Early Spring Boards

The slow, cozy days of winter have finally seemed to thaw with an explosion of activity, which has its pros and cons. I’ve never been a fan of being out in winter weather (hence one of reasons for the relocation to the South) but observing it has always been nice. Things get very insular and contemplative, with lots of time for reflection, coziness, and solitude. Of course, living in the South is that winter is more of a “Geez, it’s like…20 outside. But at least the sun is shining” than the “It’s negative 20 with the windchill and the snowdrifts are up to my knees” that I’d had in Chicago so there isn’t much of an excuse to be a homebody.

This February has seen a bunch of activity and I know I’ve felt my own mental and creative energy having an early spring as well. I’m working on focusing in on some key projects that need to be finished and setting my eyes on others for later in the year to take the place of those when they are done. It’s nice to be re-energized and not just like some kind of cave-troll who is scribbling notes on a whiteboard and various journals.

The best way I’ve found to get creatively energized is hitting conventions, talking with other creative folks and fans and talking about the work I’ve got going on. I had my first convention of the year a couple weeks ago at the Huntsville Comic Con and it was a phenomenal experience, made even more so by the fact that it’s the first year for the show. Many new faces seen (and signed up on the mailing list) and talked to and it ended up being one of my best selling and most profitable shows that I’ve been to. I’m looking forward to whatever tweaks and refinements they make to it next year as it can only get better from here. In addition to selling books and meeting folks I also had a chance to share the table with Alexandria Torrejon as well. She wasn’t there on Friday but the prints of her Okami-stylized Eveelutions were a big hit on both days, despite me not really knowing much about the PokeMan and his pets. As she asked about what was selling and drawing the most interest on Friday I found myself hard pressed to answer specific questions. Thankfully, I had a system…

I think it worked out really well.

***

I’ve found myself thoroughly enjoying this new “winter movie season” where fun, blockbustery and not at all “fancy” movies are released. All of the sudden there’s been a veritable smorgasbord of stuff I want to see and last weekend made a point to see Fist Fight, Lego Batman, and A Cure For Wellness and I’d checked out Split the weekend before. All of them were exceptional and Fist Fight managed to very much exceed expectations. I’ve always been a fan of the movie Three O’Clock High, which was a staple of Channel 11 in NYC’s weekend movie broadcasts (others included Clue, Dirty Dancing, Breakfast Club, Return of the Living Dead, and The Jerk…all of which edited for television so seeing the unedited versions later in life was always a surprise), and it certainly had shades of that which was a real delight.

Other things I’m interested in checking out are Get Out (which will certainly be seen today), John Wick 2, Rings, La La Land (okay, it’s an awards season movie but I’m a sucker for musicals), and The Great Wall. I will admit that Great Wall began to slip off my radar but a writer friend said that it was surprisingly good and subverted the “white savior” tropes rather than enforcing them so I’m going to give it a shot before it completely falls away for other must-see fare like Logan and Kong of Skull Island.

Television has been rather captivating as well. Riverdale has been such delightful, addicting, yet spectacular trash. The second season of the Expanse has been an absolute powderkeg of great space-opera ideas and storytelling. I’d missed most of the second season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend but its recent addition to Netflix will lead to some quality bingeing soon.

I’ve taken to podcasting listening as I exercise and The Message and its follow-up/maybe-sequel Life After have been standout favorites. I’m holding on to the last episode of Life After as it I don’t want it to end but I’m very eager to see how it all plays out. That kind of storytelling juxtaposition is always a delight.

The 5th edition D&D campaign I’m running via Roll20 for old friends of mine (which is a sequel to the campaign world I created with them for 2nd ed way back when we were in High School) has been one of my favorite creative endeavors to date and reminds me how much I’d love to take this world we created and push it out into things like comics. I’ve always wondered why fantasy and space opera haven’t been a bigger force in modern comics but maybe that’s something we can work towards.

And in that spirit, let’s get to work.

About The Author

Thacher Cleveland

Thacher E. Cleveland is a contributing writer & columnist for PanelsOnPages.com, co-host of the Super-Fly Comics & Games PodCast, novelist & comic creator. Originally from New Jersey and previously from Yellow Springs, Ohio, he currently lives in Chicago. You can find him on Twitter (@demonweasel), tumblr, his personal website and even on Google+

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02 2017

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