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I JUST finished up five pages for House of Mystery, a Vertigo book that’ll be due out sometime soon.  I’ve never crammed so much detail consistently throughout a group of pages.  The script calls for a character running through a desolated New York City as he tries to get to work on time.  He’s slowed down by giant bugs, vampires, armed citizens and fellow foot soldiers meaning TONS of research on Google images.  I have no idea whether it looks good or not but I do know that it’s DONE.

That aside, I did have a thought recently regarding comics and comic fans after my weekend in Philly.  A lot of people came up to me complaining about the smell of the con (cons) and the types of nerds you rub elbows with at those things.  Maybe it was the general look of displeasure on my own face that urged people to reflect what I was likely thinking each time some skanky 17-year-old girl walked by dressed as a duct-tape-manga-chick.  But over the weekend I heard a few different people say pretty much the same thing: I want to draw comics but I don't understand these people.

The people who stop by my table at cons are usually not the normal comic books types.  A lot of them seem to have good hygiene and dress in hip industrial/suburban clothing with punk shirts, Fidel Castro hats and dull colors.  Don’t get the main 3 types of nerds you see at cons: the silk shirt Wolverine guys, The Simpsons’ “comic book store” type guy and the ones wearing costumes.  

One day I’ll lead the people hanging around my table into a revolt against all the other nerds.  And I’ll even put the guy who carries around brass knuckles up front (you know who you are).

For those of you who might be thinking the same thing about wanting to work in comics but being turned off by the other types of fans, take a page from old man Murphy: don’t worry about it.

If your art truly comes from the “spirit” of you, then it will usually appeal to people who have things in common with you.  If you draw a lot of sci fi then you’ll get noticed by Star Wars and Trek fans.  If you like crime then you might get more grounded types.  If you’re like me and mix darkness and slop with realism and comic strips, then you’ll get bitter people with good senses of (black) humor.  Whatever it is that you do, chances are that you’re “coming out” in your work and you’ll end up with people you have something in common with.  And no, “coming out” in your work is NOT a gay joke.  J

The other thing to consider, which I strongly believe, is something that was told to me by Skottie Young a while back.  All those people you see at cons probably work some crappy factor job where no one will talk about comics with them for fear of being fired or shunned.  Only in their own homes and among their friends do they get to geek about what they’re really into: comics.  Not only do they love it, but they’re willing to drop a couple hundred on a plane ticket, a hotel room, the price of admission plus whatever they buy during the show in order to be around it.  Cons are when they come out of the darkness and into the light.  It’s weird and creepy, yeah, but there’s something beautiful about it.

The other comment from people was that they weren’t into superhero stuff at all, something else I have in common with them.  Will comics in America always be mostly superheroes?  I don’t know.  A lot of younger people coming into the ranks seem to want to change things, but then again I imagine that there has always been people trying to change that.  So who knows.

But it is funny when people who buy mainstream books complain about the state of the business.  They bitch about the art, the stories, and about how Hollywood keeps ruining things.  YET they buy those books and see those movies, thereby supporting the industry they claim to hate!  In other words, they’re getting exactly what they deserve.  We might all bitch about Indiana Jones but as far as the numbers are concerned, it did well because we all went to see it.  Me included.

And, yes, it sucked.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Sopranos
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
Hey all.  Just dropping a bulletin to let people know that I'll be in Philly for Wizard World this weekend.  I've already got a few people writing about commissions which I will be doing.  But it's first come first serve and I only like taking a few a day otherwise I'll have my head down the whole time and won't be able to talk to people.

Hopefully see you there!  And feel free to wear a T Shirt with your DA logo on it so I'll know you.  :)
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Saving Private Ryan
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
I'm off to see Indiana Jones and I wish I wasn't.

It's probably risky to pan a movie that I haven't seen yet…so I won't.  Even though RottenTomatoes.com, the critic website OF THE PEOPLE, is giving it negative reviews, it would still be more fair to write this after seeing it later today.  But this post isn't about Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.  It's about George Lucas going off the deep end.

Hating George Lucas is too easy.  

We all love (loved) Star Wars and would love even more of the same kind of Star Wars that we remember as kids.  It's frustrating because ILM has the ability to bring us there visually like never before, and most of the same people who are responsible for the first trilogy are still alive.  Yes…those brains capable of those thoughts and creating more of that OSW (Original Star Wars) product are out there, yet they handed us the three dog-turd prequels.  Each time they do something to give us a glimmer of hope, it ends up having the opposite effect which MAKES IT EVEN WORST.  And then they market the shit out of it with toys and posters and special editions that will never disappear from the shelves and garbage heaps.

It's easy to hate Lucas because he was total punk rock when doing the OSW.  He fought the major studios to get his way.  He funded as much as he could himself.  He used his friends and connections and went out on a limb for his dream.  And in the end he came through like no one imagined.

But now he's off on his ranch playing with his collector's set Skywalker dolls.  Now he's lying in his green fields looking up at the sky and dreaming about what else he could do with his ONE CREATION* and he's too rich and powerful to have to listen to anyone tell him that maybe, just maybe, he's lost his mind.

(*not true.  I do give him a lot of credit for Willow and I know I'm the only one.)

He must know how we all feel about his newer movies.  A guy that wired into the world has, at one point, come across some nasty blog about Jar-jar and the asshole that invented him.  He must hear our pleads for him to stop messing with the OSW.  He must be aware of the worldwide disapproval of what his franchise has become.

And I bet that he doesn't care.  Or he thinks that we all just don't get his NEW direction for Star Wars.  Or maybe he's just playing to the kids now and having the OSW in his past is enough form him to be happy.  Or maybe he doesn't take it as seriously as we do.  But it's impossible to imagine what his reality is like being so rich and being a "legend" and having an army of people yes you to death.

It makes me think of money and what it does to art.  

Dustin Nguyen and I were chatting the other day about this comic artist we both used to like.  They guy was really good, but his new stuff has very few lines and hardly any backgrounds.  It looks as though he penciled and inked about 3 pages a day.  And I'm betting that he probably pulls in at least $500 per page USD.  A lot of people still like his stuff and would argue that more lines doesn't mean better art, which I agree with, but his new stuff is beyond that.  If he's not embarrassed then I'm embarrassed for him.  And it's frustration in the same OSW way because he's probably capable of giving us the outstanding art that made us like him in the first place.  And, in a way, I feel like he's alleviating himself of the responsibility of what an artist should do which is get better ESPECIALLY when you don't have to worry about your bills anymore.

There has to be a balance between hard work, fear of rejection and/or having no money, success, honesty to oneself and heart.

From what I hear, Lucas wrote a script that had aliens but Spielberg and Ford didn't like it so they sent him back.  Lucas came back a few times toning the alien part down.  In the end I guess he came up with something that made the three of them happy.  You see, this is already terrifying.  WHO THE HELL WOULD PUT ALIENS IN AN INDIANA JONES MOVIE?  I don't care how watered down it might be, IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN MENTIONED IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Anything derived from that idea cannot be good.

