Archive for April, 2003
Two nights ago, I was working on an illustration. As late evening became early morning, I put my pen down and went to bed. I lied in bed thinking about the drawing and about getting up and continuing my work on the piece. So, I got out of bed and went back to my drawing table. I proceeded to completely botch the illustration.
Yesterday, I thought about that catastrophe all day while I was at work. I got home at 6:30. Somewhere around 7:00, I sat down at my drawing table again and started redrawing that illustration. I don’t think that I drew a single line that I was unhappy with, and I wrapped it up around midnight feeling very satisfied.
From one day to the next; I can’t explain it…
Making the Best of a Bad Situation.
I had an idea. I probably won’t be able to do anything with the idea, so I thought that I might share it with all of you. It’s more of a plot device, I suppose. Plus, it’s probably not anything that somebody hasn’t thought of already.
Mixed in with the war news, I heard a report about the Baghdad Museum being looted and many, many ancient artifacts being hauled away by nefarious ne’er-do-wells. The curator of the museum mentioned in the report that the speed with which the museum was emptied out seemed calculated. Imagine, black marketeers standing behind a sort of tenuous velvet rope, just waiting for the big, American bouncer to give them the go-ahead. I think that’s a GREAT beginning for an Indiana Jones-type of adventure! So, these thieves, who, of course, were hired by an international scoundrel, race into the museum and take, perhaps, some ancient key to unlocking a sinister evil buried there, in the cradle of civilization…
Ancient treasures being pilfered for reasons as of yet unknown. Can’t make this stuff up!
The Onion: Funniest Publication Ever!
But I’m sure most of you already knew that. Absolutely biting political and social satire. And the other thing I love about it is that the writers and editors are so in tune with the mind of your average comic book/gamer/sci-fi geek. Probably because most of them are comic book/gamer/sci-fi geeks themselves.
Here’s a link to one of my all-time favorite “Opinion” columns from The Onion: When You Are Ready To Have A Serious Conversation About Green Lantern, You Have My E-Mail Address. I can guarantee you’ve all know/talked to a comic book fan like this guy at some point! A little taste to whet your appetite:
“I mean, if you are hot for Jade or something, you could simply say so, and no one would think the less of you for it. But don’t couch your opinions in a false respect for Phase III Green Lantern that supersedes any enjoyment of the Silver Age. You might as well read Aquaman if you’re going to act like that.”
You can’t look at a comics news website without running across half a dozen articles about the relaunch of Marvel’s new/old imprint. But the part that still has me confused is this: they want to see a full script for the entire first issue of a proposed series. Not a high concept summary. Not a synopsis. A full script.
Don’t get me wrong, I can understand them wanting to be sure submissions coming in are from writers who actually understand the comic book form and have the drive and determination to write an entire script instead of scribbling down “my series is about how cool it would be if The Hulk got the Silver Surfer’s powers and turned metallic and stuff”. But just think about what this means for the 2 (that’s right, two) editors who are charged with reviewing the hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals that will be pouring in once the submissions floodgates are opened.
Do you want to be one of those editors? Have you ever read a comic book script? It’s not like reading a short story or an essay or even a novel. It’s a tedious read.
So is this really the best way to “discover” up-and-coming talent? Would you rather spend a minute reading the hypothetical “Hulk goes cosmic surfing” synopsis to see if you’d even be interested in seeing it in script format, or spend a good 20 minutes reading the full script just to find out the whole focus of the series seems to be getting the Hulk up into space coldcock Galactus. Now imagine of you had a stack of 500 of these things to read.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just stupid and don’t understand the brilliance of Quemas when it comes to publishing. But damn if the Epic submission process doesn’t sound bass-ackwards to me.
Our past greats are crumbling on the bookshelf
I had a horrible thought the other day. It came to me as I remembered seeing one of the old time comic artists at a convention. It was a sad feeling that he was past his prime and that all his best stuff was behind him. That’s not such a bad thing everybody loses their stuff eventually, but when you make it to the veteran age you can take solice in the fact that you had a great run or you where the no. one artist on a certain title. Your work will live on and on for generations. This would work out fine if you work in some other medium, but in the comics medium the old work isn’t going to last. The paper the old comics are printed on is little better than newsprint and is yellowing and falling apart by the day. With no new reprints coming out the veteran who gave his all has to now end his days knowing that his work is slipping away and no one will remember. We need a new organization that reprints the old work and keeps it alive. Or one day that great thing your working on now will only be a bright flash and fade away.
Bottom of the Stack
SPACE was three days ago and I’m still only halfway through the phat stack of comix I picked up. That’s a good thing.
