Saturday, November 07, 2009

Marvel Reviews (Yes, Marvel Reviews)

Yesterday's mail held treasures beyond my expectations. Not just one, but two orders of comics awaited my perusal when the work day was over.

I devoured the Marvel books, particularly the Wolverine List special. I'll admit, I'm one of those people annoyed to see Marvel Boy disappear from Dark Avengers. I like the character, even as written by Bendis. He's clearly a hero, but his bitterness is directed externally. That's usually a villain thing (heroes with angst tend to hate themselves most of all, or be hated by everyone else), but in Noh-varr's case the misunderstanding is perfectly understandable. The way in which he approaches and discards revenge in favor for actually helping the planet he hates tells us he has an incredibly strong moral backbone. He knows the solution to his problems with Earth are to solve Earth's problems, but his youth, his poor intel, and his astronomically bad first impression of the planet make this a pretty tough prescription. So we get to see him get angry, attack, help, and slowly learn that humans don't necessarily match his assumptions. He's like a teenaged Namor, updated for the 21st Century. I like this, and I like that they're integrating him into the mainstream universe.

I was so happy someone used him that I was willing to overlook the art that made him seem way too old. (I hate to admit I prefer anything of Deodato's, but he can draw a teenager to look like a teenager.)

It was nice to see Fantomex too. I would never read Fantomex in a starring role (He is a show up and annoy the hero sort of guest star, really), but he's got this obnoxious blase` that's fun to play off someone uptight like Noh-varr. And I like characters like Fantomex and Wolverine trying to outjade each other.

I hope this is a sign that Marvels willing to play with all those wonderful presents that Morrison left in their toybox. I absolutely loved New X-Men (for the same reasons David Brothers outlines here I've had trouble getting back into the X-Men franchise since Morrison left) and it was disappointed when they tried to roll everything back right after he left. The only thing that survived was Scott and Emma, which was the only thing I was hoping they'd roll back (or at least just make it the counterpart to the Logan and Jean thing, where Scott comes back to Jean always but there's this mutual attraction between him and Emma that comes up from time to time.)

New Avengers finally had a really good Bucky moment. (I guarantee there are people online complaining about it, but with the element of surprise it makes sense.) Ares really can't seem to get Bucky, can he? He got floored here, and in Reborn he needed a distraction. I wonder if this means we'll see a third fight from them.

Dark Avengers has me seriously thinking of Kenny McCormick. I could swear that the Sentry has died at least once per storyline, and it looks like they're even past commenting on it by this point.

Ms. Marvel and Fantastic Four ended their storylines neatly. The take on Karla in the former was seriously unexpected, the take on Reed in the latter was not but I still liked it.

Iron Man #19 was impressive. I'd been reading the Twitter reaction, and while I really got a kick out of what they pulled during the fight with Osborn. The reveal of who had Tony's Power of Attorney was hilarious. Dark Reign is fun simply for Osborn's reactions sometimes.

I haven't read the DC stuff yet. Mainly because the top of my reading list there is Blackest Night and Green Lantern, and I have this weird impulse to save them. This is like when I'm reading a book I'm really absorbed in and have to put it down between chapters, just because I know the author is going to introduce a twist soon and I'm comfortable with the line of thought I have about the story. There's a chance that it will go the way I expect, a chance it'll disappoint me a little, a chance that it'll open new and beautiful paths for my mind to explore, and a chance it'll go somewhere I don't like at all. I can keep the line of thought that I'm enjoying only until I read the twist. So right now, Blackest Night is sitting on my read pile until I'm ready for a change.

It may seem weird, but that break is part of the appeal of serialized fiction for me.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Strange Mental Phenomenon

There's this Conservative Christian Dude at work. We're more apt to run into conservative Christian dudes where I work than if I worked in a comic book store in Boston, it's true, but this guy stands out a bit even in the military community. When he first got to the shop and we all went out to lunch together, he changed seats when I sat down. This preyed on my childhood lunchroom anxieties, so I tried to joke it off.

"What? Do I smell or something?"

"Oh, it's not you. I just don't sit next to women."

"What's wrong with women?"

"Nothing. It's just a thing to avoid temptation."

"You find ME a temptation?" This incredulity was not an indication of low self-esteem. I was wearing the baggy camouflage work uniform, not a touch of makeup, and my hair is a dull brown color with flyaway strands in every direction. I do not really present an attractive appearance at work, nor do I bother with it. I do confess enjoying how nervous the question made him.