It sounds so bad but also so likely to BE bad that it gives me no hope.  And perhaps I'm going in with a bad attitude but I have a feeling it will be justified.  I just hope I don't ruin it for my friends.  At least if I wasn't seeing it my love for Indiana would remain safe and untouched.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Saving Private Ryan
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
Hey all.  My girlfriend just joined DA as a photographer, a really small category that probably doesn't get a lot of hits.  Especially from the manga loving types.

One reason to check her out and drop a line would be to welcome her to DA and maybe check out a photo or two.

But an even better reason would be to check out her LOVE BLOG of DEMPSEY and let her know how bad her taste in Hollywood men is!  BWA HAHAHAHAHA!  The power of the internet!

Here's the ckatana.deviantart.com/

Sean
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Band of Brothers
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
A couple of years ago I saw some commercial with that Honda robot in it.  

I’ll describe it to those of you who are lucky enough to not have seen it.  It’s got a black square window for a face and a small frame.  It’s slightly bent over with an odd, childlike swagger.  It’s got flat feet, a backpack, and a creepy robot hand (which it uses to wave at you).  And from what I understand, it has the complexity to wander around the room like a clubbed-foot midget and also climb stairs.  In fact, I think the major breakthrough was that it was the first robot that could climb stairs without falling over.

I wasn’t sure what it was at the time but there was something that really bothered me about that robot.  It was something even MORE terrifying then a square faced robot-infant waving it’s creep hand at me at it came up the stairs.

Then I figured it out.

Ever since early man gazed upon the first robot, he has been imagining that awful day when machines would take over and kill him.  But  seriously…deep down we all know humans are essentially useless.  The ozone layer, polar bears and deer would all be pretty thrilled if every human suddenly caught a case of ‘reverse gravity' and fell off the planet.  So given that robots are only going to get smarter and faster, won’t they one day do the math on humans and realize that we suck?

We all saw The Terminator.  We all went to the theater, had a few thrills and then walked out into the parking lot together and were able to get on with our lives.  But why?  Why was it so easy?  Because, at the time, we KNEW that no matter what happened with the robots, all we had to do was run up the stairs.  Despite whatever the Terminator was capable of, we NEVER imagined an actual robot that had the coordination to chase us up a flight of stairs.  

And now we’re all screwed because when the machines taken over, they can simply send in the Honda freak-bots to run up the stairs after us and slaughter us in our closets.  What the hell is in the backpack, anyway?  I bet it’s a sword.  And I bet that’s why it was designed to have no face.  That way we won't be able to read it’s expression when it suddenly has the realization that we all suck.

The slow runners at the bottom of the stairs will go first, followed by those in the closet and under the bed.  The people in the shower with the water running will be dead next because, despite what they’re hoping, I’m sure the Honda-bot is waterproof (at least enough to yank you out and strangle you with a towel.  

And, because the robot is made by Honda, it's sure to be good on gas.  What to you think, 30 people per gallon?  Maybe it can go through a couple dozen before having to fill up at the KILL STATION for more gas.

But I’m sure some of us will survive.  That is, of course, until they invent a robot that can climb out onto the roof.  Hopefully by then, Jesus will have arrived and taken us all away from the angry Honda freak-bots.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Band of Brothers
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
I'm sure a lot of you have addictive personalities.  I think it's written in the books that artists of all kinds (writers, actors, painters) are more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs than most people.  And when I say drugs I don't just mean weed, crack, and booze but other things like girls, video games and incessant checking of your deviant account messages.

With myself, I notice these tendencies surfacing every so often.  For example, when I drink I drink fast and get really destructive and loud.  I used to get addicted to girls in high school, but I got over that by becoming more cold and withdrawn.  (Take THAT you popular bitches who didn't love me!  Now I hate myself before you EVEN GET THE CHANCE!)  I've seen some guys go off the deep end with their different abuses so I try to monitor myself and be true to my work.

Then I started playing the board game Risk.

The ladies out there will have to bear with me for a bit or stop reading.  I know you think Risk is dumb, especially when your boyfriend could be doing other things instead (like sketching you naked like in Titanic), but maybe by reading this you'll get a little insight into the infantile mind of most men.

Like sucks.  We all know that.  It's way too unpredictable.  Men, for the most part, rely on REASON while edging through from day to day.  They believe that with enough information, they'll be able to brain their way through life's struggles like Spock or Picard.  Ladies, from what I gather, don't like listening to reason because it's cold and unemotional.  I, for one, am with the guys.  Facts will always beat feelings.  Which is why Risk is so great.

Generally, guys like games where they can use logic to defeat other men, proving their virility and beating the odds.  Poker is a big hit.  Risk is a little like poker, but instead of cards you're pretending to move armies across the planet in the pursuit of world domination.  Because of the implied violence, I like Risk more than poker.  I go out into the world walking a little taller after I win.  Almost like Napoleon…but taller.

So I went online and downloaded a free version of Risk, but I could only play for an hour before I was prompted to cough up $19.99 to buy the full version.  Then I downloaded the free trial for the sequel and played that for another hour.  Eventually I broke down and bought it, but I went through Half.com and snagged it for a mere $7.00!  

Again, victorious.

The computer version is awesome.  Believe me, you feel just as good beating the shit out of your computer as you do your girlfriend and her friend when you sucker THEM into playing.  The cool part about the computer is the zoom-in battle screens and the cheering of your soldiers when you win.  Even the newer board game is cool because now they sell it with little Napoleonic army men with cannons and horses instead of plain, colored chips.  It's like getting a whole army of GI Joes all at once; whenever I open the box it's like Xmas times ten.  When I play I even line up my reserves like a real army all ready to go.  And when I attack another territory I make sure ALL the units attacking are lined up against the border because I know, somehow, it'll affect the numbers on the dice.

Girls suck at Risk.  Not only do they fail to grasp the beauty of killing but they get emotional and start rolling, rolling, rolling until they've got no armies left (the equivalent of a hissy-fit).  If they were more LOGICAL then they'd know not to spread out so thin or get greedy.  But you know girls...obsessed with "thin".  When you beat them, though, you're actually losing in the long run because Risk is a touchy game for the loser.  Don't expect to get laid after taking over three continents in one turn.  

(To Colleen: I knew I was kicking myself in the ass when I destroyed all of your armies that one time.  But I couldn't help it.  Just be happy to know that, in another time and place, I would have been General Maximus-Murphy.  Think about THAT next time you come home and I've wasted my day beating the computer's armies in my boxers.)

The secret to Risk is learning the odds.  You can go online and find out the probabilities of the dice rolling what and memorize the formula for how many armies you'll need to take over "X" many territories.  Obviously, most girls haven't LEARNED these formulas.  Which proves my point: facts and knowledge beat emotion any day.

Believe me, this Risk thing has gone to my head.  I've lost hours of my life playing Risk when I should have been drawing.  I'll be sitting on the subway noticing how easy it would be to conquer the subway car: load the armies up at the rear and work your way up to the front (duh).

