I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago (Downers Grove, to be exact) during the 1970s and 80s. I was lucky to be young when I was; I lived near the edge of the suburban frontier, so I can still remember the open land we'd "explore" before it was paved over by strip malls. My family was Catholic and Italian-American, and I spent most of my time dreading church and CCD, playing Dungeons & Dragons, watching too many movies and too much TV, and losing myself in book (comic and otherwise). I was brought up to root for perennial underdogs like the Bears, Cubs, and Illini. Ever the loyal fan, I left for the University of Illinois in the fall of 1985. I graduated in 1989 with a degree in English and writing, and I worked for two years in the corporate sector. I knew that I was just biding my time until I could do what I really wanted to do: get my Ph.D. in English and teach college.
So, in the summer of 1991, I left Chicago and headed to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. I spent the next six years there as I completed my Ph.D. Along the way I cultivated my interests in comic books, contemporary literature, and movies. Somehow, I found the time to work as a film critic for the Bloomington Herald-Times.
I came to Palomar in the fall of 1997, and missing the very bike-centric Bloomington, I bought a bicycle (an old Trek) and used it to commute to and from work every day. I loved my job from the start and received tenure in 2001. My courses vary by semester, but they are always interesting (or at least that's my hope). In terms of my teaching and research interests, my main focus has been on creative writing and comics/graphic novels. All things comics on this site can be found here, and information on what I've written--my book and various articles--can be found here.
In 2003, I was diagnosed with cancer. I spent most of the summer in chemotherapy, and most of the time after that living the truth of Robert Frost's words that "way leads on to way." My way eventually led to my bike and the road; in the summer of 2010, I set out, alone, on my bicycle from Ocean Beach, California, and two months later I wound up at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I kept a blog while on my journey, which you can find here. My new writing project, which I'm close to finishing, is a memoir/travelogue about that ride, my cancer, and other events in my life.
Although my teaching and writing have been very rewarding, my proudest accomplishment is to be the father of two wonderful sons. They keep me plenty busy, especially that they're now both teenagers.