And what a stack it is — the box I took to the show is about two-thirds full of them. I reckon I spent less than $15 in actual currency on books, getting the rest by trading issues of the Nightchild and Panel. That’s like getting them at wholesale, kittens. Can’t beat that with a stick.
So far, it’s been an interesting mix of the good, the bad and the not-quite-there. I enjoyed “Last Laugh,” a surreal and evocative tale hampered only by its sub-Tony Goins-caliber art. I enjoyed “Street Angel,” a well-drawn tale hampered only by its sub-PowerPuff Girl-caliber story. And “The Wang” was so damned wrong it made “Arsenic Lullaby” look like Pam Bliss. I liked it a lot.
One of the most charming near-misses is “Dead End,” which is well-paced, features some good character development and grapples with some Big Ideas. The eight-page structure makes each individual issue seem incomplete, but after reading several at a sitting, the overall impression is good. But it’s hobbled by its premise, which is “Man with blue skin and wierd nose leads group of funny superheroes.”
Reading through the stack, I notice I need to pick up my game. The percentage of Xeroxed books goes down every year, and I think it’s time to go cardstock, if not glossy. And reading “Dead End” has convinced me the eight-page format may actually be a “dead end.” It’s time to consider 12 pages, if not 16.
I’m looking forward to the bottom half of the pile — I put the known quantities down there. I still have “Askari Hodari,” “The Ineffables,” “Stories of Kiwi” and “Null & Void” to look forward to, all favorites from past SPACEs.
Next year, I’m including “The Wang” and “Last Laugh” at the bottom of the stack — and hopefully I’ll figure a way to get my books to the bottom of someone else’s stack.
Ugh. I’m tired. Really tired. Been up late every night this week getting stuff done for SPACE (Small Press and Alternative Comix Expo). Printing books. Folding books. Stapling books. (By the way, big ups to Steve and Tony for help with putting the BigCityBlues preview book together!) Anyway, I’m too tired to write something coherent, but I figured I should put in an appearance on the blog since my fellow PANEL members Tony and Sean are already off to a great start….
More to come later this weekend. SPACE news, Ferret Press news, Gallery Hop news. It’s all good.
Till then, stay away from the bad comics and call your mom to tell her you love her. Even if she threw out your comics collection when you went off to college.
My wife is in the library program at Kent State and got this message over their listserv. If you’ve already heard about it, sorry for repeating.
For anyone interested in comics, manga (Japanese comics), popular culture, Scott McCloud as a human, or just an undoubtedly great lecture:
Scott McCloud, whose works include the comic series ZOT! and the non-fiction books UNDERSTANDING COMICS and REINVENTING COMICS, will be lecturing at the Wexner Center, Monday, May 5. This is part of the Cartoon Research Library’s current exhibit, “Happy Birthday, Atom: Celebrating Tezuka’s Astro Boy.” For a complete listing of exhibit events and lectures, follow this link: http://www.lib.ohio-state.edu/cgaweb/Atomsched.htm. Also, please don’t think I’m lessening the importance of other lecturers — Scott McCloud is a big name in (and out of) the comics industry, and is likely to be the biggest draw. Hence this email. And though I sincerely doubt McCloud will discuss libraries at all, librarians and future librarians will certainly benefit from discussion of this genre (manga) and medium (comics), as the format is already represented in U.S. libraries and is slowly but inexorably becoming more important in collections and collection development.
Lecture: “You Are Here — Reader Engagement in Japanese Comics”
Date: May 5 (Monday), 4-6:30 pm
Location: Wexner Center Theater, 1871 N. High Street
Reception and exhibit viewing: 5:00-6:30, Cartoon Research Library,
27 West 17th Ave. Mall (Exhibit will remain open until 6:30 pm)
What is Panel?
Panel is about realizing it doesn’t matter if you have a fully realized universe all plotted out in your head. Nothing matters until you put ink to paper.
Panel rolls into the show 12 deep, knocks over other creators’ tables, and lights its cigar off old copies of Youngblood #0 it picked up in the 10-cent bin.
Panel is a self-governing collective of aspiring comix creators in Central Ohio. Panel has no bylaws and no dues. It meets every second Tuesday.
Panel is about sucking it up when your fellow members say your shiny new script reads like the lost episode of the A-Team. Panel knows pain makes you better.
Panel began as a flier at the Laughing Ogre comic shop, and now has about a dozen members. Some members are professional creators, some aren’t. That’s OK.
Panel loves you and wants what’s best for you. Join Panel.