But, NOT TO LEAVE THE LADIES OUT…I don't mean to paint you all as emotional toothpicks that would easily cripple under the strain of war.  I invite you all to play Risk once in a while.  Even though the pink armies have been slowly fazed out of the newer versions of the board game, we still want you to play.  And if you don't want to, then that's cool too.  

After all, who else is going to make the babies that us men will eventually send into battle!

My dream date would be a giant game of Risk between myself and a handful of girls from high school who never appreciated how awesome I was!  I would cut through their pink, purple and tampon-colored armies all in one turn and laugh while I was doing it.  

Beating them with Risk.  That's sure to make them all realize how awesome I am.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: silence
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
  • Watching: Clint Eastwood movies
We finally got permission to post the unpublished 2D animation for Activision's Soldier of Fortune 3.  Here's the link posted at my buddy's site:

charliekirchoff.com/?page_id=1…

The gig started out fun but got a little difficult with the amount of fixes the studio requested.  Answering to a committee, as some of you know, is NOT fun.  I think because of the conditions and the schedule the artwork only came out 80% of where it might have been.  Still, I'm proud of our work and what the animation studio did.  All of the coloring was done by Charlie Kirchoff and myself and animated somewhere in California.  There is some swearing so hide the kids.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Rage
  • Reading: The Power of Myth
  • Watching: History Channel
So I didn’t realize that people were reading these.  Well, yeah, I see the responses but when I was at the NYCC this past weekend I had people actually coming up and quoting what I’d written.  It made me feel great.  

Over the years I’ve been listening a lot to Henry Rollins’ spoken word and have used his theories in my daily “functionings” through life.  And even though I’m not nearly on his level, it’s cool knowing that someone out there is being helped by my mental sweat.  Or at least having a laugh at my expense.

Now let me answer some questions I get on a regular basis in hopes of cutting down on the emails.

1. I use 500lbs rough Bristol board to draw on.  Buy it in large sheets if you can find it and cut it up into comic shaped rectangles to save cash.  Then I use a Raphael #3 round sable (which means REAL animal hair).  It’s expensive but, trust me, you’re only as good as your tools.  Also I use a crow quill nib #102 and super pigmented India ink by Speedball.  Take the cap off overnight and let some of the water evaporate to make the ink blacker.  It’s not good ink for any clay-coated types of paper you buy from Blueline but it’s great with the paper I use because it dries within the paper and stays blacker when you erase over it.

2. I switch back and forth between brush and quill all day.  I use Pro-white for mistakes.  Sometimes I even use my fingerprints to add texture and use the quill or brush for splatter.  It’s an additive process, back and forth all day until the page is done, much like how a painter might work.  Normally comic pages don’t come together this way because you have a separate inker.  My personal belief is that we should ALL ink our own stuff if it’s at all possible.  But I know it isn’t always so.

3. I NEVER use digital inking or a Wacom to ink.  RARELY does finished or digital  pencils/inks cut it these days. Same with inking with Micron.  I know Leinil Yu and Mike Mignola do it at times, and yeah they make it work.  But chances are you’re not one of these guys.  So learn the tools like they did, bite the bullet, don’t be afraid of the brush, and MAYBE one day you’ll end up going back to your Wacom, finished pencils or Microns.  But for now you’re better off going old school (which should be called NORMAL school because that’s how it’s normally done at the DC/Marvel level).  

I know people will fight me on this and think I’m crazy and some won’t listen, but trust me.

CAN’T FIND ANY COPIES OF OFF ROAD?

Yeah it sucks because the book caught on at some point and now you’re lucky to find a copy on Amazon for under $50.  I spoke with Oni about the book and they don’t want to print more because they’re afraid of not selling the new batch and losing money.  However, they said if I did another book with them they’d do another run, but with my new DC exclusive contract that won’t be possible for 2 years.  Plus I don’t know if a sequel would work with Off Road.  But I have been talking to an Italian company who wants to release it in Europe, plus the book has come out in Spanish.  I’ll let you know more as it comes to me.

But if you want a copy then write to Oni Press at www.onipress.com/email.php and let them know.

Also I think I should simply thank all of you for being here on Deviant.  I haven’t had the account for more than a year (I think) and wouldn’t have known that anyone outside of comics would know who I was.  But with the amount of support I see here, it makes me feel better about what I do and even gets me thinking that I should hit more conventions.

That’s it for now.  I’ll write something more profound and upsetting (to some) later.

Sean
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Rage
  • Reading: The Power of Myth
  • Watching: History Channel
I'll keep this one short because I've got Hellblazer pages to finish before the NYCC and because maybe these journals have been a little over serious lately.

I caught some heat on my last journal, and I'm fine with that.  I've read a lot of reviews over the last couple years on my stuff and although they're usually good, once in a while I got ribbed and ripped up a little.  In fact, check this one out because it had me laughing it was so cruel.  Don't mess with the Trekkies:

www.shotgunreviews.com/2008/03/03/the-dissector-59/

Now let me call myself out on my own bullshit regarding some of my more touchy journals.  

Wouldn't it be nice to be in a perfect world where you, the artist, didn't have to worry about money or paying the bills or meeting deadlines?  You could just create to your heart's content and follow all your high ideals into the sky with no end.

But life isn't like that, of course.  As much as I like to think that art should be about growth, change and about how we should all feel the calling to DO something valuable in this post 9/11 world with our abilities…it's rarely ever like that.  It would be nice, yeah, but most artists, especially comic artists, draw commercially and rarely have any thought to their legacy as artists other than "hmmm…where does the vanishing point go?"

All these things that I've wrote are, I feel, correct (at least they correct to me) but they're not for everyone and I don't want to piss people off.  But at the very least I'd like to challenge people and maybe have them walk away with something that wasn't there before.  Even if they disagree at least there's SOME movement.

My ideals probably sound high because I'm writing from a place where I don't have to worry so much about the things that a lot of guys have to while still working their way through the trenches of the art world.  I'm 27 and am fortunate enough to have an exclusive DC contract and plenty of high paying work on the side to sit around my apartment and draw all day.  Yes, I've worked hard to get here and I have road-hard stories of the trials leading up to this (like many people do), but in the end I'm just a guy who doesn't even have to get out of him pajamas to get to work.

If you've ever over heard a pro at a convention, he/she is usually very opinionated about a lot of different things.  And, no matter what his opinion is, he usually insists that he's right.  Of course he will.  He, like me, doesn't go to an office or get challenged by people as much as most people because his tiny world is a small studio where he can dream up whatever he wants ALL DAY and lord over his conclusions without end.  Honestly, it's a sad existence (which is why I don't like a lot of professional comic guys).

So, to give this journal some closure, most of what I write is high ideal while also being tongue-in-cheek.  I might be a little pissed off at what I write TOO if I was still working my way up while taking a side job and paying student loans.
People should read these and think "HA!  Good one Sean.  You so crazy!  Yeah, wish I could draw in my pajamas all day, too.  Oh well…back to the real world!  Exclusive artist, huh?  Way to rub it in, jerk."
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Rage
  • Reading: The Power of Myth
  • Watching: History Channel
When I draw I try to get as many references as I can.  I search through Google's images mostly.  The Barnes and Noble bargain book section is great if you're looking for photos of random things as well: castles, ships, birds, etc.  I'll buy stuff just because I know I may need it someday.  Plus it makes me look smart by having big books around the house.

