December 19th, 2003

smokin'

The holiday season is at my throat

I'm not getting much of anything done between the holidays, occasional snowfalls, family commitments and affairs (my grandfather turns a sickly 90 in a few days, among other things), and just plain feeling physically out of it. I'm adjusting to some new medication which makes me a little wonkafella, but I'm "evening" out on it after being on it for a while. I think it's working. I don't know.

I'm in a better mood nowadays but I still can't seem to get anything done. I play poker on the computer and read a lot. Getting a lot of reading done...Cameron Crowe's "Conversations with (Billy) Wilder", skeptic Michael Shermer's "Why People Believe Weird Things", a Milt Gross book Sarah got me a while back, "The Dark Descent" (a phonebook-sized horror anthology from the '80's with some nifty 19th century stories, two killer Shirley Jackson stories, among others), the Wally Wood book TwoMorrows put out, The Sweet Smell of Success screenplay, "The Woods are Dark" by Mr. Crazy-Ass Richard Laymon, Jean Sheperd's "The Ferrari in the Bedroom", a bunch of old EC comics, some Little Lulu comics, manga (GYO, the last few volumes of Kodocha that Sarah worked on, the Kindaichi Files). It's nice, for a change, to be able to get some reading done, but it would be nicer if I could balance that with more work. Usually the holidays are a tough time to focus so I'm not worked up about it. I am getting work done on the Hellboy art, the layouts are nearly all worked out and I've compiled most of my reference and have started some pages. I think it'll be an okay strip, I just need to get things done faster, especially as I am supposed to start the script for issue #3 of the DC series I apparently will never be allowed to talk about. The artist I'm working with spilled the beans about our doing something for DC (in a fanzine), but apparently nobody noticed or cared. Are all my commercial projects doomed? Stay tuned. Anyway, we may be getting a very interesting inker on board in the next few days, if so, this should be, well...interesting. But doomed, I'm sure.

I've also got some stuff to do for Nickelodeon Magazine, and some odd project involving toy designs (it's a non-commercial gig, doing designs for an art/gallery-type show, more or less). I've also been asked to work up something specific for Mad, no guarantee they'll take it, but they want me to rough out one of the ideas from my pitches. In any case, I'm going to keep pitching stuff when I can and see if anything gets sold. I think the bit I came up with is running in the next month or so, in the new "Fundalini" section. Fundalini. Yeah. Well, I didn't name it. We just finished up some spot illos for a Nick magazine called Nicktoons or something like that, and I might place some reprints in a Norwegian magazine, of all things. I haven't been too successful in getting my stuff picked up by any foreign publishers, other than Deadline in the U.K., it's been pretty dry (some publishers have told me the specific pop culture references in much of my work makes the material a difficult sell. I can see that. Then again, maybe they just don't like the work). Recently I've placed some old strips in Spain's El Vibora magazine, so, if the Norway thing goes through that would be pretty nifty, I've always wanted to see my stuff translated in other countries. It doesn't make much scratch, but it's a really nice feeling to know that a few people on the other side of the world might see your stuff.

Otherwise, nothing much is going on. Shopping for the holidays has been a nightmare because this year I've been late in getting friends birthday gifts, so I pledged to double up on X-mas crap. Usually we're really good with gifts, but this year has been a mess. Nothing seems to be going right. We've been to various doctors for various stupid things five or six times in the past two or so months, and there's more to come. Nothing traumatic or incredibly serious, but it's one thing after another and it's become fairly debilitating (sp). And the house continues to bedevil us. We had another small flood in the basement due to the washing machine which ate up a workday, our broken garage door has made life difficult (I almost got squashed by it yesterday when it fell, and tonight I threw my back out lifting it several times after it wouldn't lock), Pixel the cat ruined Sarah's office chair, Mimsy the cat won't stop whizzing everywhere, we can't find time to deal with the collapsed tree in the yard, and tonight we had to order a new computer because mine is finally going blinkyville after the lightning spike incident of a few months ago. Everytime we plan to fix something or replace something, something else breaks that requires attention and, of course, money. Oh, well, can't complain, really. We're relatively healthy, and we're working. Well, Sarah is. I futz around, mostly.

And write rambling missives like this for really no good reason at all.

Dateline, Blah blah blah: The Cartoon Network, who I supposedly am working on a pilot for, sent us our copies of the Space Ghost DVD, along with a copy of the Aqua Teen thing. All three DVD's were smashed by the shipping company, thank you very much. The packaging was crushed and the plastic cases were in pieces. The discs are okay. I think. Ah, the glamorous world of television animation. Even the cheap-ass looking little clock thing DC sent out for the holidays was packaged so it wouldn't break. WHich would have been okay, if it did, because it's really a very useless little gift chosen from some usless little gift catalogue with the DC logo plopped on it. Sheesh. Save the money, DC. Even the poorest freelancers have some sort of clock at home. In the VCR or cable box, if nothing else. I'd rather they sent out some unsold DC Archives, if anything. They already paid for 'em and most of 'em are sitting around, if they weren't traded in to Jim Hanley's Universe or Midtwon Comics. Perhaps I should stop crabbing and simply appreciate the gesture.

Ah, fuck it. I'd rather have a Spirit Archive.

Speaking of the holidays, I've noticed that the number of comic industry cards we've received this year has been way down from previous years. I wonder if it's an economic issue, or if we've been booted off rolodexes due to the latest freelancer ratings. Maybe we were downgraded to a D this year. A lot of folks are switching to e-mailed cards, which strikes me as kind of un-festive and cold. Especially when an animation company resorts to it, you figure they can afford the stamp more than some freelance cartoonist with kids. Well, I shouldn't complain (actually, I'm not complaining, really -- most of those cards publishers send out are ug-o-lee), seeing as how we never really send cards out to anyone. Every year I vow to make a HOF card. And like my vow to make more comics, I blow it. Ah, me.

Well, them's the babbling for this time around. Sorry I've been so scattered with my posts of late. I hope to get more focused with this journal in 2004, honest. Then again, I hope to make more comics and a holiday card in 2004. So, we'll see where that gets me. If I don't post before the big holidays hit, be well, have fun, and don't end up spending X-mas like I did lo those many years ago -- alone in an apartment with no heat, wrapped in blankets on a mattress on the floor, eating turkey franks on white bread and using a cardboard box as a table. Cripes almighty! How can I ever complain about my life when that's how I used to live? I swear, a spindly mouse should throw a brick at my lunk head and wake me the hell up sometime.