In my previous post I talked about the importance of community — it is central to proper understanding of ethics, and as such it is essential to a fan life well-lived. As an influx of new people explore the comics universe, the risk of losing sight of what connects us beyond passive viewing increases and the importance of learning from our history only grows.
That’s why Jackie Estrada’s Comic Book People is so vital – and if you’re at San Diego Comic-Con, you can get the hot-off-the-Kickstarter second volume at the Exhibit A Press booth, #1909 (aisle 1900, near the Lobby B2 entrance).
If you’re new to comic-cons there might be a temptation to think that books filled with photos of people from the ’70s and ’80s (vol. 1) and ’90s (vol. 2) are just for people who went to conventions back then, but as Don Draper would say, this isn’t nostalgia; it’s a time machine. The genius of these books is that you are in many ways their target audience — in addition to names and photos, Comic Book People explains who these people are and why they are important. Not only will this help you discover stories you might have otherwise missed, but they show you a world-shaping network as it grows. These folks built a global pop-culture empire that made billions and changed lives, inspiring an intensity of personal connection that rivals if not transcends that found in other art. Know them and you’ll understand the world you’ve just entered; follow their example and you’ll create a world that today exists only in dreams.