There's other stuff I use for reference, too.  For a while I was obsessed with airsoft guns (which look just like real guns except for that annoying orange ring of color around the barrel).  When someone accidentally finds one I try to calmly explain that they aren't real and that I need them for work.  The truth is that I don't really need them…I just think they're cool.  I can sadly admit that I spend more time playing with them than I do using them for photo reference.  I love walking around the house with a Glock stuffed in the front of my pants while my dogs follow closely behind.  One day I'll catch a burglar with my Uzi.  He may THINK that it's only a model…but how much is he willing to bet?

And now (because I have no life outside of the house and need strange hobbies to occupy my brain) I'm into die cast models of muscle cars and WWII planes.

So, seeing as how I live in Brooklyn, I decided that there MUST be some awesome hobby shops in the city to cater to my nerdly needs.  I found one on the net and struck out last Sunday to find a 1972 Chevy Nova, a 1966 Lincoln Continental, and a B-25 Mitchell Bomber.

So I got to the shop and was the only one there, save for the two dorks that presumable worked there.  And 'work' is a generous word to describe what they did: sit around in a toy shop while growing mustaches and hording plastic models in hopes that one day they'd be real.  These guys seemed annoyed that I entered their nerd-layer.  But whatever, I was taller than them and had a Glock in my pants (not really).

Manhattan is a cramped place and the store was no different.  There was a warehouse's worth of merchandise stuffed into a walk-in closet sized space.  You couldn't touch anything without knocking the crap above and below it over.  The only thing that had enough space was a large glass case that held about 100 WWII models inside.

The two nerds ignored me and went back to their nerding.  And although I didn't find what I wanted, it was worth traveling all the way to the city in order to hear their conversation.

Nerd 1:  I don't know man…seriously though.  I mean, when you get the right display case and put in a small Abrams tank…it looks nice.

Nerd 2: Yeah.

Nerd 1: No…SERIOUSLY…sometimes you forget that it ain't real.  Y'know?
Nerd 2. Totally.

Or this one…

Nerd 2: Four guys in a tank?  Ain't nothing you can do against that.

Nerd 1: For the most part.  'Cept maybe cut them up with shrapnel.

Nerd 2: That's for sure.

Nerd 1: No…I mean it.  The driver's exposed only a little but the commander might catch some if he peeks out at the wrong time.

Nerd 2: You drove a tank, right?

Nerd 1: Yeah…well, no…but I sat in one.

SAT IN ONE?  What, like at a museum or at a parade or something?  And now you're an expert?  Hahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahaha!  I mean, in my job I've been around a lot of different kinds of dorks, but it never occurred to me that hobby shops were another form of dork until I heard that conversation.  I don't know how I missed it.

I don't know what model-shop-people talk about when they're stuck in the same, small store together for hours and days on end, but I image a lot of the conversations turn into what I overheard.  I mean, there's only so a man can sit around next to a toy  M1A1-Abram tank before he starts thinking "you know…I bet I'd actually be GOOD at driving one of those."

Ahh…if only it were real.

So because I couldn't find what I wanted, I went up to one of them and asked if they could help me.  After all, what did they have to do but stare at a bunch of Revell models and dream all day?

So I asked about the Chevy Nova, and the guy scoffed and said they didn't make one.  FALSE.  I'd done my research and new that Miasto made one in orange AND in black cherry (now who's the nerd).  He went online in disbelief and, sure enough, saw that I was right.  "Well…we're only a small shop so there's only so much we can carry," was his excuse.  Then I asked about the Lincoln Continental, and before I could finish talking he cut me off.

Nerd 1: Nope!

Sean: Well, I'm pretty sure that they do—

Nerd 1: Nope! (angered that I doubted his nerd-knowledge)
Sean: But I saw one—

Nerd 1: Nope!

Sean: --online made by Yatming (a brand he should know).

So he clacked away again and saw that I was right.  Again.  Then I asked about a B-25 Mitchell in die cast.  This time he agreed that they existed but said he didn't have any.  I pointed to the one in the glass case but those weren't for sale (and they weren't die cast).

Sean: Not for sale?  Then why is it out?

Nerd 1: (annoyed) Those are for a museum.

Sean: So you take them out of the box and build them and then send them away?  What kind of museum?

Nerd 1: A plane museum.

Sean: Huh.  It seems like I'm better off just buying stuff online then.

Nerd 1: Pretty much.

Sean: You know, you're not very good at selling things.  Maybe you should work in a museum because then you wouldn't have to sell anything.  Except admission.

I laughed in their faces and left.  I'm sure, right now, they're arranging plastic tanks and army men and developing strategies on how they'd crush me if life were really a battle field.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Rage
  • Reading: The Power of Myth
  • Watching: History Channel
After my last update I've gotten notes from people wanting more in regards to portfolios.  Again (to cover my ass), these are only my opinions.  There aren't any absolute truths for a good portfolio when shopping around for editors.  Essentially a good portfolio is one that shows off your abilities in the best ways possible and hopefully helps you make an impression on an editor.

1. The less the better.

Editors are bogged down at cons looking through a lot of portfolios.  When they open up your portfolio they'll size you up in about 5 seconds on your first couple of pages: good or bad.  I suggest only 5 pages of sequential art showing a CONNECTED story of some kind, not bits and pieces of things you did over the years and certainly NO PIN-UPS.  Having a ton of crap in your portfolio won't change their mind but it will waste their time.  5 pages is more than enough for them to see whether you're ready or not (in their opinion) and it's a reasonable amount of artwork for them to look over and give it the attention you deserve.

2. Make it your best.

Drawing up 5 pages should be FUN.  It shouldn't be daunting.  If it's daunting then you shouldn't be trying to break in at all.  But a lot of wannabes won't figure that out for a while.

Pick a character you like, put him into a scene of some kind that shows off some storytelling and backgrounds, and have fun.  Trust me, it's very rarely that you'll get to do whatever you want in this biz so when it comes to these pages, live it up.  Don't try to create your written-in-your-head-since-you-were-a-kid epic in 5 pages; just something small that will fit the bill.  Draw your backgrounds well and fill in your blacks.  Try to nail a bunch of different types of shots.  Be aware to show everyday people, cities, cars, trees, etc--but don't throw things in that are out-of-place because then it'll FEEL like a portfolio submission, if that makes sense.

3. Shut the hell up.

Having an editor look at your stuff will suck.  The silence in the air as they flip through your art is a lot to take.  Yes, it's natural to want to say something, defend your work or explain why you had such a hard time with a certain shot.  Trust me—just shut up and wait till he/she's done and then talk calmly, positively, and be proud of your work.  No excuses will help you.

