Let the Good Times Roll

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time you’ve probably started to get a sense of what kind of person I am.  In short, I say what I think.  I don’t hold back.  I don’t do a lot of preplanning or self censoring.  I’m not cold or calculated.  I’m honest, possibly to a fault, and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve.  If I’m mad at you, you’ll know it.

So yeah, that’s me, more or less.  So obviously that’s part of the way I write.  I like to share my frustrations with my work, but I also try to share some of my happiness and enthusiasm.  It seems I have a lot of ups and downs, or at least feel as if I do.  Sometimes, often times, the downs seem to outweigh the ups, though that is all a matter of perspective I suppose.

Let me tell you about a couple of things that occurred recently.  The other night I returned from a bachelor party and decided to check my mail.  What did I find?  Slave Labor Graphics finally decided to get off their ass and respond to my Black Snow submission from a couple months ago. Flashback about 6 years ago to me receiving a rejection letter from SLG, which was the little comic book publisher located about 10 minutes away from my house.  The letter was personalized and pretty encouraging, especially given the context.  The gist was they liked Issue 1 and Black Snow as a concept, but it wasn’t a good fit for them at the time.  Please try again some time.  Back to the present, I received a generic rejection form which coldly stated that my work (Issue 4 and possibly 3(not sure if I sent both)) was likely not up to their quality of standards.  Underneath was a check box list to tell me what specifically was wrong with my submission, that I had put a lot of work into by the way, more so than any other publishers’.  The box that was checked?  “Need to work on the basic fundamentals of your craft: writing, drawing”  What the fuck SLG?  Don’t sugarcoat it for me, tell me what you really think!  Oh, and the letter said not to try and contact them about it because they are too busy and important to talk to me, and don’t try to submit again for a long time.  What happened in these few short years?

I don’t know.  Now I only live about 5 minutes away from them.  I never gave up, followed their original advice, and worked hard hard on my drawing; yet now they tell me I suck and I’m not good enough for them.  Now they are big shots apparently, and they can’t be bothered by a nobody like me.  Funny, last time I checked the industry was dying and had gotten considerably worse in these last 6 years, so I’m not sure how they got such big heads.  Black Snow isn’t up to the esteemed caliber as such classics as Gloom Cookie, Filler Bunny, Hsu and Chan, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, A Bag of Anteaters or Mr. Night?  Give me a break.  SLG, I’ve seen your work and it ain’t so great.

Normally this letter would have depressed me, and momentarily it did and I questioned my talent.  Then you know what I did?  I sat down and finished tackling a pretty difficult page of Black Snow.  Page 24 of Issue 6 to be specific.  It was a lot to include on one page and had one very tricky panel, a close up portrait of Brad and his brothers.  I sat down, thought about it a little, drew it, finished it, and loved it.  Nothing changed for me.  I did what I do.  I didn’t let the SLG’s extreme ignorance and lack of taste get to me, and I feel all the better for it.  I draw because I enjoy it, not to impress publishers.  Good thing too, because they don’t seem very impressed.

Something else happened today.  Andrew Miller of Something Awful e-mailed me, in response to what I wrote about him on my blog.  It was a very cordial quasi apology where he took the time to explain himself.  It was a thoughtful gesture on his part.  I appreciate it and honestly, I’m not angry about what he wrote anymore.  I haven’t been for awhile.  It’s actually funny to read it now.  So a man I once hated turned out to be a pretty decent guy, while I company I once respected turned out to be assholes.  Similarly a little over a month ago I contacted the other, new comic calling themselves Black Snow, and I was considerably angry at the time.  Actually there were two other comics using the name, one just decided to do it in Japanese.  well, the Japanese one was a jerk, but his comic really sucks and is no threat.  The other guys turned out to be really nice and changed their name to Black Winter.  It was a nice surprise.  People can be hard to read and you never really no how they’ll react I suppose.

Is there a moral or reason to any of this?  No, not really.  I told you I don’t really preplan.  If anything I guess it’s to be good to me and I’ll be good to you.  I’m not out to make enemies, but I don’t mind having them either.  So don’t fuck with me.

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