"Well, it's not like a thing with you. Just all women who aren't my wife."

"Or your daughter."

"Yeah, I'll sit next to my daughter too. It's a perception thing. I don't sit next to women who aren't my wife, so that no one perceives wrongdoing."

The rest of the shop thought it was a strange habit, but we shrugged it off as Conservative Christian Dude's personal weirdness. We're a fairly tolerant and accepting shop, led by an ex-recruiter with impressive social skills. (Our boss has the playful humor of Guy Gardner, including the willingness and ability to escalate or defuse any conflict at will.) Fortunately, Conservative Christian Dude was not the sort to shake a Bible in your face and tell you you're going to Hell even if you have just told him you can't attend that Church potluck he invited you to because it's the night of the Full Moon Ritual and you promised to bring the cake. As he tolerated our strangeness, we got used to the occasional oddity like not saying cursewords and a shockingly puritan attitude towards sex.

Today was notable, though.

Two seconds after I walked in the door for my shift Conservative Christian Dude turns to me and asks if I see anything wrong with the image on his computer. He's been doing a computerized lesson and there's an image of a woman in a pink blouse leaning forward to point at her monitor. The two men on either side are in suits and ties. I examine the image for any indication she's using the computer wrong. I look at the expressions. I look for obvious photoshoppery.

After about 3 minutes of intense inspection while Conservative Christian Dude stood smugly behind me, I realize what he thought constituted a problem.

"Is this because you can see cleavage?"

The pink blouse is unbuttoned and the woman is wearing a tank top underneath. There is a sliver of view of her breast. (I wish I had a copy of the image to show you how innocuous it is.)

"Yeah? Do you think that's appropriate?"

The ensuing discussion in the office was about whether the tank top is a tank top, a bra, or a tank top with a piece of bra showing. I've considering buying these outfits, so I'm absolutely certain it was just a normal tank top or a low v-cut shirt. Nothing a woman wouldn't wear normally. And I have the entire history of this blog analyzing comic book artwork to support me when I say I don't believe for a second the photographer or the model intended anything sexual about the image.

"She probably didn't see it at all when she dressed, and they told her to act natural for the pictures so she leaned forward and her top slipped down and molded to her chest. It's barely noticeable. Hell, it took me three minutes LOOKING for something to see it so you'd have to be a pervert to notice in the first place."

The whole office burst out laughing. Conservative Christian Dude paled a bit.

What was most amusing is how many time he'll think I'll side with him on stuff like this, because I go after the rest of the office over casual sexism. Sometimes I get the impression he thinks that because he follows so many rules about how men should treat women that he actually treats women better than the rest of the office. He doesn't realize that those old-fashioned attitudes are in many ways worse than the usual macho maintenance mindset.

See, out of that entire office of juvenile military manly men that get into discussions about actresses and download dirty movies and curse and joke about cheating on their wives, only one person saw cleavage on that slide when they took that lesson.

It was the guy who refuses to sit next to a woman, use swear words, or even discuss dirty movies. The old-fashioned gentleman white knight.

Not only that, as the discussion about proper workplace attire went on (kept smooth and casual by Guy Gardner-Type Boss--who at one point rolled up his sleeve to expose the upper arm, took a handful of armflab and told Conservative Christian Dude "This is basically what you're offended by here"), there was only one person in the office who didn't understand the concept of being responsible for your own thoughts and eyes. Only one guy who had trouble understanding that women don't dress for the sole purpose of provocation, and that it is not their responsibility to dress like nuns in order to avoid causing impure thoughts in the guy.

He also didn't know the word "misogynist" (which surprises me, because I could swear I use it several times a week) and understand why it applied when he suggested that women in offices only wear long skirts and tights. We didn't so much get this point across as simply give up on Conservative Christian Dude and start listening to Guy Gardner-Type Boss's old recruiter stories.

Now Conservative Christian Dude has never given me any indication in how he treats me that he thinks women are inferior in any way. I've never felt the slightest bit threatened by him (but that may be because he is approximately half my size). I'd say I actually get along with him better than many of the men in office do. But there's the occasional weirdness like this. Weirdness that passes the point where with anyone else in the office, I know they're just messing with me. He's serious the whole way through, and caught off guard when successfully challenged on it. It strikes me more as naivete than malice. A bit like those people who mistake chivalry for respect. Just another person out there following his step-by-step directions to the letter without realizing that they lead him away from where everyone needs to be.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Why Soranik Natu Should Survive Dating Kyle

Back when they first introduced Soranik Natu, I was one of the crowd of people begging them not to make her into Kyle's girlfriend. It was right around the time Jade got killed and The Curse was in full height.