Here's a secret: no one likes his owns stuff.  At least not during a review.  Pointing out the mistakes in your art makes you look nervous, self-defeating and incompetent.  Would you act that way around a girl at a bar?  Probably, which is why you're a comic geek with no date.

If you're asked a direction question like "why did you choose this angle" then give him your REASON, not your EXCUSE and make it brief.  If he points out something he doesn't like (like your bad perspective for example) don't make excuses for why it's correct.  If he's seeing a problem then there's probably a problem.  Just suck it up, nod your head and ask him for advice on how to fix it and then bitch about it later.  (And write his name down and remember him.  When you see him next for your next review, remind him of the conversation you had last time and point out what you did to try and improve.  He'll be flattered that you remembered.)

Your words are like your art: less is more.  And editors like someone who's malleable and not a prick.

4. No funky panels.

Overlapping panels, hovering panels, odd shaped panels or whatever you call them are usually a sign of an amateur.  There is definitely a time a place for them (I use them more and more) but there should be GOOD reasons for it, not just you trying to act all cool with your triangle-shaped panels (which, during the submission period of your life, usually brings your storytelling to a halt).

5. If you've been published let them know.

It's to your advantage if they see you've been published before.  It shows that you completed a task, worked with an editor (of some kind) and got past that first step in getting to your goal: ultimate comic book god.

6. Remember them, keep in contact but don't bother them.

Check in from time to time.  Editors are busy but part of their job is finding new guys.  Don't bother them or get nervous when they don't write back the next day.  Just email them again in a few months with some jpgs of your new stuff.  They don't owe you anything so don't feel entitled to a whole lot of attention at first.

7. Take a small portfolio.

You don't need originals and you don't need to bring that huge, black rectangle your mom bought when you hit a con.  Reduce the art and print out copies and put that in a nice, SMALL portfolio that won't weigh you down.  Besides, the art looks better when it's smaller.  Also, leave copies orf you 5 page sample with whoever will take one.  Make sure your contact info it on there as well and a website if you got one.  Websites are a REALLY good thing so find a way.

8. Take a shower, jerk.

This goes for EVERYONE at cons who I have to smell when they walk by.  Have some god damn self-respect and put something on.  Look like a professional and wear deodorant.  Don't where a Spider-Man silk shirt or come dressed as a Wookie.  You don't want to look like a fan but a professional who's about something more important in life.  A suit and tie is a little much but at least you'll stand out.

SOME ADVICE THAT I ADVISE AGAINST

1. If you can ink well, then ink it.

There are some people that think that if you want to be a penciller, then show your pencils.  If you want to ink, then show some ink on other people's pencils.  And that's all true.  But I wanted to do both because I knew I was fast enough to hit a deadline without some asshole inking my shit wrong.  In the gray world of comic book portfolios, black inks stands out like, well, black ink.  If you COMPETENT enough doing both then it's unlikely an editor will tell you to show him both pencils and inks or try to split you up into one of the two jobs.

2. Drawing certain characters for certain companies?  Don't worry about it.

I heard once that Marvel wants to see a submission with one of their characters, and that's not true.  If they tell you that then don't listen.  If you have killer Batman pages and show it to a Punisher editor, he's not going to care that it's not the Punisher.  The only certainty in this business is that good art speaks for itself and will break through boundaries like nothing else.  Besides, who has time to draw more than one 5 pager before a con?  Let's be realistic.  Show it to as many editors as you can until it hurts.

Don't bother showing your Batman submission to indy companies, though.  Indy comics is another world from mainstream which few can bridge.  If you draw mainstream they'll tend to shun you, like you don't understand their love-now-lost boy-books and the funky art inside.  (And I'm allowed to criticize it because I'm at least 50% indy guy.)

That's all I can think of.  Hope it helps.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: The Jam
  • Reading: The God Dilusion
  • Watching: History Channel
I try not to give unsolicited advice to people.  I think if someone wants to know something then they'll ask.  If you simply volunteer information that you know in the form of advice, I feel like you're setting yourself up for resentment.  It's rude to assume that you know something and that other people don't know.

However, I do get a lot of questions from people looking for advice on what they should do if they want to draw comics.  It's enough that I'd rather post something instead of repeating myself.  

But please, feel free not to read further.  These are only my opinions and things that have worked for me.  And it's I would do if I had to do it all again.

1. Work on your craft.  Always work on your craft, even after you feel like you might have "made" it.  Trust me, you've never "made" it even when it seems like you're set.  Never be too stubborn to try something new.  Never be afraid to try something that doesn't work.  Take chances.  Allow yourself to draw poorly.  If you're finding it hard to stay motivated by working long hours alone or you're easily distracted by your XBOX then comics might not be for you.  

(Another note: most people who read comics want to draw them as well.  Plus there are those who want to draw them that don't bother buying them anymore ((like I was)).  So think of it like this: most people who buy your comic are looking to use your style and storytelling to learn from so that they can, basically, compete with you one day.  There's so much competition, in fact, that it allows publishers to pay you practically nothing.  You may spend a lot of time in the stage of indy press working with small time people and their small time drama.  It has nothing to do with art and it sucks…but that's the way it is.)

2. Surround yourself with people that do what you like.  Go to shops.  Go to cons.  Make friends.  Create history with other artists and writers.  It will fuel your motivation and keep you sharp and sometimes even help your style.  Don't make friends with people whose stuff you don't like.  Don't be dishonest and use them to help you get a leg up.  But it's good to make friends with people whom you respect who are already getting published because they can help you out in many ways.  And maybe one day (but don't expect it) they'll pass on a gig and mention YOU to their editor.  But regardless, we can all use more friends.

3. Get out of the basement and move to the city.  Comic are (should be considered) art, and art is about being influenced by your surroundings.  Art is in reaction to things that happen, and things don't happen in your mom's basement.  Move to a city, get a roommate, sweat your bills, make connections, go to parties and spread yourself around.  It's all about odds and the odds are against you if you move home after art school.

4. I'm bigger on this one than most artists are but I strongly believe it: learn how to write.  Even if you don't plan on being a writer, it can help you recognize a bad script, improve your own storytelling or give you ideas toward doing a creator owned book one day.  It can only increase your odds.

A lot of "writers" in comics don't know how to write.  If someone wants to pitch something and pay you back end then that means you won't get paid until the writer finds a publisher, puts the books out, sells the book and then receives money after he subtracts the cost of publishing.  It could take a long time to get your money (whatever money there is) and there's always the chance the writer will screw you and not pay you anything.  Any why would you split the profits 50/50 with someone when it takes them a week to write a script when it takes you two months to draw it?  You're taking the risk, not them.  And if they're serious about their story idea then they should offer you something.  Even if it's $100 for a whole book.  Come on, ANYONE can afford to pay you SOMETHING if they really believe they'll make money eventually anyway.  If they don't want to then something's wrong.

Or, if you know how to write (at least better than the "writers"), why not spend a week on something of your own and cut out the middleman.  There's less chance of drama if you're the only one involved.

5. It's good to have influences but be careful about ripping people off.  Looking at another artist from time to time to see how they handle drawing hands is fine, but if you constantly have a Travis Charest book open while you work then you're only hurting yourself.  

