Comic books are something I have been interested in for a while now. Near the end of 2018, I wrote a paper on inclusivity and representation in the medium. Research for that paper led me to be more curious about the communities of people who read and bond over comic books.
After establishing myself as a regular presence at my local comic book store, Black Cat Comics, I got to know Greg Gage, the owner, and Taylor Hoffman, his employee. The three of us had a few conversations over a couple of weeks about different stories I could write about the community as a whole, but through the lens of one store.
Hoffman and Gage were the best people I could have talked to for this story because, while they both have a vested interest in keeping the store running, they are also huge fans of comics themselves. Our interviews often got sidetracked into mutual tangents about what makes one character so great or why a particular writer did so well with a franchise. Those tangents were what allowed me to get the best quotes that I used for my story.
One anecdote that didn’t make it into my story has stuck out in my mind. Hoffman told a story about how a particular issue of a Superman comic spoke to her on a personal level and it is something that she revisits regularly when she hits hard times. Part of the reason that didn’t make it to the final draft was that she told me this after the main interview had taken place and I wasn’t recording her anymore.
The focus wasn’t super clear until after I spoke with Greg about the story and went home to sit on it for a while. I wanted it to be more than an advertisement for a local shop and something that people who don’t read comic books could enjoy and understand as well.
Growing up, I always wanted to be a comedian. Telling stories and making people happy have always made me feel good about myself.
Shortly after I graduated high school, I enlisted in the US Navy and spent five years as a mass communication specialist. It was a great job that had me working with cameras, radio studios, and in various public affairs settings. While in the Navy, I was stationed in Japan and Guam. While those duty stations are as different as two places can be, I was able to travel all around Southeast Asia, which sparked a love of travel in me. Since getting out of the military, I have traveled to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, and England.
After my contract with the Navy ended, I moved to Salt Lake City. As soon as I moved here, I started my education as an education major at Salt Lake Community College before transferring to the U as a Strategic Communication Major.
After I finish my degree, I’d like to work as a public affairs specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs while doing documentary work on the side.