Now that they've actually done it, though, I'm finding myself pretty happy with the couple. This took a bit. I was adamantly opposed to this as of the end of Recharge, she was already a hundred times more fun than anyone they'd set Kyle up with and I worried I'd be upset about them killing this one. After the Star Sapphire storyline I was more open to it, but still cautious because we all know what happens to anyone who gets near Kyle's bed. It grew a bit on me when the two approached each other in the aftermath, mainly because Soranik said she'd never been open to love and it looked like it would be a decent story for her. Most female characters are really developed on the side of love and family, and so get neglected with storylines that aren't about relationships. Soranik up until then had been a career-centric character, we'd never seen a boyfriend or a family member. She was established as a hero to be reckoned with already, so this was genuine character growth on her part. Plus, I wasn't expecting it to last.

Now that they've revealed Sinestro is her father, I'm completely in love with this idea. I really do believe it makes her less likely to be casually killed off. Sure, being Alan's daughter didn't save Jade but on this end the father is already so filled with fear and angst and misery that he's a bad guy on a massive cosmic scale. They don't really need to give Sinestro anything else to be freaked out about, Johns is setting him up quite well with the tragic past. Soranik's death would be an even more unnecessary character death than usual on that point.

Of course, Kyle already has enough death and misery in his past and that's never stopped anyone from offing a relative for him.

Still, I think her place in the relationship arc between Kyle and Sinestro is a potentially safe one. She hates her father, but from the position of a person who cherishes life in all forms. As it is Kyle now has a very tense reason to keep Sinestro alive (beyond his usual moral objections), and Sinestro has yet another reason to hate and target Kyle, but new consequences for it. If Soranik were to die and they were to blame each other, that dynamic would be fundamentally less interesting and both characters would lose a dimension of angst.

Beyond being comfortable with Soranik's chances of survival, I have to say she is the first girlfriend of Kyle's that I've actually liked. Part of that is how she was established before she got involved with him. Donna and Jade were both well-established heroes from teambooks before Kyle was even created, but neither were properly rooted anywhere.

Donna had been bounced around from Teen Titans to various identities and power sets and even personality changes when she was pulled into Green Lantern and depowered. She fulfilled a joint girlfriend/mentor role where she was wise, experienced in heroics, and more emotionally mature than Kyle, but she was still insecure and jealous of other women. She also didn't properly belong in Green Lantern so she walked out on him in as soon as someone wanted to pull her. (The "lost all memory of why she loved him" explanation was brilliant, though. I wish he'd whine about that more.) She's considerably more likable as the Ex-Girlfriend who is still friendly but will never likely be involved with him again.

Jade was arguably a Green Lantern character, but not Kyle's sort of Green Lantern. She was one of those Infinity Inc characters that DC didn't know what to do with, so she never really got a proper fit outside of Green Lantern. I don't think she got a proper fit insider of Green Lantern. It always came off as a rather clumsy attempt to mash the Golden Age mystic legacy with the current space-opera version. Don't get me wrong, I like the explanation that the Starheart is the same sort of energy (it may even be a Parallax-style entity), and it comes from outer space so Jenny and Alan are connected, and friendly, but not really a part of the GLC. But the relationship between Kyle and Jade just seemed like an arranged marriage to join the earthbound and spacefaring Green Lantern families together. Every time they got together, I cringed. It seemed inorganic. As a result, I suspect I hated Jade more than she deserved. She just didn't fit the parts of the franchise that appealed to me. She ended up filling the same role as Donna, only a little less competent, a lot less openly jealous and a lot more insecure.

Careerwise, both women were said to be photographers but never seen holding a camera. Both women were professional heroes, but both were depowered. The one that was repowered during the relationship (Jade), was normally shown to be simply not as a good a hero as Kyle was. Not a bad hero, just not as good as Kyle. And since she had the same power set and more experience, one could only conclude that she was either inherently inferior or just wasn't putting in the necessary effort. (I suspect its the latter.) Ultimately, the career didn't matter because their primary role in the book was "love interest" from the moment of introduction, and their primary occupation was "girlfriend/nursemaid."

