“That’s what I like about nerdism and comics; it attracts people from all walks of life. There’s a character for everyone.” – Alex
Despite being 24 years old, Alex has been through a lot. She was thrust into a custody battle between her parents from birth. She lived with her Mom—an easygoing person—until she was eight and then spent the next six years with her father; a strict, religious man who cautioned her about the “sins of the world”. Alex said the experience of living with her father “definitely made me who I am today, but I was miserable during that time”.
At age 14 when her Mom regained custody they moved to Santa Rosa. With no car or financial resources, they were homeless for nearly a year. A local shelter took them in until they secured a place of their own. Alex attended Maria Carrillo High School, but later dropped out. She lied about her age to get a job to earn money while studying for her GED. At 16, she spent two years at a culinary school, but unlike most of her classmates, she didn’t want to be a chef or open a restaurant. She simply loved food and wanted to learn how to prepare it. From being homeless without money to eat, to cooking meals with fresh foods, her life finally began to stabilize.
For the past four years she’s been the manager of Outer Planes Comics and Games in Santa Rosa. Although her busy schedule doesn’t allow for much cooking, she still enjoys it…when she’s not reading comic books that feature strong female characters who don’t need saving. As a child, she naturally gravitated to comics, partly because her father forbid them, calling them “evil”. She discovered that her two loves—art and writing—came together powerfully, and has been an avid comic book reader ever since. She describes comics as books with illustrations on every page that convey exactly what the author wants readers to see, “almost like a movie.”
While comics are still considered pop culture, Alex, a self-described nerd, says the scene is very inclusive. With movies like Batman vs. Superman, there’s been greater exposure. She meets customers from all walks of life and says there’s a comic for everyone, regardless of gender, race, age, or lifestyle preference. An African American couple asked for a recommendation for their 8-year-old daughter and left with Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur, a Marvel comic about a young African American girl who is a super genius destined to change the world. They were thrilled their daughter could relate to the character. “That’s what I like about nerdism and comics; it attracts people from all walks of life. There’s a character for everyone.”
Outer Planes Comics and Games, 519 Mendocino Ave., Suite A, Santa Rosa. Alex works Wednesday through Sundays.