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[weds] Platform Occupation (or, I Will Punch You In the Face)

For reasons best left to your imagination, I found myself wrapped in both endorphins and unsugared blood this evening. I was looking for distraction in the Borders, but, sadly, I found the Laurell Hamilton.

And the fellows. But we shall, shortly, get to the fellows. (RSS readers: I'm being conservative; full article on site.)

There is something fundamentally wrong with this situation: imagine two rows of gothically colourful books, lined appealingly in order, across the midst of the horror section. Pluck out any given volume -- something Anita Whatserface, say, or the other thing -- and crack it open. Fate conspired against you: any line you pick, utterly at random, will pertain to the protagonist's hotness. Panties. Flirtations. More panties. Trouser options. Panties.

I couldn't possibly tell you anything more about the Hamilton oeuvre; my greatest fear is that I will, god help us all, find myself in possession of a volume of Hot Queen Merry Goes to the Mall, and the entire thing will reek of Love Hina. "I was so hot. But the Lord High King of the Vampires was a nebbish, so I beat him up and kicked him out of the hot spring. I had clearly chosen the wrong panties. But I was so hot."

Sorry. That one needed out of the system. Let us proceed.

While dithering over a copy of Michelle Tea's Rent Girl (do I want this? Yes? No?), a pair of ... fellows, yes, that's it; a pair of fellows began some sort of incoherent argument across from my head. I couldn't follow it at all. I got the impression that the one with the greasy hair was attempting to persuade the one with the patchy beardalike that he should pick a style at random and base his masterpiece upon it.

"See, look here," Greasy said to Patchy. "This manga stuff? It's designed to look weird." Whereupon he launched into an explanation of how manga was built, from the ground up, in very recent years, to look as bizarre as possible. Also, apparently, the heavy use of armor is some sort of prerequisite for the term. And stripes. (I took the latter to mean "speed lines" -- hardly a prerequisite, but up there with the default casual observation signifiers like "big eyes" and "panty shots" -- until, no, it started to look like he meant "stripes." I am hoping that I misheard chunks of the conversation, because his concept of manga sounded alarmingly like R. CLAMP Crumb's The Hobbit.)

I attempted a withering gaze at this point, but I think I just looked stoned. Note: Next time, Starbucks first.

After making the rounds and gathering up disorganized Fables trades -- when one's train of thought amounts to "god, I really could use some print comics right about now," this is what one does -- Patchy launched into his own tirade.

"It doesn't matter," he said, presumably after a good half dozen comic art traditions had been misrepresented to him. "It doesn't matter what you do. It's all about connections. You can draw any old crap --" and here, his head bobbed in the direction of the two-for-10 tankoubon -- "and it's there if you have connections." Then everything became incoherent again. (In large part because of Greasy. But I digress).

I exchanged glaring for looking stoned again. Didn't say a word. This had gone from tiring me to making me angry, and I couldn't put a finger on it. I wanted to reach across the shelves and shake the guy, apart from not really much wanting to touch the guy. I wanted to punch him in the face. And then, I wanted to yell:

"Shut the fuck up and draw something. Shut the fuck up and draw something. Shut. The fuck up. And draw. Something."(*)

I don't know if this was an unreasonable reaction. (I assume it was, since my next desire was to place vanilla syrup in a frappucino. Let me reassure you that I merely continued to look stoned, then asked my partner if I should buy some Tank Girl. He said to get the Fables. So I did. Then I had vanilla syrup placed inside a frappucino.)

I know that I found myself in a place of profound disconnect. I get tired of "who you know" games. I can fathom the need for professional contacts, buzz between creators, that sort of thing. I can't grasp, however, the mindset which says that one should just not draw the bloody thing due to the lack of same, let alone the expectation that napkin doodles would draw publication after the ex nihilo creation of a bond with... some guy. (I don't know who. Someone. Jackson Pollock's secret love child with Interdimensional Sylvia Plath, perhaps. Don't ask me. I just write shit down.)

God. I mean. Seriously. Shut the fuck up and draw something. Put it in the drawer, and the closet, and get weirded out and draw something else, and do it over and over again if you have to.(**) Make something up. Don't get your strange buddy to explain stripes and armor to you. Do pinups and character sketches and hone them like knives if you have to. Be as scared as you want. Keep them away from your friends, if you don't want them to react. Have a month of block here and there if it has to happen, but don't, like, cop out before you started. Don't give me this shit about connections. Don't give Greasy that shit about connections; he doesn't even know what a line is. Guy. Shut up.

Shut up and draw.

(*) Yes, I know. The stage fright is, I assure you, being worked upon.
(**) You should totally see my closet. Or possibly not.

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Comments

Tonguebiting is an art. I have had to learn to do it several times.

No ones wants thier cableguy explaining why the feng shei in thier mansion is all wrong, or correcting the spelling in thier needlepoins samplers.

I don't even roll my eyes when I overhear conspiracy conversations.

Wait... connections? I'm gonna get some of those!

God, Wednesday, way to be hypocritical. We all know you only got this gig because you know Eric Burns.


(Holy crap, I think my sarcasmometer just exploded!)

jjacques: I believe you have just experienced a sargasm. }:-{D

Incidentally, Patchy is both right and wrong.

In comics, the only way you get work is through connections- knowing people who know people. This is a fundamental truth.

HOWEVER... the way you get to know these people IN THE FIRST PLACE is by DOING SHIT.

Draw. Write. Self-publish. Whatever. Get off your duff and do something to draw attention to your talents.

Then pimp the hell out of yourself, and you'll get your connections... and if you have any talent whatever, you'll get your work.

(And if you have no talent, you'll be employed by Marvel... but I do ramble on. }:-{D )

Kris wins the cookie. Patchy was all, like, "I mustn't so much as put pen to paper" because he felt he didn't know anyone. And I was like, dude, punch. Face. So hard. If you're going to have crippling stage fright, have it on your own bloody merits.

Jeph, it's true. You've seen right through me. I am a horrible, horrible whore of a writer and I'm going to go cry myself back to sleep. My god. How will I ever face the day.

Oh, and, Mckenzee: that one I don't get. If your needlepoint's misspelt, surely that's a bug which needs fixed, at least if it's a display piece?

This should be the style you use for that review we were talking about, Weds.

Well, on the other had you could have had someone like me in my early years, where I drew a comic for bloody three years and didn't show it to anyone.

No, strike that. I didn't only not show it to anyone, I even hid it from everyone, even those who were interested.

The Internet was the best thing that happened to me in this sense.

Nowadays two kinds of people who annoy me:

1) Like Weds said, people who think connections are everything. They're important, but pimping crap doesn't make the crap any better. You've got to have something worthwhile there in the first place.

2) People who think if they slave away and produce good work, people will magically find out about their good work, even if said good work is never shown to anyone or displayed outside of the studio and they never tell anyone about it. Then they whine about how it's not fair someone less skilled gets accliam when they can do better. (Well duh!)

Oooh. I needed to vent that.

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