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A WORD FROM OUR FOUNDER
i may have broken something/there are two types of people
I've had a somewhat productive week leading up to this convention in Orlando, which is a relief. From the time i landed returning from the San Diego Comic-con International i haven't been able to so much as look at the remaining five or six pages of the book that needed to be done. Unable to focus, anxiety attacks, shaking hands, I was getting a little concerned that i burned out some wiring in the old noggin. I still may have considering how long it's been taking me to finish any given page. all of this is no doubt due to the stress and eventual nervous breakdown i had the night before/day of my flight TO San Diego.
I don't think i mentioned the nervous breakdown before or if i did it was in passing. I always feel like i have to justify and explain that this job is hard, because i remember having a regular job and listening to entertainers complain and think that they were a bunch of pusssies. let me tell you never in all the time i worked in a garage was i ever as exhausted as i am after a day of working on this comic. it's 8-10-12 hours of concentrating as hard as you can. it takes no less skill than any surgeon as far as manual dexterity, and while the surgeon is actually saving lives...he doesn't have to create the surgery right out of his own imagination every day. this is like if you where a top chef and your meal was competing with 600 other meals and was going to be tasted and judged by thousands of people...and you had to come up with a meal no one had ever tasted before...make that several of them. take some of the drama out of that but add a deadline and hopefully you can relate to the kind of stress some of us creative types put ourselves under.
It may still seem like i'm exaggerating or making a mountain out of a mole hill but keep in mind that a lot of the early comic book illustrators killed themselves, became alcoholics and such. it's bizarre i know for something as ridiculous as a comic book to cause people to snap. but it's part of yourself that you are putting out there. Jerry Seinfeld said once of stand up comedy "it's like the most important job interview of your life...every night...every two minutes of that night." a lot of people come up and say "wow i wish i could draw, i can't draw a straight line" or "i'm just not creative i could never do what you do". these are the same people who can't understand why i don't just plan my time a little better so i'm not stressing myself out and undergoing grueling stretches of no sleep to get a book done. the answer is right there, it's two different kinds of minds. the mind that has a great imagination most times cannot manage and plan...just like good planners/analytical types can't come up with stories. and i didn't mention that fact that i fund this book out of my own pocket...if any given issue is a flop, I'm ruined. As you work you are forced with the impossible to answer question of -make it better or move on to the next page. if you can make it better you would be a fool not to...but you would also be a fool to spend too much time in it. how much time is too much, how good is good enough? if you miss your deadline you are ruined, if you meet the deadline but the book isn't good your ruined. you can see how you could drive yourself nuts. this run ended like most of them with me only sleeping three hours a day for about a month in order to get something done for Comic-con International and enough done to conceivably get the whole thing finished in time for the distributors deadline after i got back.
I've only had a couple of breakdowns in my life and let me tell you they are pretty scary. it's sort of like being in a dream and watching yourself. you're conscious mind is sort of in the co-pilot seat watching your subconscious jerk the controls back and forth. you repeat yourself uncontrollably, rock back and forth, scratch, fidget, rub your head, then rub it hard, then harder. something in your brain is still pushing forward with the task at hand interrupted intermittently by the symptoms i just listed. It's no fun. My ex-wife was over trying to help me finish the book, her main task was telling me what number came next as i named the pages on the files because i could not get my brain to produce numbers in order. i'm pretty sure she thought i was going to jump off the porch when i went to get some air. having fallen off the porch before i know that it would be a piss poor attempt at suicide so that wasn't my purpose for walking out to it...i was trying to get some sort of control of myself.
I have to say i'm glad this is the last issue, and while i don't know if a cartoon will be any easier at least i'll have help right from the start. it will finally be a project i cannot possibly tell myself i can do alone.
anyhow the final issue of Arsenic Lullaby will be on shelves shortly and i have to say that somehow...it turned out pretty good, one of my best in fact. I'm hoping it turned out good despite the grueling sleepless marathon but i have an uneasy suspicion that part of it was necessary to make it as strange as it is. and the illustrations on some of the stories are flat out amazing if i do say so myself.
inevitably someone will come up and tell me they found some typo...am i allowed to just slap that person in the face...given everything i just described. the tide has turned by the way and everything is spelled phonetically thanks to hip hop and texting. i was way ahead of the curve on that one. now that i'm essentially done making comic books I'd just like to say ...if you are the kind of person who can pick up a comic book with zombie fetuses, holocaust jokes, and page after page of blacker than black humor and feel the need to point out a typo...just go fuck yourself and don't tell me about it okay? because there is no way for you to point it out without looking like a moron. that's right, you are the one who looks like the moron because it is as if you just had an incredible meal prepared by a world class chief...who prepared a dish no one had ever heard of before and you are complaining that the salad fork was on the wrong side. and the more you search for a polite way to tell me there is a typo the more insane YOU seem because you cannot let it go. Can i make it any more clear that i don't give a shit than and if you do don't read my book than a great big *warning, mush of the dialogue in this book is spelled phonetically*.? if there was a clearer way for my to tell you i don't want to hear your petty crying about a spelling error or two thani don't know what it was. so...like i say, to come up to me and point it out only make you look like an idiot. you claim to be able to pay attention to details better than me and yet MISSED THE GREAT BIG WARNING (i will make exceptions for people who brought it up because they wanted to help). I had (up until pulp edition no.1) a dope e-mail me after every Voodoo Joe story telling me i forgot to draw the back of his head...no lie...every time, and he had convinced himself i was doing it just to piss him off. there is all kinds of crazy out there people...if you are the kind to focus on small things and cannot get past the details to allow yourself to enjoy the larger picture, you are traveling down, or perhaps well on your way to being crazy yourself.
back to my "recovery". aside form being tired all the time i seem to have all my mental facilities back in order, other than some random anxiety attacks...which i'm hoping just go away. I even came up with some funny stories that would really only work in a comic book...which is a perfect reason to never do another one.
upward on onward.