Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful on Thanksgiving and Everyday

Today being Thanksgiving is a perfect day for me to share with everyone the things that I am thankful for in my life, but the following are things that I am thankful for every day.

Comic books. This may seem like a strange, superficial thing to be the first thing I mention as being thankful for, but besides my almost lifelong love of this medium (since 1975!!), if comic books hadn't entered my life, I wouldn't have the wonderful comic store I've now owned for eighteen years, through which I've met my wife (back in 1995) and many, many friends, both close friends and people I get to see fairly regularly from their visits to my store. 

Kate. I've know Kate since 1995 and we've been married since 1997, so that's fifteen wonderful years this December. I love waking up knowing Kate is my partner in my life, talking to her after our work days, and just getting to share the many experiences (and places) we've had. I also love her family and am grateful that they're in my life. 

My friends. I have close friends and patrons of Alternate Reality Comics that I think of as my friends. I would be a pale shadow of myself in the absence of all of my friends. While I may not remember all of the experiences / exchanges I've had with my friends, all of these life moments have made me who I am today and I hope that in the future there's a way to unlock all of these memories because they would make for a wonderful book or video reel (albeit a rather long one!). I do lament not having more time to spend more time with my friends. I'm thankful for my friends I only see at my store for their visits and dialogues with me and letting me be a part of their lives. 

My cats. I love all animals, but especially cats. Presently we have three cats, Alucard, Moto, and Sky and they all have their own unique character traits, I'd love to be able to exchange brain waves with them for a day to understand things from their perspective. I miss Maleficent and Pixie, two of our cats that died but I'm thankful that we had time together. 

Alternate Reality Comics. I love my store and am so thankful for everyone, past, present and future who have visited my store, talked to me, have come to my events, and are providing great homes to the many wonderful comics and graphic novels that Alternate Reality Comics has had the privilege of stocking. I am so fortunate to have my occupation involve the main passion (comic books) of my life and that I get to share all the wonderful stories and art this medium has with so many friends / people. After eighteen years, I still very much look forward to opening the doors to my store and getting to talk and sell comic books. Uber thanks to everyone who shares my love of these magical things we call comic books, especially to those of you who get their fix at Alternate Reality Comics, and to everyone who has given me generous feedback on the evolution of the store. 

My helper bees at Alternate Reality Comics, who are also great friends of mine, Jim, Paul, and Michelle. Jim has really fine tuned the store in ways that would take way too long for me to enumerate, especially since I moved the store to its present location two and a half years ago. Paul, is the store's Sunday captain and has been with the store for years, and has also been a big part of the character / identity that Alternate Reality Comics has. I call Michelle, my store's resident artist because she's done many projects around the store that have really helped define the visual look of Alternate Reality Comics. I'm also thankful for Ron Horsley, my other store artist, who has over the years drawn many wonderful versions of Epstein, my store mascot, that people can see all around the store. Ron has also designed my website and many other outreach visual things I use to promote the store. 

The comic book industry. HUGE thanks to all of the creative people who make the comics and graphic novels we all love possible. Thanks to everyone else involved in the production of comics, including editors, publishers, printers, and distributors for getting these volumes into my store and into my friend's collections. 

Las Vegas. Many of you probably don't know the following, but I haven't always loved Las Vegas. I just moved here originally back in 1980 because I'd lived here for a few years previously and couldn't think of somewhere else to live when my family moved here (nor did I have the means then). It really wasn't until a few years ago, when I was on a trip elsewhere, that I had an epiphany about what a magical place Las Vegas really is. Certainly Las Vegas could still use some improvements, but here's some of the things that I'm thankful for Las Vegas for: The emerging Las Vegas comic book community. We have many great comic book stores now in Las Vegas (and I'm fortunate to be friends with many of them and to have learned from what their stores bring to the greater Las Vegas Valley) and I thank those of you who come to my store with this in mind. For five years now we've had the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival at the Clark County Library and this has been a big big part of the development of the Las Vegas comic community, along with this year's excellent Las Vegas Comic Book Expo, which looks to definitely become a recurring convention for Las Vegas fandom. The Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities, for all of the charitable events they've done at my store and around the valley, their unique ways of molding the Vegas comic community has really been a joy to be a part of. Brieanna and Heath are also great ambassadors of the Vegas comic book community and I look forward to being a part of more of Brieanna's events in the future (we have one coming up in the store Saturday, December 8th). Las Vegas also has a greatly emerging local art scene, with First Friday having celebrated its tenth anniversary a couple of months ago and is getting better and better. Vegas now has many more free events in addition to the big entertainment options people flock to our city to experience as well as many first class restaurants that offer many options (including many vegan choices) and there really are a lot of places that do this at reasonable prices. And while I love the many trees and floral of the Northwest and Northeast, I've come to appreciate and be thankful for the beauty our desert environments have, such as Red Rock, Valley of Fire, and my own little haven for getting out of the city, the Wetlands (which is just off of Tropicana and Boulder Highway, so really isn't out of the city, but if you go there, you'll be in another world). 

Again, thank you to all of my friends for being my friends, to everyone who has visited Alternate Reality Comics, and to everyone who reads Ich Liebe Comics! (I apologize for being really lackluster in my posts here this year, but I'm looking to change this state of things in the near future - part of my reasons involve the changes at blogspot).


Rick Tucker said...

I too grew to love Vegas and you and Blake are a big reason for me coming to love the place (damn near killed me when I had to leave). Thanks for your friendship, help and service over the last 18 years.

Ralph Mathieu said...

Thanks for the kind words, buddy!