In Dark Horse Comics’ The Secret Loves of Geeks, the publisher’s followup to The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, a whole host of creators share stories about love and loss, heartache and hope, and how those tales relate to geek culture and fandom. We spoke with the anthology’s editor Hope Nicholson earlier in the month about how the compilation came together and some of the pieces found therein. Over the next few days, we’ll hear from a few of the book’s contributors and what personal testimonies they’ve added to the collection.

One of those creators is Terry Blas, who is no stranger to to autobiographical work, most notably in You Say Latino. Mr. Blas spoke with me recently about his story “Bear With,” the inspiration behind it, and the process of sharing personal details with the world through art.

FreakSugar: I adored “Bear With” in Dark Horse’s The Secret Loves of Geeks. What can you tell readers about the conceit of your contribution to the anthology?

Terry Blas: My contribution is a story that begins with me dealing with a bad breakup and then putting myself back out there. It also delves into insecurities regarding how other people see us and what we feel we need to be in order to find someone new to date.

FS: Your story seems tailor-made for a compilation like this. How did you become involved with Secret Loves?

TB: I knew the book’s editor. She’s fantastic and she asked me if I would contribute something. So, it was pretty simple.

FS: You’ve done autobiographical work before, notably in You Say Latino. Does your process differ when you work with stories that are real and have happened in your life?

Yeah, working with auto bio stuff is a little different than say, writing a script for a company. Since it’s about me it’s obviously a bit more personal and I feel like I have a little more wiggle room to pick and choose from specific events and points in my life.

FS: Following up on that, is there a particular headspace you have to get into in order to work with those tales?

TB: I guess I have to put myself in a reflective headspace. Remember things how they happened and try to pick up on as many details as possible.

FS: One of the reasons “Bear With” connected with me to such a degree is that I’ve been you at the beginning of the story, reeling and attempting to get through a break-up. Is there any takeaway you’d like readers to have after finishing the story?

TB: The takeaway from my story is to pick yourself up and remember who you are and what you have to offer. It’s definitely not easy to do that after a breakup, but it’s the best thing for you.

FS: I have my own inklings and thoughts, but why do you think a compilation like Secret Loves is so important, especially now?

TB: I think a compilation like this is important so people can see that their struggles with love and connection are not an isolating thing. It’s comforting to see that someone else has gone through what you have and come out better the other side. And also, reading stories about nerd love is just fun.

FS: Do you have any works you’d like to tease that you have coming down the pike?

TB: My debut graphic novel will be released on April 25th. I co-wrote it with Molly Muldoon and the art is by Matthew Seely. It’s called Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom, and it’s being published by Oni Press. I’m also releasing another comic at Emerald City Comic con called Nettles the Witchicorn. I made that with Natalie Nourigat and Benjamin Dewey. We’re really excited to put it out there. I’m also currently writing two other projects that haven’t been announced yet but hopefully they will be soon. I’m very tired. [laughs]

The Secret Loves of Geeks from Dark Horse is available in bookstores everywhere February 27, 2018.

From the official anthology description:

The follow-up to the smash-hit The Secret Loves of Geek Girls,this brand new anthology features comic and prose stories from cartoonists and professional geeks about their most intimate, heartbreaking, and inspiring tales of love, sex, and dating. This volume includes creators of diverse genders, orientations, and cultural backgrounds.

Featuring work by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), Gerard Way (Umbrella Academy), Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind), Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn), Gabby Rivera (America), Hope Larson, (Batgirl), Cecil Castellucci (Soupy Leaves Home), Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet), Marley Zarcone (Shade), Sfe R. Monster (Beyond: A queer comics anthology), Amy Chu (Wonder Woman), cover art by Becky Cloonan (Demo), and more!

Related: Hope Nicholson Talks Love & Life in The Secret Loves of Geeks