Self Help

BJ Mendelson, SUNY Potsdam graduate, finishes new self-help comic book

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POTSDAM — In the past, B.J. Mendelson wrote books about social media and guides to how companies such as Facebook use user data. Then he had a heart attack. He said he had enjoyed writing books but wanted a change.

“It wasn’t what I wanted to be remembered for,” Mr. Mendelson said.

Mr. Mendelson, who graduated from SUNY Potsdam in 2006, is the author of two books — “Social Media Is Bulls—t” and “Privacy: And How to Get It Back” — as well as two comic books — “Vengeance, Nevada” and “A National Story of Minor Significance.”

“Social Media is Bulls—t,” published by St. Martin’s Press, was his first title to bring him any sort of fame.

“It was known in the audience it was meant to be known in,” Mr. Mendelson said.

He was invited onto TV and web shows to discuss the use of social media in society, as well as its dangers.

But his latest comic book, “A National Story of Minor Significance,” he hopes will throw him into the world of comics, an ocean he’s already dipped his toes in with his first comic series, “Vengeance, Nevada.”

In 2014, Mr. Mendelson got together with artist Piotr Czaplarski. The two started work on a project that would be a test for future works on their compatibility.

“I said, ‘let’s put out a book for fun and work out all the kinks,” Mr. Mendelson said.

Satisfied with the final product, they started work on “A National Story of Minor Significance.”

It’s a self-help comic that is humorous, yet informative. For Mr. Mendelson, who suffers from depression, the stories told in the series will provide comfort to others who suffer from depression.

“It could help people, make people laugh, and show them that they’re not alone,” he said.

The comic will also provide relief in a time of anxiety, as societal discourse has grown tumultuous, and give advice as to how to not simply react to things, and how to let go of the past.

Each series will follow a series of stories from his life and his family’s.

The first issue takes place mostly in his mind. The second will revolve around the time when his family was sued by now President Donald J. Trump, while staying in his hotel. Another will return to SUNY Potsdam and look at how he set up a scholarship known as the Oscar Cohen Memorial Scholarship.

Mr. Mendelson hopes the series will last through 2020, but says that will rely on people’s reaction to the first issue, which can be found on comixology.com for 99 cents.

The gist of it

■ WHO: B.J. Mendelson is an author of two books, two comic books.

■ WHAT: Finished his latest project, “A National Story of Minor Significance,” a comic book that looks back at his life, as well as that of his parents.

■ WHY: To bring comfort to those reading it who normally feel alone and depressed. It also offers advice as to how to let go of the past.

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