Drawing from someone else means you're making an interpretation of an interpretation.  Art should be an interpretation of real life.  Use your thoughts and experiences and make something that no ones else can.  Even if you do manage a really good Charest style your career will only be on the tails of Charest and what kind of legacy is that?  Other artists won't respect you, although a lot of young readers might. Readers will like you or hate you but don't think about it either way.  You want respect from yourself and the artists that YOU respect (because they're like a mirror of you).  

6.  Save your money.  Cut down on your bills.  Make it last.  Money from comics comes in waves so you should be good with money.

7.  It's tempting to draw and post and get that instant feeling of accomplishment from your friends on Deviant but that's not enough to make a career.  Your success will depend on your entire plan of attack and on how much you're willing to sacrifice in order to make it.

Hope this helps.  Sorry to get preachy.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: The Jam
  • Reading: The God Dillusion
  • Watching: History Channel
Han Solo v. Indiana Jones

Such a fight wouldn't be possible.  Once the two Harrison Fords touched they would "timecop", a phenomenon from the movie Timecop that shows the impossibility of the same person in different times being able to occupy the same space.  Basically the Fords would mash together in a jelly-like motion and die.

Chewie v. Bigfoot

This is ridiculous.  Bigfoot doesn't exist.  Those northwestern rednecks have yet to produce one shred of scientific proof.  Ripping the hair off your dog and sending to UCLA with a cast of your cousin's huge foot doesn't prove a thing so give it up.  Let's face it: if Bigfoots existed they wouldn't be as smart as humans because humans are smart enough to build things like guns.  And if Bigfoots existed, a human hunter would have killed one by now, dropping him to the forest floor like the sack of lies he is.  Chewie, on the other hand, existed a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  So there can never be any proof that he DIDN'T exist.  Therefore he did.

Dr. Grant v. the Loch Ness Monster

Again, this doesn't make sense.  Dr. Grant (Jurassic Park) wouldn't be interested in killing the Loch Ness Monster because he's a scientist, and scientists don't kill things.  Especially things that don't exist.  But, for the sake of argument, let's say the Loch Ness Monster did exist and Grant was in a boat waiting for him.  Grant would lose because the monsters vision would be based on movement, and it's impossible to sit in a boat without it moving around a little, therefore the monster's target would be clear and Grant would be dead.

Picard v. Luke Skywalker

Picard.  All the way.  Luke stands for hope, adventure, and the point of his journey is that he becomes a man.  Now put him up against a man: Picard.  Picard stands for science.  And science is based off of fact.  Fact always defeats things based off of hope.  Picard would manhandle Luke and hit him with his owns fists while yelling "stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself.  Engage!"

Batman v. Superman

I'd like to say Batman because he's the underdog.  I'd like to believe that Bruce Wayne, a symbol for the triumph of what the human spirit can achieve given training, hard work, and exercise, would somehow overpower a kid from another planet who didn't do crap to get his powers (other that drool all over himself in a space pod that his parents put him in to get him to Earth).  But Superman would destroy Batman and there's no way around it.  No amount of startling people or appearing behind someone in the dark would save Bruce Wayne from Superman tearing him to pieces at the speed of thought.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Books on CDs
  • Reading: Spider Man 2099
  • Watching: History Channel
Hey all.  

Just to let you know I'll have a table at the New York Comic Con (April 18-20).  I don't know if I'll be doing sketches (bit tired lately), but I'm always up for a chat or you can check out the original art I'll bring with me.  I don't know the table but I'll be next to Dustin Nguyen.

Also I'll be at Wizard Philly with a table, and maybe San Diego.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Books on CDs
  • Reading: Spider Man 2099
  • Watching: History Channel
I have a baseball bat near my door incase of trouble.  I’m not trying to sound like a badass, but I’m in Brooklyn and, even though it’s better than it once was, it’s stupid to let yourself feel completely safe in today’s world.  I’ve never had to use it—mostly it just falls on the floor every now and then.  Once when I was in LA my power kept getting shut off by high school kids from Fairfax High.  I ran around the back with it, ready to kick some ass (my dog ran out with me which was cool ((in case of a battle one day)) ).  Turns out it was a single mother in the building and one of her kids had hit the button.  I dropped the bat in the bushes before she saw me.

I’m not crazy.  Maybe a little paranoid.  Apparently, I exhibit that sort of behavior often, but it’s not a bad thing.  The more defined we all are, the more obvious our decisions should be.

Now lets leave that for a moment.

There was a show on the History Channel the other day about comics.  Like most things on that channel, I think it was done really well.  They interviewed a lot of guys from Miller to Eisner and covered the entire gamut of comics since it all started back in the 1930s from comic strips.

The most interesting part was how it covered the different movements in art and writing in reaction to the changing times throughout the decades.  Things like World War II, Vietnam, racism and communist fear sparked a lot of different reactions in the art world, including comics.  And it got me thinking: how will history view THIS TIME in decades to come?

After the comic crash of the 90s things have been rough, for sure.  I never bought a whole lot of comics and personally think that people are right when they write comics off as being for kids.  BAM!  BOOM!  TWAP! Is what most comics are, unfortunately.  Corporations pump out more of the same each month, rarely allowing a character to truly change.  Yet somehow it goes on and there’s still money to be made.  Currently I’m between both Marvel and DC negotiating exclusive contracts on both sides.  Admittedly, the money is really good for each.  But what surprises me is that they have that money to spend?  Apparently it’s not as dark as it seems.

Fortunately, once in a while something great comes out which re-inflates my passion.  A few times a year books come out that uses the medium in a new, inventive way and whose message is unique and specific.  These books are usually put out by a few people with the most honest intensions and are done so with very little financial return.  And with books like that you can really feel their love of the craft.

But only rarely.

How will history view post 9/11 comics?  Has anything new really been done?  I think so.  Like the rest of the country, the industry took the events of that morning square in the chest and did they best they could to recover.  After the 9/11 charity books came out the companies (Marvel in particular) really incorporated the events into the stories.  Joe Q was actually on the History Channel program talking about how Marvel’s books are primarily based in NYC, therefore Marvel needed to have a response.  And Marvel’s newer line of books really do seem to reflect the reality of terrorist fear and violence, even if it’s below the surface.

But the further away you get from the “big two” the sadder it gets.  Indy guys and small time press is like a drama department from your high school.  New artists don’t want to tell stories, they want to be rock starts and sit on “the other side of the table” and sign autographs.  I rarely meet a new artist who really feels a calling to do something great; something beyond the heaps of small time press.

But I did when I tough at the Joe Kubert school, and once in a while I’ll meet someone new who has that same lost look in their eyes and that void of hope in this new world.  So what should he/she do?

What kind of artist are you?  How can you take your experiences and fears and use them in a creative way to make a story that will bring change?  Once you’ve paid your bills and taken the “money gigs” and sold out a little in order to survive (something unavoidable), what will you do then?  What will your legacy be?  

