A path to Geekdom through my Grandfather
My Grandfather: Dwight Lane Alexander who I lost this past New Years Eve has influenced me in a number of ways spiritually, morally, even up to the sport teams I pull for. However one of his major influences was the passion for geek properties that he shared with me growing up. As both my parents worked a lot when I was younger, my Grandpa quickly became my first best friend.
During the countless hours, days, and years spent at his house when it was not football season, he began to share with me some of the other loves’ of his life. He was the first to introduce me to Batman through re-runs of the classic Batman 66 Adam West and Burt Ward TV show, I can remember just sitting on his lap as a small child through all the biffs and pows like it was yesterday. Not only that, he was the one that introduced me to Star Wars for the first time, as I can remember vividly him showing me a New Hope on one of the remastered Star Wars VHS tapes one Sunday after church.
As I grew older and continued to love things like Superheroes and Star Wars. My Grandfather began to share stories with me of his youth like, when he would go up to the local drug store and stack up on classic Golden Age and Silver Age DC comics for five to ten cents a piece that he often read while enjoying a classic coke. When he first told me this I pictured him as a young boy, but come to find out he continued this tradition from the age of about six all the way up until he was out of high school. Sadly his massive collection of classic comics were ruined by water damage, I often wondered what it would be like to have the monetary value of those Golden and Silver age books, but the stories my grandfather shared about growing up reading them were just as valuable.
All the way up until my Grandfather became very sick I begin to share newer geek properties with him the way he had with me, as we went to see all of the Raimi Spider-man and Nolan Batman films together in theaters. I can vividly remember leaving the comic book shop on Wednesdays, and often the first place I would stop was by was my grandparents home to show him my haul, only to find him shocked by the fact that the average book cost $4.00.
As I began to contribute to GWW and write reviews and co-host podcasts, I remember him smiling with pride. As he watched and listened to many of our podcast’s he said it took him back to his days as a ham radio operator and he was amazed by the fact that I was talking to people all over the world about comics on a weekly basis. The day before he died, as he laid on his deathbed, alert, but peaceful and responsive. I asked him out of all the things we watched together growing up what was his favorite. As I listed just about every geek property imaginable, expecting him to confirm it as Batman. However when I said Star Wars, even though he was too weak to speak the biggest smile came across his face, I will always be sad by the fact he just missed being able to be well enough to see The Force Awakens.
Many of the GWW family, readers, and podcast listeners may have wondered why I stepped away from the company this past fall. While many joked it was due to football season, few like our founder: Joe and our comics editor: Casey knew it was due to anxiety I felt from grandfather’s sickness and pending loss. While his loss has been the hardest thing I’ve personally been through because he was like a second father to me. I know he would want me to continue to talk about the things we all love and that he loved.