June 4th, 2015

smokin'

More Interesting Times

I'm typing this in a wrist brace that's on more than off these days, and that's been a pain (ha ha) but what can you do, right? I have to see the doctor, the problems with my arm have gotten to that point. Sleeping's been a real problem. Essential art supplies now include the brace, a soft neck collar, Tylenol and an ice bag. Watch yourselves, young ones with drawing in your blood. Don't bend over a flat table, rest the hand occasionally, and maybe ease up on the detail work. Just saying. Watch yourself early, because you'll probably live as na old person for more years than you will as a young person, if that improper sentence makes sense to you. You can't do the 24-hr work stretches all your life, unless you maybe want to be Wally Wood (i.e., dead early).

Otherwise, yeah, interesting times. Phone conversations and pitches and revisions and maybes and waiting and wondering. Like a new career, almost, as if much of the past thirty years didn't happen or matter. And they don't matter all that much, I guess. It's a crowded field and without a recognized run on a Marvel or DC title you're not super-viable, no matter how many industry awards or past minor "hits" you may have. On the plus side, you pick up some fans over three decades, hopefully, and some of these readers end up in the business, hopefully, and they remember you when they need work done, hopefully. Or you have contemporaries who remember you back from the days when Nick Magazine lived and breathed, that sort of thing. So, I have a few freelance assignments. But it's not like it was, when I knew folks at the Big Two and that kind of work didn't turn me off, the way, say, modern DC comics do. The anthologies are all dried up, and the internet boom of "let's pay people for stuff" was a while back, wasn't it? And I missed that little brass ring. I can only really write right now, so that's another limitation. Interesting.

It's still better than most folks have it. I'm not complaining, I'm just explaining.

And it's not all gloom and doom/end of the world, don't get me wrong -- part of the "problem" is not wanting to do just anything for any amount of money. On the one hand, I'm not enough of a fanboy to jump for joy at the prosect of working on some revived 80's pop culture property. And for crap money, nineteen times out of twenty. I don't get that, never will. I'd rather learn to run a cash register again than do underpaying work-for-hire with no royalty but the "glory" and "fun" of being a cog in some IP machine. And they don't tend to let you run with the ball the way I got to when I worked on Bill and Ted in the 90s. That was a plus. And Marvel paid decently on a loser book like that, to boot.

Anyway, one of the WFH script gigs I turned in was a lot of fun, they did let me run wild on it, it was for an okay page rate, and I'm looking forward to sharing when the time comes. It's being drawn right now, I believe, and it should be a lot of fun. The other writing gig is something I was hoping to do last year but Eltingville bumped it out of the playing field, I should have that wrapped in a few days and a beloved industry vet will be drawing it, if all goes well, which is really nifty. This is not trudgery or drudgery, by any means.

After that I get back on the commissions (oy) and we prep for Heroes Con. I dunno if I'll be sketching at the show, my hand is so problematic and I have to get some lines down on paper on these outstanding commissions (oy). And a cover gig. It's a drawing gig I couldn't really turn down, you'll see what I mean when I can talk about it.

I'm looking forward to Heroes because we enjoy the show, but it's a financial gamble, even if we're mostly comped. We did very badly last year, partially because I don't have much new work out, partially because that can happen to anyone, especially if you're hitting a show regularly. With no new books out. So, well see. We have dug out the last of some old merchandise stock I've decided to part with, mostly to lighten the load of our old merchandise stock, so I may have a few odds and ends on the table this time around. I also have a newly-acquired stack of World's Funnest copies from back in the DC days, which I'll be bringing (along with some promo pins from the project). And I'm going through the art files. So, we'll see. If nothing else, Sarah's making Emily a new cosplaying outfit and we'll get to see friends and folks.

Speaking of new books, Eltingville #2 won't be out until August, but at least it's back in the Previews pipeline and finished. A big, messy chapter of my life over and done with. We're waiting on layouts and the like from Dark Horse on the hardcover collection of that big mess. I can't wait until that's out and over and done with and I can hold the book in my hands. My editor on Eltingville, Daniel Chabon, was just promoted at Dark Horse, by the way, which he deserves for putting up with Eltingville, if nothing else. Ha ha (oy).

I hope to speak to our Beasts of Burden editor, Sierra Hahn, in the next day or two to see where that's going. Or not going. We still have three scripts sitting and waiting to be drawn, one of which we do have about eight pages finished. It's less than an optimal situation. We're trying to poke it back into life, honest. I think about that book every day.

Otherwise, the phone conversations and pitches and all that continues. We're still waitng to hear from someone out in Los Angeles about something. We have a good shot at launching a fun project that Sarah and I would be writing together, something that came out of left field and decided to stick around a while -- if it doesn't happen now we want to pitch it around and do it somewhere else. We're almost done with a long-gestating pitch we want to move forward. And I have a publisher interested in a limited series I pitched them off the cuff. It's not a terrible place to be. It's all very interesting. As things sift out, we will hopefully be left with something solid, and steady, to build on. If that settles in, I can rest the hand and eventually see about drawing something again, pushing some gag stuff along and/or a series of strips I've been slowly working on for fun. That's the plan, and it all seems do-able. So, here's to the next few weeks and things settling. Huzzah.

In the meantime, I should be able to talk about one of the freelance projects I'm involved in in about two weeks, and by then we'll hopefully have some more solid news, or at least a solid idea of solid news. So, talk to you soon.

And I hope to see some of you folks at Heroes Con in a few weeks.

Latersville!