Soranik is different. She is pretty firmly established as a space-faring Green Lantern character. If Green Lantern Corps were to end next month, it is possible that she would surface as a member of the Global Guardians or a contestant on a reality TV show, but as of the start of this relationship she doesn't have a history of being traded from office to office as writers try to figure out what to do with her. (Neither does Kyle, even though he switches books a lot. He's still in the same franchise.) She's in the franchise that she belongs in, and no other editor or writer will have a claim.

In-story-wise, she fits Kyle's world better than the other two. People argue that in Marz's run Kyle was an earthbound character, but I read that run too. He spends the second storyline lost in space. Every other storyline, he goes to outer space. He spends one-shots in space. In Morrison's JLA, where he most shined as a character, he was on a team based on the moon and a large number of the threats he was called in for were space-based. He has always been a space Green Lantern, even when he was living in New York. He's where he's best suited to be right now, in outer space turning the beauty and weirdness of the universe into something relatable. Yes, Kyle has a very down-to-earth temperament, but that's part of why he and Guy suit the wider universe best. They bring Earth to Oa for us, and their interactions and insights during adventures highlight the humanity in all of these strange alien characters.

Jade was never a good fit for outer space (this may have something to do with her mother being a plant-based villainess), and one of the few good things Winick did was have her realize that and go home. One of the really unsettling things about Jade's death was that it happened in outer space rather than on Earth. That just wasn't her arena, and the fact that she died out there just underscored it. Come to think of it, that may be why I so despise Jade as the primary female Lantern in the DCU. Because she's ultimately an earthly character, and the things I love about Green Lantern aren't even in orbit. She inadvertently sends the message that girls don't really belong there because the only female character obviously doesn't belong in outer space. Katma Tui, Arisia, Brik, Boodika, Soranik Natu, Iolande, even Carol Ferris (she has the same hook Hal does, an Earth pilot who gets hired by aliens) are all preferable because they suit the setting better. I wish I could explain just what it was, maybe its just that all of Jade's legacy ties are earthbound Infinity Inc and JSA matters, or maybe it was that no writer ever took her out to space on her own (she only ever seemed to go when Kyle went), or that she just didn't do well against space-based baddies, but Jade just didn't work in space.

Donna does considerably better in outer space, but she's still a freaking Amazon. I don't care how many times they send the Titans to outer space, or how desperately they tie the Olympians to the Source. It's like Wonder Woman in outer space. It's pretty cool if you write it right, and she can handle it, but ultimately she's just visiting. She's not at home there either.

Soranik is a space alien and a space-faring Green Lantern, and the daughter of a well-established space-alien villain. In temperament she bears a striking resemblance to Bones McCoy. She definitely suits outer space.

Careerwise, Soranik is already established as a Doctor first and everything else second. In speculative fiction, medicine seems to be a safe female niche but that doesn't erase the respectability and importance of Natu's position. She's instantly valuable in every adventure for her professional skill set. She will never be relegated to the background position of "supportive girlfriend" simply because she's dating Kyle. Her job is too damned useful. If she's there and just standing around while he takes charge of the situation, a male character who was not dating Kyle would be there and simply standing around waiting for someone to get hurt so he could be useful. If she breaks up with Kyle so that he can go to his old girlfriend, she'll still be useful to the team because she can do things like deliver a baby in the middle of a battlefield. If in the brainstorming session a writer suggests killing off Soranik, someone can argue that they don't want to kill off the character with all the healing skill and then have to introduce another doctor. (I haven't the slightest idea what happens in brainstorming sessions, but you have to admit that argument couldn't be used to save Jade or Katma.) Hell, if it does get public that they're dating, and Kyle selects Soranik for an important mission there's a very obvious reason for it besides they're sleeping together -- because he wants someone around who can jumpstart his heart more than just figuratively. Just in case, y'know. She's never going to just be the girlfriend, and that's because of something that was set up from her very first appearance over two years before she started dating Kyle Rayner. Something that makes her character unique among Green Lanterns, and valuable beyond just her emotional impact.

Personality-wise, she's a pleasant break from the pattern. Jade and Donna both seemed to have same sunny, friendly attitude. Jade got passive-aggressive and Donna would start snapping at people when under stress. They fought when actually threatened, but tended to be conciliatory otherwise. They would only pull out the arrogance when someone was being a jackass and needed to be put in their place. They were sweet girls with highly developed social skills. They were both more emotionally mature than Kyle, and mentored him in both heroism and love.

