Because Grandpa Joe, who bought me my first comic book, a Detective Comics, Batman facing off against the Riddler...
Because trading comics with my high school buddy Greg. I traded my entire Firestorm run for his complete set of John Ostrander's Suicide Squad and some choice John Romita Jr Daredevils (pretty sure I got the better side of that deal).
Because the 90s, when so many comics were style over substance, and I still managed to find Vertigo, the British Invasion days, and you know who I'm talking about: Gaiman and Moore, Morrison and Milligan, and my hero Warren Ellis (we'll be coming back to him later).
Because when I screwed up my relationships, lost jobs, and the band broke up, I could disappear into Jack Kirby and Frank Miller, Walt Simonson and Denny O'Neil.
Because Comics Fortress in Somerville NJ, who introduced me to Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan, at the exact moment that I needed it most, restoring my faith in both people and the medium I love.
Because when I was far from home, southeast Asia or South America, digital comics were my bridge back home, Aja's Iron Fist and Abnett & Lanning's Marvel Cosmic, and Warren Ellis taking over Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-men, and Ed Brubaker's Captain America saga.
Because, thanks to comics, I can share Chris Nolan's Dark Knight and Marvel Studio's Avengers films with my wife. I can imagine and play and watch and CREATE with my kids.
Thoughtballoons is how I give back.
Because you will never find a writer's circle like this one. This is where we break our teeth. This is where we throw our ideas and see what sticks. We research, plot, write, edit, and by God write again, even if we ask ourselves, "Who the hell is that character?!?" because By GOD Comics! We have to find a mental image for the artist to draw, and dialogue that sounds right to the ear.
Because I want to thank each and every Thoughtballooner that's graced this site, for their craft, their dedication, their critiques, constructive feedback, and most importantly, their friendship.
It's funny, we have all been spread around this crazy earth, and the writers here, I can share the work of a friend with just a click, as if he just passed me his notes from across his desk.
So, thank you, guys. I know this is quite a bit longer than expected. But I want to thank you with all the gratitude in the world for including me in your world.
Take a bow, gents. You deserve it.