Alterna Comics Peter Semeti and the 3 Lees That Saved His Life
Alterna Comics Peter Semeti live chat took the bull by the horns and challenged us all to be better tonight. He challenges us to recognize the bullies are just angry. He challenges us to reflect on what we are putting out there and takes what could and has been something negative into a positive. He brings us back to what the heart of the comic book world truly can be.
In this amazingly candid chat, Peter reveals that he is trying his best. He doesn’t say this. He shows us. As the live chat has gone down 700 people tuned in to the normal 30 member chat to listen to him speak tonight. Supporters Elizabeth and Mitch Breitweiser showed up to support their friend. Given their own experiences, I thought this was beautiful. For those that don’t know, the two have recently had to bow out of their upcoming appearances out of concern for their own safety.
Peter described how they listened and spoke to him the other day during what sounded to be a very dark moment.
It’s in these moments of darkness, people show their true selves. The moments where we have the power to destroy someone or to be better. Be more. Rise above and give of ourselves. It’s clear the couple knows how as does Peter.
Peter began to break down at this point. He describes the fear of his entire business being gone. The creators had begun to take flight. Everything went haywire all at once. Because he had thanked people who had the Comicsgate hashtag and because of the blockbot policy discussed.
He queried at this point: how you stop a stalker in real life? He discussed his own stalker and the six accounts this guy had followed him to. The volatile and racist person went on for months following him everywhere. “Can you block a person in real life who wants to hit you?” He asked. While I never had thought about it before, I was not surprised to hear he had even had death threats over rejected works.
It really should make all of us think. Is Comicsgate the issue or are people the issue? Good comics and diversity are important. Not one or the other. We should be able to hold opposing views on the matter or varying opinions without threats of violence or cyberbullying. This guy, Peter, poured his entire heart and soul out. He discussed wanting to focus on the positive. Shortly after, it became apparent why.
I got to witness the single most beautiful thing I have seen in a long time (and I am blessed enough to see many). Peter offered sympathy, pity, and compassion to these people who had hurt him. In his moment of pain, he put his own to the side and focused on someone else’s and ones that had been the cause of this pain.
“I’ve met your kind before, on the playground, on the way home from school. I know you hurt, I know you’re miserable, I know your anger and pain comes from a place of hurt. I know what that hurt feels like. ”
“I’m the avatar for everything you hate and someone else will be tomorrow. ” He continued. He discusses being dehumanized at this point and how much easier it is to hurt someone when they are no longer a person with a family, love, a life. And then shares his own story.
When Peter was 17 years old, he had a bad relationship that ended poorly. Deeply in love, it hit him horribly hard. His odd home life was difficult and all of it led to a bad position. One day it became too much and he swallowed as many pills as he could find. He put a bag over his head and waited to pass out. The bag had some holes somewhere in it and after a period of time, it simply did not work. In his weird self-described delirium, he threw up the pills and realized he was not supposed to die.
The story continues, he looked up at his Spider-Man poster and felt like he’d let him down. This beautiful man sharing tearfully the most intimate of moments a person can have, the outpouring of support from those listening and his connection to this community- this is comics. This is the legacy we want for our community.
Reach way back and think about the words, superheroes, illustrations you connected with. Think about immersing yourself in a book filled with the most fantastical existences and the first time one of those heroes became your absolute favorite. Those few people that got what you were talking about in your LCBS and why you loved it. It doesn’t matter what side you are on for Comicsgate, what matters is what every single person who loves comics shares. A love of comics. That is what bonds us. The sooner it is realized, the better.
There is room for differing stances, labels, approaches. It’s a free market. That is a beautiful thing. We don’t have to agree with one another, let’s just agree we all love comics and we are all human.
Racism and bigotry are never acceptable nor is going hard left. If you are going to be an SJW, it cannot just be for one side. That means social justice for all. It means everyone. What kind of superhero decided that because a character was unlikeable, they would not be saved?
Thorough reading on psychology and the three Lee’s are what Peter attributes his recovery from his suicide attempt and moving forward from it. Stan Lee, Jim Lee and Bruce Lee. I happen to think he may be onto something with this trinity of Lees. Wisdom and/ or beauty is demonstrated by all. I hope he starts counting himself in this group of inspirations as after listening now, I consider him one.