Soranik has a short fuse and a surgeon's ego. She's insecure about a lot of things but hides it behind a very harsh demeanor. Her default attitude is arrogance, even though she fights less with the other Lanterns (Guy, Isamot, Iolande) now she still carries a cold arrogance when dealing with them. She softens when treating patients or talking to Kyle. She's confrontational even when there's no threat of violence. She's not a friendly person by nature, and social skill isn't really a priority for her. She's never sweet, even with Kyle. She's never, ever passive about anything.

In emotional maturity, I'd put her maybe at the same level as Kyle, probably a bit behind the curve in some aspects, but a bit ahead of him in others. She strikes me as physically older, and definitely more scholarly which offsets his greater experience in love and heroism. She helps him with a major emotional problem right after they get together, but the way she approaches the problem (his drawings of dead lanterns) is unusual. She's caring but keeps a clinical distance the other women wouldn't have been able to pull off. Jade and Donna's heart to hearts with Kyle always struck me as having a strange half-patronizing/half-pleading tone to them, where the girlfriend would protest that she cares for and loves Kyle but to listen to her because she knows better. Soranik doesn't plead that she loves Kyle, she tells him she cares about him as a way of shifting the debate away from her position as a medical expert who can just dole out orders to that of a friend who wants to understand him but might not necessarily know better. She actually acknowledges that the drawings themselves are a positive step in working through his traumas, which is something I can't see his previous girlfriends having done. (I've no doubt I'll be corrected if I'm wrong in this area.) In the end she offers a solution as a suggestion rather than a prescription, which is a pretty impressive feat for a Doctor.

Kyle's got a very friendly, approachable attitude. As Green Lanterns go he's pretty short on arrogance. He can be sweet, and passive aggressive. He was very much like his last two girlfriends, except he wasn't as mature as they were. Soranik has a completely different personality. She and Kyle share a common set of values, so the differences complement each other rather than clash.

Some of those common values come from just fitting the same part of the DCU. From the first time Kyle fought Parallax, he was tied to the betterment universe above all other things, above self, above family, above even his own species. Jade was always a personal-level hero, who would show up and do her duty during the giant crossover but ultimately be focused on her own loved ones. That's not bad, it's just earthly. Soranik Natu has the same calling Kyle does, for the universe above your own comfort, your own ambitions, your own planet. After the universe itself, Soranik and Kyle share a dedication to the sanctity of life, to the Green Lantern Corps (the people, not the rules or the bosses of the Green Lantern Corps), and to stopping the spread of fear across the universe.

Even before that awesome scene in Green Lantern Corps #41 (though it was nice to see dating Kyle didn't make her suddenly suck), she was considerably better than any girl Rayner's ever dated. Her career cushions her from falling into the "just a girlfriend" trap, her personality makes the relationship more interesting than the previous ones, and her connection to the franchise's major bad guy adds a layer of protection against being casually tossed into a refrigerator. So I have to say I'm pretty happy with what I've seen so far, despite worrying a bit about Kyle's Curse.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Blackest Night

Note: Please bear in mind when I read these thoughts that I am still two installments (Blackest Night #4 and Green Lantern #47) behind in Blackest Night so if the situation has changed that dramatically, you don't need to spoil it in the comments.

I hate to admit this, but as a Kyle fan Blackest Night has me worried.

Rebirth didn't really worry me because it started with his narration, and he was the first Lantern seen in the miniseries. It turned out to be a pretty damned good portrayal of Kyle, even though it sadly signalled the end of him narrating every appearance he makes. I still miss Kyle's narration a bit. I'm convinced he's still completely neurotic underneath the Model Lantern exterior. Some of the interaction with Guy (He was shocked to actually be respected by Captain Comet and only shows this when talking to Guy; He's overthinking what he saw in the Star Sapphire and only lets Guy know this) supports this, and if you reread Kyle as written by Ron Marz or Grant Morrison without looking at the narration you can see the behavior is the same.

