To My Friend by Jerry Whitworth
When I was a kid, for the most part, I was the only person I knew really into comics. Occasionally, I’d run into someone else who read them but it was a fairly solitary existence. My world changed in 2003 when I bought my first computer. I worked at a retail store and rather than a Christmas bonus, they gave you a slip you could use to get 10% off any one item in the store. I used mine for a computer I put on layaway and had a family member help me bring it home because my parents didn’t have a car at the time. Getting online, I found a horde of websites about comic book knowledge like DCU Guide, DC Cosmic Teams, Heroic Images, and the Captain’s Unofficial Justice League Homepage. These sites gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of comics without buying longbox after longbox of comics as I had before. At some point, I befriended Jason Kirk of the Captain’s site and I became a contributor from character profiles to his listing of cinematic appearances of characters to desktop wallpapers. I produced so many background images, Jason made a mini-site called the JLA Desktop and, to supplement it, I created a Yahoo! group called the JLA Micro Desktop. It was through this group I met Glenn Walker. While the group was primarily about images, we also had debates about current comics and past comics. In my thorough research of the medium, people viewed me as some sort of comic historian and thought I was twice my age. Glenn was a frequent contributor to our discussions and he became one of my first online friends before things like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter existed. Over the course of running the group, JLA/Avengers began publication and I decided to host a tournament on the group. People would secretly vote among match-ups I set up and I announced the winner via stories I wrote about the fight. While I was published before for two essays I wrote about my life growing up in Philadelphia and had character profiles on the Captain’s site, these stories I told about these bouts were my first fictional tales that I shared with anyone. Everyone was a fan of these short stories but perhaps none more so than Glenn. He loved them. He wanted more of them. He wanted me to write for a living so he could read these stories that came out of my head. He may have been the biggest advocate I ever had in my life to write.