It’s post 9/11 and there’s a TON of material out there.  People are beginning to vote in record numbers because they’re tired of the same old politicians and realize, in this new internet age, that things could get really bad if humans don’t start bucking up and sacrificing for the greater good of our planet.  Are you going to dive into the swamp of small time press and start slap fighting with the wannabes or are you going to rise above?

Now the disclaimer:

Doing this for a living means I have a lot of time to think about this stuff.  Without kids and a wife and very few bills, it’s easier to me to survive that way and preach this stuff.  It would be nice if all the artists could follow through with their ideals and throw caution to the wind.  But, of course, the real world isn’t like that.

Still, I think the point is valid.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Books on CDs
  • Reading: Spider Man 2099
  • Watching: History Channel
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Pink Floyd
  • Reading: John Adams
  • Watching: History Channel
Once, when I was a kid, I got my braces stuck in my sock.

Here's how it happened.

I was in 5th grade at the time and, like the pimp that I was, I was wearing those cool tube socks that rolled up to my knees.  The top of the socks where marked with two thick, red bars.  The only reason I remember those bars that clearly was because I got a good, long chance to stare at them as my teeth were ensnared between them.

But there were two stories that I began to tell people: one that made it seem like I wasn't such a dipshit but rather the victim of circumstance, and another one that was actually the sad, sad truth.

I'll start off with the lie.

There I was, sitting in my chair during class.  But I didn't sit normal.  If I had, I might have been saved.  Instead I sat with one foot between my butt and the top of the seat with the other foot on the ground.  At one point during history I dropped my pencil, so I leaned over to pick it up.  It was a little out of reach so I really had to strain my body to retrieve it.  I didn't want to get out of my half-pike position, so I strained harder and harder, pulling my lips back as the desk began to tip.  Suddenly the guy in front of me pushed his seat back and slammed my desk into my head, which pinned my face against my sock.  (The guy in front of me was actually Greg from my comic Off Road, whom I unfairly blamed for years after this incident.)

I tried to pull away but it was too late.  The cotton of the sock was knotted around the metal of my teeth and I couldn't seem to pull away.  I looked like I had tried to suck my own balls and got caught halfway down.  I tried to quickly pull free but it didn't work.  Instead I started sweating as I panicked.  I tried pulling free again, but it hurt my mouth.  The drool from my mouth made it hard to try and unhook myself from the soaked fibers.  I remember staring at the floor wondering when people were going to start noticing.  I didn't realize that the teach had stopped teaching and was staring at me along with the other 29 students in the class (it's America, people).  Instead of trying to break free, I began to instead think of an explanation for the day I finally got unhooked.

I don't remember how long I was stuck, but it was enough for everyone to start laughing.  The worst thing was, NO ONE CAME TO MY AID for what felt like 5 minutes.  Finally, the "nerd of the classroom" (soon to be replaced by me) handed me a pair of safety scissors and I was able to cut myself free.

Now…I challenge you to try and find a "cool way" to act after doing such a thing.  It's like when you're walking down a hallway and you almost trip.  Everyone who heard the skuff looks over at you at you catch you balance, but then what?  The cool thing to do (clearly) is to pretend that you like kicking the floor, so you do it a few more times and ignore the odd looks people give you.  But with something as bad as what I'd just done, there's really no cool way to act.  I just started laughing along with anyone else while I wiped the sock and drool from my face.

By the end of the day, everyone in the school had heard about it.  Teachers who I'd never seen came into the room over the next week and joked around with me, telling me that I still had some sock stuck in my teeth.

The best I could do was telling them it was all Greg's fault for slamming my face into my desk.  Sure, I was a dork, but really…it could have happened to ANY ONE OF US!!!

Now, the truth…which is far more embarrassing.

I was sitting in my chair in that weird position for some reason, with my sock dangerously close to my face.  I dropped my pencil, and I picked it up with no problem.  But while I was getting it, I noticed how close my braces came to the cotton.  "Whoa…that was close," I thought to myself.

But then I really started to wonder.  WAS is possible to get one's braces stuck in his sock?  I wasn't sure…so I tried it.  And I tried it again.  It wasn't easy, but eventually I did it.  And…you know the rest.

But how many people are going to believe the second story?  No one, of course.  Besides, it only raises MORE QUESTIONS.  Like what the HELL is wrong with me?

But I think the story brings up an interesting point, one that shows the self-destructive  tendency within human nature.  You've heard that mankind will inevitable end up destroying himself, right?  That's one theory.  And I think there are a few psychologists who have suggested that every man has some amount of desire to bring hell down upon himself.  Whoever it was, I think they were right.

And my story proves it.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Link Ray
  • Reading: Flyboys
  • Watching: Voyager
I have a new website: www.seangordonmurphy.com

It's been YEARS since I created my last website and I was only updating it twice a year, IF THAT.

Tu Nguyen, thank you so much for designing it and doing all the little things with Flash that I'll never understand.  
Hey all.  My IDW book came out for Star Trek Alien Spotlight:  The Borg.  It looks pretty good and Len O'Grady did an awesome job on the colors.  It sold well in pre-orders so there should be plenty out there.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Link Ray
  • Reading: Flyboys
  • Watching: Voyager
My girlfriend hasn't seen Star Wars.  

She hasn't seen Star Trek: anything.  No 2001, no Matrix, and pretty much nothing else that's considered required viewing in the world of science fiction.  The list goes on even outside the world of science fiction: Forrest Gump, The Godfather, Goodfellas, Amadeus, Casablanca and The Great Escape.  She's seen none of these.  If aliens abducted her and asked her what kinds of movies people on her planet liked, those aliens would attack us knowing they would easily destroy us.  If you're enemy like Legally Blonde, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Little Mermaid and Sleepless in Seattle, you wouldn't be scared of him either.

And, yes, he deserves to die.  

But…back to science fiction.

I'm not stupid enough to sit her down and force her to like science fiction because I know that won't work.  I believe that the best way to educate someone is to make him want to learn about it.  Luckily, I sit around and draw comics all day.  And, as most of you know, with that comes an impermeable fortress of science fiction knowledge.

But first, let me say this: there's a lot of bad sci fi out there.  These days, sci fi has become synonymous with action and not with science.  Millions of dollars are blown on one CGI shot, while only thousands are spent on making the script…THE THING THE MOVIE IS BASED ON!  It burns me up when I see how misdirected Hollywood can be.

Star Trek is my favorite.  What got me hooked was Picard and TNG.  The other day I bought the entire series of Voyager, which, although it was hard to admit at first, I like way better than TNG.  I know the original series and I've seen the first seven movies, but I think the heart of what Star Trek is about is best captured in episodic format of TNG and Voyager.  Sisko's voice drives me up the wall so don't ask.

My first attempt was a year ago.  I mentioned how I was into TNG and she rolled her eyes.  But I didn't let up.  

