A Geek’s Guide to Surviving Broken Bits and Winter Blues

I am currently in the midst of my first New York winter after moving to Brooklyn, New York from the warm and sunny Santa Cruz, California. Being a rookie to these harsh winter conditions, I recently made the mistake of not looking out for black ice while walking down the street and ended up with a broken ankle. Broken bits aside, the chilly season can also bring about broken hearts, illnesses and the winter blues, all of which could have you locked up inside your home for an extended period of time. Having personally gone through the trials and tribulations of poorly planned bedside activities, I have since created a system to keeping me sane while stuck in the house.  Listed below are some tips and tricks to help geeks get through the winter season, whatever the symptoms. 


1) Be safe and smart: 

While we all wish to have Wolverine's healing factor, none of us do. In the end, we are all fallible human beings that are prone to physical or emotional aliments. So, during this cold winter season as you embark upon your weekly venture to the local comic shop, or other errands about town, remember to bundle up and dress appropriately. Also, power up with your daily dose of vitamins and eat healthy as hearty and balanced meals can aid in the recovery of any physical or emotional pains. And, most importantly, if you live in a city with snow – look out for black ice in the roadways. 


2) Dive into a new series: 

Since you've got all this time on your hands, now would be a good time to escape into a new, long and traded, series. First, I would recommend picking a title that is complete and traded, because with this you can start and finish something while you are on the mend or maybe it's the time to pick-up that long since forgotten read that got you into comics in the first place. Another useful way to spend your time would be to explore foreign territory – universes, genres or comic mediums. For me personally being primarily a Marvel kid, I've taken a considerable amount of time going through some of the essential DC titles that friends have recommended (and lent to me). Another strong approach would be to surrender the cape and cowl and explore the realm of independent and alternative press. Recommendations: Alan Moore/Rick Veitch's Swamp Thing, Garth Ennis's Preacher, Grant Morrison's Final Crisis, Brian K. Vaughn's Y: The Last Man, Neil Gaiman's Sandman (followed by Mike Carey's Lucifer), Dash Shaw's Bottomless Bellybutton, Nate Powell's Swallow Me Whole, Jeff Lemire's Essex County or take a crack at getting through all the trades of John Constantine: Hellblazer in order. 

3) Tight on money? 

If you find yourself tight on money, unable to get to the store for new reads or can't borrow any from a friend, know there is the magical and FREE world of web comics, comic blogs and online art journals – and all you need is an internet connection! You should take this time to navigate through the expansive medium of online comics and their abundant offerings. No matter what you fancy, there is always something for you in the medium as it offers a variety of genres that range in length from one panel to an endless amount of pages while also acting as a platform for writers and artists to become the industry's future stars. Need help finding where to start? First, there are a number of names or comics that might seem familiar, whether its a recognizable booth from a convention, like Penny Arcade, or a writer/artist who's contributed work for bigger companies like Kate Beaton and her personal blog of historical comedies at Hark! A Vagrant. Also, I recently came across Steve Wolfhard's Portrait-Dex where he's asked cartoonists and comic artist to create portraits of themselves as Pokemon, so once you've found an artist you're drawn to you have easy access to their website, comic or blog. Further recommendations: Ryan Pequin's hilarious mini-comics at Three Word Phrase, the beautiful art of Jamaica Dyer's Weird Fishes (right) or use The Webcomic List that informs you on all the web comics recently updated. 


4) Be creative! 

While lounging about with a book, movie or TV program all day is nice and relaxing, it doesn't demand a lot of activity from the brain. Add several more days and nights of loafing about your apartment, the contents contained in your skull might get a little mushy. So, use your time wisely and give your brain a couple hours a day with creative productivity. Spend some time writing or drawing a comic, start a new short story, develop your photoshop design skills – nonetheless, it's very important to keep your brain stimulated. And while we're not all attendees of art school and wield a pen like a ninja with a sword, practice of the art does improve your skills – develop by drawing hands, facial expressions or animals! On top of it all, I am sure our in-house science guru, Ryan Haupt, would have claims and sources regarding the importance of brain stimulation via the creative process if he wasn't so busy making more science.  


5) Become a bigger fanboy/girl: 

If writing, drawing or design isn't your cup of tea then spend some time tinkering with the internet, like building yourself a new blog, tumblr or take siege upon various geek site's message boards to develop and promote your cyber persona. On your new personal site gather some time to re-imagine certain aspects of your favored comic universes. By suggestion via Josh, create the ultimate winter seasonal Avengers team – Iron Man is rubbish as his joints would freeze, but Thor, Storm and Iceman seem like good candidates (for the record, I also thought Wolverine & Northstar would work – I just didn't want to be too X heavy in all my suggestions). Voice your opinion because your voice is important and a strong attribute when you're bedridden. 

For those that are my broken and blues ridden brothers in arms, my main point is to stay strong! Before you know it the convention season will be in full swing and we'll be mended. Just remember to keep your heads up, spirits high and faces buried in comics. 



Austin  considered a life of crippled crime fighting with his crutches but quickly realized his crutches have little-to-no defense against his new nemesis – black ice. 


  1. Great Article Austin, and thanks for the reccos on webcomics. I tell myself all the time that i will find some and read, but never do. this will be a great start.

    and sorry about your ankle!

  2. good ideas, especially #4. I like most of your alternative press recommendations, but Final Crisis?

  3. “Tight on money?” As a student, believe me I know about that. Luckily My local libraries are very well stocked with classic gold and silver age material as well as the most recent trades. So dont forget libraries:)

  4. #4 wins!

    I designed a board game about superheros and am currently working on a text based tactical rpg with a computer coding friend of mine. 🙂

  5. Its the middle of a very hot summer here down in australia, but thanks for the tips anyway 🙂

  6. I live in New York too, and have been doing a lot more reading. I did get to go to my hometown Miami for two weeks which made things better and worse at the same time.