independent artists, manga lovers, store owners and pop culture podcasters.  Find venues that you wouldn’t normally attend.  Share your story.  After all, we are a grassroots organization that will grow through personal connections and interactions.  Our future is strongly tied to members like you spreading the word.