I came at her like ten well executed Battles for Endor with a hundred, million Ewoks.  I told her about how it's not about the science as much as it is about us.  I told her about how hopeless the human condition is and how important it is to look to the future and not just the present.  I told her about how, in Star Trek, everyone works to better themselves and how all the shit that make modern life unbearable (hunger, greed, selfishness, etc) is gone.  I told her about the possibility that everything we experience could very well be a computer program while our bodies are powering machinery.  I told her about the T2 paradox, the brilliance of 2001 and how awesomely bad Queen's music was in Flash Gordon.  Light sabers were flying around, Chewie was doing back flips, and  Han Solo was dodging asteroids behind me as I jabbed my finger into her shoulder while driving my point home.

It didn't work.  Overkill.  So I backed off and went back to my material.  I realized that I needed to find something in sci fi that a girl would be into.  Not a Leia.  Not an Aeon.  Something more respectable and independent.  Like a Captain Janeway.  It was perfect.

Months passed and I didn't mention a thing.  When she brought up something sci fi, I let it go.  I pretended like I didn't care because I wanted to reel her in a little.  If she asked me about what my IDW Star Trek comic was about, I wouldn't tell her and I knew that she'd wonder why.  And that was compelling to her.  Even though she won't admit it today.

Then I endured some of her shows, thus building up points in my favor.  I figured that by watching Gilmore Girls and Sex and the City she would owe me a few shows of my own.  So I started her off on Futurama, the episode where Lela discovered that her parents were with her during her whole life and that she wasn't alone.  And that concept was enough to get me a second episode!  So I showed her the one where Fry leaves his dog in the past, and my girlfriend was crying at the end!  Soon she was watching it on her own, unknowingly getting a dose of sci fi in with her cartoon!  It was perfect.

And then yesterday it all came together in one, glorious moment.  I threw in Star Trek Voyager, the episode where the doctor tries to teach 7 of 9 to date.  Once she got past how large 7's boobs were (something many of us still haven't gotten over), she was into it!  She even laughed out loud!  I think she even nodded her head from side to side when the characters sang "You are my Sunshine"!  But the moment I felt sure victory was when she asked about the holodeck.

"Where are they now?" she asked wondering why there was a dimly lit bar on the ship.

"The holodeck.  It's too hard for you to understand, though, so forgot about it." (me pulling away to create more intrigue.

"What's the holodeck?" she asked.

"I'm trying to watch.  Go away."

"What's the holodeck?!" she jammed her fingers into my armpit and started tickling me.  I finally surrendered.

"It's genius!  It's pure magic!  It's a room where you can create anything you want and it'll seem real!"

"Anything?" she asked.

"Anything!  It's a way for the crew to relax, train, or travel during their off-time without having to leave the ship!" I couldn't believe she was asking.  I've been ready to tell her about the holodeck from the moment we'd met.

She looked back at the television and then back at me.  And then it happened.

"I wish we had a holodeck."

"Me too!  Yes!  I love you so much!  And I can't believe you just said that!" I sang.  She caught her mistake and realized that she had just nerd-ed out.

"No.  No!  That's not fair!" she said trying to back-peddle.  I couldn't start laughing.  Finally I calmed down and put my hand on her shoulder.

"Welcome," I said.  "Welcome to the rest of your life.  What you just said…about the holodeck…about wishing you had a holodeck of your own…that is the essence of sci fi right there."

"But it's such a cool idea!" she argued.

"I know it is, baby.  I know."
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Link Ray
  • Reading: Flyboys
  • Watching: Voyager
When I was 12, I used to draw comics in the attic of an old comic book shop.

The place was run down, nestled into some rainy trees beside an old road in Dracut, Massachusetts, next to an abandoned drive-in and the Merrimack River.  I was joined by about 10 other comic book guys, all of whom were in their 20s and all of whom wanted to draw for a living.

It’s one of my fondest memories, even though none of them liked me much.  I was the one always working, always quiet and a little nervous, usually keeping my head down and listening to them argue about books, movies and heavy metal.  This one guy, Jeremy, would sometimes sit down and prod me about stuff, which at the time, I new nothing about: Pantera, Frank Miller, and The Crow.  He’d stick in tape after tape of his mixes to see my reaction to his tastes in speed metal.  And one day he changed my life forever by introducing me to that artistic/punk rock/anti-establishment/hate-everything-that’s-popular mentality that I’d be dealing with for the rest of my life.

He pulled out Pearl Jam’s album, Ten, and gave me an uncertain look.

“Now, everyone these days is into Pearl Jam,” he said, “which is cool, because they’re a good band and deserve to get played.”  He popped it in and paused, looking at me once again, his finger lingering on the "play" button.  His eyes were looking through me, into my very being.  “Normally I don’t like radio friendly music, but I was into these guys before they got popular.”  I sat there and waited for the tape to play, but he continued standing there and staring at me with that serious look.  

I didn’t know it but I was being introduced to the artistic mentality.

Before they got popular will forever echo in my memory.  When he said it, I didn’t understand what he was talking about, so I filed it away for a while.  Was Jeremy suggesting that it was wrong to like something that was popular?  That didn’t make any sense at all.  I thought it was okay to like “top 40 music” and anything that MTV played.  And my only defense for being so wrong was that I was just a stupid kid.

For those of you who may not realize, what Jeremy said to me is the essence of what the artistic spirit is made of: an unwavering, insensitive, nonsensical, white-hot hatred for things that take away one’s aura of individuality.

Now of course, it doesn’t make any real sense to hate music that’s popular.  Despising Thomas Kinkade paintings will only keep you up at night.  Wishing that Bob Ross fans were burned alive inside a giant Michael’s craft outlet is conducive to nothing.  It’s pointless to smash your TV whenever you see an ad for a Disney vacation.  Walking around in a swarm of hatred with your chin touching your chest and your gaze aimed through your eyebrows with 4 heavy metal records playing inside your head simultaneously is while walking through a rainstorm is, admittedly, pointless.  So why do it?  Why do these artist types do it?

Because someone has to.  Someone has point out that Disney is treating masses of people like they’re the same happy moron who wants to travel to Florida.  Someone has to acknowledge that Bob Ross was a 30-minute hack and that, regardless of the freedom of opinion, it is wrong to like him.  It’s wrong to like Thomas Kinkade, too, along with Boston, Journey, Kansas, and anything that MTV tells you to like.  The laws are made by the man trying to keep us all down, people who go to church are dangerous, and mohawks aren’t supposed to look cool and that’s their point.

Being a demographic is an insult.  And being any kind of demographic is what the artist is against.  So don’t roll your eyes at our unfounded, senseless rage for the things that you like.  And don’t awkwardly cross the street when you see one of us traveling toward you with our feet stomping and our head shaved.  Thank us and our righteous, self-imposed burden because we wear it for you.

It’s been a long time but I still remember the name of the guy who first gave me a wiff of the artistic things to come.  “Before they got popular,” he repeated.  “In fact, a lot of the bands that you hear on the radio, I liked them before they were being played; before other people knew about them.”  Then he pressed play and we hung out and listened to Pearl Jam.  And that’s why I remember that his name was Jeremy.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: The Cramps
  • Reading: Heart Shaped Box
  • Watching: Star Trek