Thursday, 14 August 2008

a final comment on the San Diego Comic Book Convention.
I've been having an uneasy relationship with the world of comics over the last few years. It's a world I had never intended to engage with. I had always wanted to be an artist of a serious sort, offering my observations and commentary on life as it is lived in our times, an author sought out for his wisdom and insight. How I came to get mixed up with this subculture of the fantastical I cannot now recall. The medium of the cartoon strip has been inexorably drawn into its vortex though I have protested the trend at every turn. I had lofty aspirations, even when I was I was the last in the bar in Dallas with Lou Ferrigno and the first Klingon, or in Brisbane when I phoned the wife of my bosom to get the okay to invite Darth Vader and his wife to dinner.
As a four day convention wears on, my capacity to embrace the incongruities weakens and I start to think of the convention and the whole world of comics as 'an exrtravaganza of baloney.' I actually said that in an interview, somewhat shamefully since I was a guest of the show. I had cut out as the event closed down to do a half hour interview by phone from my hotel room for Comic Book talk Radio. That one's fine and you can listen to it there I guess, though I haven't checked to see whether I'm an idiot in it. After completing the task, I couldn't find any of my pals in the hotel bars around the place and never said cheerio to them. We only meet once a year or two years or more. Tumbling into the bar at the Marriott I found myself accidentally doing yet another interview, caught out and about without my soundbites, and in a mood going sour.
Oh well.
7 a.m. flight. At least I got to avoid that state in which I often find myself on the Monday morning after a con, in a collapse of depression, partly chemically induced I admit, in which I kill time before my flight by watching the next wave of conventioneers arrive in town, all suits and business and orderliness, with their spiral bound programs and severely cheery welcome wagon. Gone are the rebel x-wing pilots who swarmed the breakfast bar the day before, beautifully imperfect in their gaudy orange suits, the zombies, the cartoonists who got in a punch-up (I DID give you the color guides!), and the spiderman doggie, gone back to their humdrum offices or to slouch under the old tree, or to put that autograph on ebay.
By the time I'm in Chicago a pressing sadness has fallen upon me.
I forgot to go down the far end of the hall to look at the owl ship.


(photo source)

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8 Comments:

Blogger Yoga Gal said...

Dear Edward- Shame on you! You are an "artist of a serious sort"! Last night I read your wonderful graphic novel "The Fate of the Artist", I'm so happy that I didn't read your work before you took the bar stool next to me at the Marriot Bar & Lounge, for I would be far too intimidated by your genius to speak to you! I have often passed up the opporunity to meet writers I admire - your fellow English friend Neil Gaiman is one author I admire but have made it an effort not to meet him by attending of his book signings or even speak to him when I passed him in the hallways of last year's Comic Con. I'm afraid if I was aware of your greats gifts and talents I would had avoided speaking to you as well. Your book was wonderful and full of human truth! An artist is not just someone who draws pretty paintings or spins great tales but who searches deep into the core of the human experience. You my friend are a true artist! So stop being so hard on yourself! I love your poetic turn of words, "wife of my bosom" indeed! Namaste - geri

14 August 2008 5:47:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Austin Kleon said...

Yes. Just remember that your words and your works mean a great deal to some of us outside of the baloney realm...

14 August 2008 6:15:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I had always wanted to be an artist of a serious sort, offering my observations and commentary on life as it is lived in our times, an author sought out for his wisdom and insight. How I came to get mixed up with this subculture of the fantastical I cannot now recall."

Bacchus? It was my gateway drug to your Alec works, in part because of its (smarter) resemblance to superheroics.

I remember reading of Vonnegut's complaints about being pigeon-holed as a science-fiction writer even though many of his books had nothing to do with aliens or teleporting or time travel. The ones that did were enough to get him stuck in that category for a time. I think part of the problem is as much the comics community clinging to the sense of legitimacy achieved by comics published in "real" books by "real" publishers and sold in "real" bookstores (much as the sci-fi community clung to its occasional authors of "real" fiction with sci-fi trappings) as it is the wider media condescending to recognize books that are "really just" comics.

One huge problem librarians open up by shelving such books in the juvenile section is the question of how many more times works like Fun Home will be pulled off the shelves and questioned as appropriate.

Michael Grabowski

14 August 2008 10:47:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

You know, someone gave me a great bit of advice which has helped me a lot in the past month, so I'm going to pass it on to you. Don't focus on what you don't want, because you'll only attract more of that to you. Think about what makes you happy, and focus only on that. The more you put your mind to those things which give you joy, the more your mind will show you the way to more of those things. Then you can start to change things your way. I've been getting a lot of art jobs since I took this advice so I must be doing something right.

14 August 2008 11:30:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

You are an artist of the serious sort, Eddie. You do your work and you do it seriously.
Why should you let the tomfoolery around you get you down? Just because you are attending the convention does not mean that you HAVE to wear a batman costume...
I'd have to go with Christopher's advice.
(you are not getting depressed on us again, are you?)

15 August 2008 12:40:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An artist? I thought you wanted to be a cowboy

Best

15 August 2008 2:35:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Yeah, but he wants to be a SERIOUS cowboy

Oxtay!!

15 August 2008 3:04:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous wayne beamer said...

My dear Edward,

After completing the task, I couldn't find any of my pals in the hotel bars around the place and never said cheerio to them. We only meet once a year or two years or more.

I missed that ritual parting late Sunday too. Then again, I was with your Oz pals who would've been glad to have been found by you for a post-con meetup. Maybe next time...

BTW, does The Playright have an official home yet?

Yer pal,

Wayne

15 August 2008 3:34:00 pm GMT-5  

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