The Sinestro Corps War didn't worry me at all because it started with him getting kidnapped and possessed by Parallax. This was not only living what was arguably his worst fear (after years of being cautioned not to let power go to his head and go bad like Hal, the exact same thing that happens to Hal happens to him), but it was the beginning of a story that was definitely going to end with him freed in some way and returned back to a regular Green Lantern and not some silly creature with near omniscience who can't really do anything effective. I gave Ion a shot, but he's preferrable this way. And since then Tomasi's written of the best Kyle stuff I've seen in a long time.

Blackest Night worries me. I don't think for a second they'll kill Kyle off or even turn him a different color. Hell, I'd lay down money that if every other Green Lantern turns color once during this crossover, Kyle will remain green unless the entire multicolor company turns white at once--in which case he'll go green-white-back to green at the end. I wouldn't be very surprised (but I would be greatly amused) if there was a point where he was actually the Very Last Green Lantern again, after everyone else (including Hal, because there's a good chance he's turning yellow before this thing ends just to give Indigo-1 a headache) has ended up involuntarily switching colors due to all the chaos being thrown around here.

But I'm worried I'm not going to get what I like best out of a Green Lantern crossover here. I'm looking at the storylines in Green Lantern Corps and Blackest Night/Green Lantern, and I see two storylines that aren't going to merge before the climax. The other two? Both Kyle and Hal were set on a collision course from the get-go, because part of the plot was one had to find the other. This one? Hal's gone questing while Kyle defends Oa against the Ex-Girlfriend from Hell (and the other forces of Death and Destruction, but really she's pretty imposing here). Hal's teaming up with other emotionally scarred Silver Age alumni like Carol Ferris and Sinestro in adventure therapy. The climax there is Hal and company getting enough understanding to work together. One that's done, returning to Oa and teaming up with Kyle and Guy will be a formality and part of the resolution. In the other two crossovers, saving one of those two was the climax and everything after that (after Hal's return in Rebirth and Kyle's rescue in SCW) was the formality and part of the resolution.

Really, what I like best about Geoff Johns' Green Lantern crossovers is the Hal and Kyle teamup. We very rarely see these two fight side-by-side apart because that's something saved for special occasions. And it's not the same if its just them in a big battle scene with everyone involved. It's not the same quality of interaction we had in the first two installments of this huge megastory Johns has been writing. As awesome as it is to have Carol back as a major character (and holding her own against Sinestro, and being the wisecracker in the questing party), I'll be a bit disappointed if the mainbook's storyline doesn't merge with Oa's at least in time to get a moment between my two favorites.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

From what was once the cutting edge

Wednesday I got my bundle of comics with Green Lantern Corps #41 in it. It was awesome, and I wanted to blog my reactions but reviews seem rather pointless when the next two chapters of the story come out the day you can do the review. I hate being so far behind. I loved blogging and reading other blogs when I was up to date, but some of the joy is lost in being so far behind. That's why I was never a "wait for the trade" person, because part of the fun in serial storylines is talking with other people about the storyline as the chapters come out.

When it came to comics discussion, I felt like I had to be at the forefront back then. Never was that way with fashion or tech or real life gossip, but I always had to be the first to know which character changed their costume to what and which artist created that monstrosity before anyone else even saw the picture. And if I wasn't the first to see it, by heaven I'd be the first to link the first person who saw it.

That's what made When Fangirls Attack such a good gig for me back when I still had the time. It enabled me to be the one on the cutting edge of the latest major discussion. It was my role. I was the scout who explored the great wide wilderness of the Internet and let the rest of us know what was out there. I took a great deal of joy in it, knowing that people looked at me to know things. I even got resentful at the people who were even just half a step ahead of me when it came to finding links.

It was an extremely pleasant time for me, despite my continual rants. Life happens, though. I found myself no longer able to be in the first wave on the Internet, so I doubled my efforts to be the first to know at the office. I'm now one of the first people the boss asks when he needs to know where a project is. I threw myself into work, and as a result am doing better careerwise than ever before in my life. I might even make Tech this year if I can get into studying.

I don't do things halfway. My writing's almost completely stopped as a result of this focus. Even more sadly, I've drifted away from the people I only connected to because I was part of a community of writers. Everytime I catch up on my RSS feeds I think out it. There's people I used to spend hours talking to on IM or livejournal or blog comments that I only read now. And slowly I trim just a few more people off the reader each month. I've gone from an active participant in a thriving community to a passive participant in a quiet community. And that's not really a bad thing. It's just change.

You always miss the past a bit, especially on long Sunday afternoons when you're catching up on comic books and the lives of old friends.