After playing with Tumblr for a few days (http://comicbookalex.tumblr.com/) I'm pretty much sold on moving all my blogging activity over there so if you're interested in my blathering be sure to come see me there (and let me know if you have an account since I need something to distract me from working!).
The question now is what do I do with this LJ? I have literally years of entries so it seems a shame to just delte the account. Of course, most of what I wrote here was just ephemeral crap with little rereading value, but there are some things I'd like to keep around (like my "commentary" entries--which I should really revive). Is it really worth me plowing through al those entries for the few somewhat-interesting material?
In the meanwhile, here's something fun I found while hanging out with my new, cool Tumblr friends:
I hate to tell you, LJ, but it looks like I might be joining the mass exodus which has reduced you to your current state. I recently signed up for a Tumblr account and from the look of things, I might be doing most of my posting there these days: http://comicbookalex.tumblr.com/
See you there...
The other reason the con sticks in my memory was that the star of the show was Dave Sim, creator of Cerebus and the single biggest influence on my cartooning. I don't know exactly what I was thinking, but I came up with the idea of getting Sim to do a "jam" with me: before I went to the show I would draw my characters (dressed up as his characters) and then I would get him to draw his character(s) at the show. Looking back, I can only shake my head in amusement at the sheer balls I had. Here I was, going to my first show "behind the table" and I was already asking my idol to work on a drawing with me. Kids!
I definitely remember being extrememely nervous asking him to do it. He was a great sport, and played along. I can't speak for Sim, of course, but now that I'm a seasoned (>ahem<) "pro" I would think I'd be amazed if someone did something like this with my own characters, even if they were as big of a nobody as I was then.
My biggest regret was that I drew my half of the drawing with relatively cheap materials, which means that now, fifteen years later the ink is turning brown and fading. Until now I had it hanging proudly on my wall but I think I'm going to have to keep it in a closet from this point on to try and preserve it as long as possible (I didn't even have a computer when I got the drawing, so I couldn't scan it--the pic above was taken with a digital camera through the glass of the frame).
Weirdly, I'm older now than Dave Sim was at the time he did the drawing.
The code was probably the single biggest factor responsible for the retarding the growth of the comics art form for at least two decades and its appearance pretty much conicides with comics beginning their commercial decline (though I have a feeling TV was probably a bigger factor, the same way TV lured away the audiences for radio, plays, movies, newspapers, etc). Hopefully, it will be regarded as a minor stumbling block on comics' maturation as an artform rather than the blight that crippled it in the cradle.
Of course, when they were putting together the Apollo program they had no way of knowing that it would be kind of a dead-end. Would they have been able to maintain their enthusiasm had they known that within four years of putting a man on the moon we would never return?* In retrospect, the whole race to the moon seems like exactly that: a race to beat the Soviets to the moon with no point other than to beat the Soviets to the moon. While that is infinitely better than competing with the Soviets on a battlefield it also seems like a strange way to spend a gazillion dollars (which is a bazillion dollars in today's money!).
Similarly, while watching Friday Night Lights the one thing the strikes me is the sheer weirdness of a whole town obsessed with high school football. I concede that I am whatever the opposite of a football fan is and that I'm very much out of step with my countrymen in this regard.** To me, the whole town seems like a strange cult in which these young men are expected to be saviors for a bunch of worshipping hillbillies when the outcomes of the games will literally have no effect on their lives.
Ultimately, both endeavors remind me of those giant stone heads on Easter Island. By all accounts the inhabitants of the island became so obsessed with carving and erecting these giant stone heads that they devoted all their time and resources to them--cutting down virtually every single tree on the island and, ultimately, making the island uninhabitable, But, I guess when you get down to it almost every single human enterprise falls into the same category.
*I won't go into the whole was-the-moon-landing-faked thing here but it is curious that once the Americans landed there the Soviets never even put a man on the moon after a decade of working toward that goal.
** I'm truly shocked by the number of otherwise nerdy cartooning friends I have who are, somehow, into football. I can only think that this is some form of self-hatred.
Now, here we are about five months later and I'm in the home stretch: only 52 songs left to go! I'm proud I was able to do it but am starting to worry: what do I do after that? What challenges remain after one has conquered Everest?
This one was really a surprise and I'm glad to see it given another chance. It was a very weird (and funny) comic from the '80s and it's a shame Boswell kind of disappeared, or at least fell off my radar. So now I have plenty of cool comics to read!
So not only have I been unable to get started on my own graphic novel but I've also been falling far behind in reading other people's. Some of the books I want to read but haven't seen in the shops yet:
--Jason Little's Motel Art Improvement Service
--Julia Wertz's Drinking at the Movies
--Scott Chantler's Two Generals
I feel like there's more but I can't think of them off the top of my head. I think part of the problem is I've mostly been doing my shopping at Midtown Comics and they don't have the most comprehensive alternative section in the world. Might have to suck it up and go to Hanley's soon.
(Of course my "waiting to be read" pile is still a foot tall so perhaps I should make a dent in that before I go and make it bigge).
For those of you just joining us, most of the time I'm drawing (and when I walk the dog at night) I listen to podcasts. I do not listen to any comics-related podcasts. Let's see what's been in the rotation these days (all available on itunes)...
Comedy Death Ray--Scott Aukerman chats and plays games with various comedians and characters.
Coverville--Nothing but cover songs, and the only music podcast I listen to anymore.
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History--One of the best podcasts around if you're into history.
Doug Loves Movies--Doug Benson chats about movies and plays games with various comedians.
Freakonomics Radio--Two economists offer interesting ways of looking at topics you might not have considered.
Hey! We're Back!--Jonthan Katz doing short comedic skits.
How Did This Get Made?--Comedian Paul Scheer and friends make fun of crappy movies.
Judge John Hodgman--The humorous writer settles various inane disputes.
My History Can Beat Up Your Politics--A look at current events in the context of U.S. history
Never Not Funny (Season 6)--Comedian Jimmy Pardo cracks wise with assorted comedy guests.
The Onion Radio News--Snippets of the news from the jokers at The Onion
The Pod F. Tompkast--Comedian Paul F. Tompkins performs an assortment of funny spoofs, skits and satires.
The Retroist--A look back at pop cultural stuff mostly from 1970-1990
Steve Agee: Uhhhhh--Comediactor Steve Agee rambles about DeGrassi High: The Next Generation
This American Life--If you're reading a blog entry about podcasts you know what this one is already.
Who Charted?--Comedian Howard Kramer and friends look at various top-5 lists for the week.
WNYC's Radio Lab--Fascinating look at the world around us that will freak you out many times.
WTF--Comedian Marc Maron interviews fellow comedian and angrily rants.
Anything new that people have gotten into lately?
Also, for the record I have sampled the podcasts below and just didn't find them my cup of tea for various reasons:
--Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!
--40 Year Old Boy
--You Look Nice Today