Life Outside Comics
Some readers of this blog may have enjoyed the dozens(seems like hundreds) of comic book-related posts I’ve written over the last year, but I’m sure there are others (a large portion of my family, for instance)who are tiring of the endless examination and discussion of pencilling, inking, feathering, double-page spreads and the like. These folks may be wondering–and rightly so, I might add–if Xan and I ever actually left the house over the last ten or so months while I drew the Number Of The Beast series…

While we didn’t have an especially active year, we did manage a little extracurricular fun. I’ve already written about a few of our rare excursions like seeing The Kids In The Hall and last year’s three or four conventions (oops–those still involve comics…oh, well…), and Xan posted a piece on her continuing guitar lessons and another about a visit with friends in Toronto. We also attended a few weddings–our friends and neighbors Nate and Michelle were married last September, and we just returned from Xan’s cousin Molly’s wedding this past weekend in Milwaukee.

The year has been chock full of family visits as well, with my sister and my parents moving to Ohio and preparing to move to Ohio, respectively. We saw most of one side of Xan’s family at the aforementioned wedding, and while in Milwaukee we also caught up with my Uncle Jim and his family for one thoroughly enjoyable night.

Somehow we managed to spend some time with friends too, with Xan’s childhood pal Sara and her children dropping by for a weekend. Xan’s old college roomates Bret and Steve each made an appearance at some point, as did friend Kevin O’Brien on his way back home to Australia.

Xan and I also made it to a couple of out-of-town concerts: for Xan’s birthday we escaped to Pittsburgh for a Joe Jackson show at the Carnegie Music Hall. Neither of us had seen Joe Jackson before, and with a setlist heavy on the classics performed in
a beautiful venue, we left happy and spent the next day shopping in funky record, book and comic shops in the city. Then in June we zipped down to Maryland in a lightning-quick visit to catch R.E.M. at Merriweather Post Pavilion. As regular readers of the blog know, I’ve spent a large chunk of my life attending R.E.M. concerts, and I’ve seen them twice before at Merriweather(site of many shows for me, including my first ever concert back in the day). Between the band, the location, the nearly-forgotten but not at all missed DC/Baltimore humidity, and a generous serving of tunes from my college days, it could have been 1986 again! Somewhere during the opening of “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” I felt like I was having an out of body experience…maybe that was just exhaustion and the mugginess finally getting the best of me…Anyway, the concert was astounding–Xan says it was the best R.E.M. show she’s seen, and it’s definitely up there in my top five(yikes!). Both concerts were top-notch and lots of fun, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly on what turned out to be my only real time off while working on NOTB.

Speaking of concerts and road trips, Xan is currently in New Jersey with friends Shelley and Mark (who also spent a weekend w
ith us earlier this Summer) as I type this, and they’ll all be seeing 80’s band Yaz in Manhattan sometime tomorrow night. I’ll let her write about that when she gets back.

I’m sure I’ll be back to writing about comic books soon(especially since the final issue o
f NOTB hits stores next week and I’m in the process of starting a few new assignments), but I hope this post was a nice change!

Hats are the order of the day for Sara’s children Vala and Gavin


Joe Jackson in Pittsburgh(left) and R.E.M. in Maryland(with Johnny Marr of
The Smiths joining them for “Fall On Me”)


Dan and Molly, just married(left), and my Uncle Jim in his home studio in Milwaukee, WI

–C

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