IAN GREENLEIGH

Author | Marketer | Speaker

I help companies turn data, ideas and relationships into reach and influence. 

New Media and The Pursuit of Passion: A Personal Story

Everyone has passions. I’ve got some that undoubtedly seem silly to others, and that’s fine. The point is, I’m following mine, and I’m finding ways of using new media--the same new media everyone’s chirping about--to do this. Damn if it doesn’t feel good.

One of my passions is comic books. Done smirking? Let’s continue. Today, the compendiums of comic art are called “graphic novels” and “trade paper backs”, but there’s no shame in harkening back to the medium’s roots by keeping it simple with “comic books”. The ones I’m into, however, aren’t so comic. I only recently got into them upon finding their dark side. That’s just me. It’s no coincidence that Alan Moore’s masterpiece V for Vendetta started me down this path, while similarly shadowy works like The Dark Knight Returns drew me deeper still. These books are on par with the greats in any other genre, and they merit the accolades they’ve received from within and without industry circles.

Hungry for more, I found Robert Venditti’s The Surrogates on too many “best ever” and ‘Top ___” lists to ignore. I didn’t leave my room until it was finished, to the chagrin of my significant other. The timeliness of the story couldn’t be overlooked, and my mind attempted to answer the questions it raised about technology and society without Venditti ever having to directly ask them.

You know when you fall in love with a work, it consumes you, and you almost feel abandoned afterwards? You might scramble to pick up the sequel, or prequel as was the case with The Surrogates, but sooner or later the journey ends. You’ve so many questions to ask, so many things you want to tell them about how their work became a living, breathing thing for you.

But who are you kidding? You’ll never get to ask those questions; you’ll never get to enter the mind of the figure behind the masterpiece. Or so you think.

New media changes this. Fans, followers, devotees and junkies—we have access to the source of our passions like never before in human history. And that’s no fad.

Believing this, hoping to prove my theory and practice what I preach, I sought out Robert Venditti, the one who had most recently stoked the flames of my passion for comics with The Surrogates. In the old world, this man would be totally, completely off limits. Not only have his books met with phenomenal success and deliriously positive reviews, The Surrogates is now a Bruce freakin’ Willis movie. But in the new world—the New Media World—Robert Venditti has a blog.

I was amazed to see hardly any comments on his posts, which were well written, personal and provocative without exception (biased fandom aside). So I commented. I knew, with almost 100% certainty, that one of the all time greats of the form would be reading it.

This knowledge was enough for me.  I could have relished it, been content with it. But it didn’t end there.

A few days later, I received this email:

Hey Ian-

Just wanted to drop you a quick line and say thanks for the kind words about The Surrogates in your post comment.  I'm humbled to have my book mentioned in the same sentence as the 2 you cited.

Never played BioShock, but I'm toying with the idea of maybe getting a PS3 in the near future, just to see what games are like nowadays.

Take care,

Robert Venditti

I drank it up like I would have if Nolan Ryan had sent me an autographed jersey in the 7th grade. I had reached out for a connection and Venditti was there to receive me. What’s more, he took the time to thank me for my thoughts.

Inspiration and a bit of initiative was all it took to get that much closer to a master of the craft, the one that both ignites my creativity and gets me through my hardest days.

What are your passions? How have you used new media to pursue them, and how do you plan on doing so in the future?

© 2016 Ian Greenleigh