The Voice of Black Snow Comics

He has no fear, He has no sense of shame, He will not stop until everybody everywhere wants to know his name, The one hit wonder, He likes the big time – Dedicated to everyone in Hollywood

First I’m going to reference some things I wrote yesterday, so I suggest you read that, as it was a very open and honest history of Black Snow in a way that I’ve never quite revealed before.

Before I start, I promise my next task will be to go write and draw some Famous!

One thing I said, that I like Black Snow better than I’m Famous!, well, it’s true. I’m not a fool, I know I’m Famous! is better in virtually every respect as it comes to quality, mass appeal, staying focused, style, and basically every other level possible (except depth and complexity of plot). It just will not ever have the same sentimental value for me. Not to say that I don’t love Famous also, because I do. I hope to bring Black Snow up to the same quality level with this Last Call graphic novel.

I also talked about the birth of Black Snow and why we became one of the early webcomics out of necessity. Let me elaborate on that a bit. After seeing Mystery Men with Alex we decided to write a comic book. I had come up with the superhero name Black Snow some time earlier, we used it, and wrote a very crude issue 1. Luckily we forgot about it, continued our other projects (a band, making shorts, writing stories, making fun of people, and just causing general mischief). We were just in our early teens after all.

Fast forward a few years to our later teens. The Tick TV show aired, however briefly, and inspired me. At the same time I made (wrote, filmed some of, acted in) the superhero movie you see below.

On a side note, the Indian actor Sunkrish Bala is fairly famous now. Also, Ben Costa and James Parks have separately published comics. We still kinda keep in touch.

Me, James and Ben at APE 2010
Me, James and Ben reuniting at APE 2010

Anyway, Ben and James were big comic nerds and got me more into it. I picked up the Marvel How to Draw Superheroes book, remembered the characters Alex and I created, and drew some of them. I showed it too him, and we decided to move forward. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) we could not find the issue 1 we had written. We wrote a new one based on memory and new ideas. At some point during the later period of the writing we found the original script. We were shocked and appalled by how bad and different it was. We did salvage whatever decent ideas it had that we had forgotten.

I drew it when I could, and it took about a year to finish. During that time we naively believed my dad when he said if we finished it he would get it published. We somehow thought it would be fairly easy. We also somehow thought what we had created was worthy of publishing. Well, I think my dad was trying to motivate us to complete a project (something that often didn’t happen), or maybe he was naive too. I don’t know. But he wasn’t much help, besides finding a list of publishers online. I submitted to a few, got one nice response (though it was a rejection), felt excited that Dark Horse made us sign something official stating our premise (though it was just to protect them legally), and never heard back from anyone else.

We thought it was going to be easy to get published. We thought we were going to get some fame and fortune. We were dumb teens. Thus the webcomic book was born. Black Snow was partially created out of a genuine love to entertain, to try something new, to pay homage to a medium, and other “good intentions.” But there were definite elements of wanting to hit it big, become famous and live the good life. Funny, in many respects I think of I’m Famous! as a meta joke about our dreams.

Anyway, despite rejection (after rejection), the realization that comic book people aren’t usually truly famous or rich, and learning the fact that the comic industry was dying, we chose to soldier on, and have persevered, even as the industry has continued to crumble around us.

So that’s a bit more honesty about how this all got started.

Now on to the subject of this post’s title. As our blog readers well know, I typically speak for Black Snow Comics. I make and write almost all of the website. I handle the bulk of our social media accounts. I represent us on other comic sites. I handle the “business” needs, like advertising, marketing, technical issues, networking and the like. All things I’ve griped about over the years, wishing Alex would take on some of the burden.

Many people associate me as the comic. I’ve had friends and family that didn’t even realize Alex was a part of the comics at some points. But as I described in the beginning, he was very much an equal creator of all this, and still remains a big part. I always refer to our work, and am happy to give him credit anytime. None of this would exist without him, and I’m aware of that.

For whatever reason he has always chosen to stay silent when it comes to the comic. It’s hard to get him to write content for the site, nearly impossible to get a blog out of him, and difficult to get suggestions or ideas out of him that aren’t about the writing. Like I mentioned, this has been a consistent source of frustration for me. Especially given that I know he is not a quiet guy, is on the internet a lot, and has no trouble writing regularly on his personal accounts. He has stepped things up a little with social media, but not nearly as much as he could.

But my frustration has pretty much abided as I’ve come to some realizations. Firstly, I am the voice of Black Snow Comics, and I will always be. It’s not a bad thing. Maybe it happened because I’m a bit less shy (in certain situations), more organized and more ambitious; and because I made the site. But I don’t see it ever changing.

I realize that in creating the site, even the original GeoCities site, I created the comic’s identity. The website (and thus our identity) has always been heavily influenced by my voice, and in times of question we’ve even gone to the site as the definitive resource. So I sealed my own fate. And Alex never had a problem with any of it. He doesn’t seem to mind letting me lead, and has never really complained. I appreciate that. If he were a greedy or selfish man it would not have been such a smooth partnership (Not that there’s never been bumps! We can both be opinionated hot heads, myself a bit more than him.).

So I now embrace and appreciate my role, which continues to grow as networking, internet representation, and “business” needs become more important. If Alex ever chooses to take on more roles and become more active, well that’s up to him. I’d always be appreciative if he did, but I will not resent him if he doesn’t.

So for better or worse, the world will continue to see Michael Balistreri as Black Snow Comics, and simply hear whispers and mentions of the other guy who hangs out in the background. And if he’s cool with that, then so am I.

Alex, as always, looking uncomfortable in the spotlight.
Alex, as always, looking uncomfortable in the spotlight.

I once had a girl say this song reminded her of me, which she didn’t seem to understand was a blatant insult.

Soon after she said the whole cd reminded her of me….even more insulting as the cd contains a lot of unstable whining. Screw you Sabira. Look where you ended up, miss Hollywood P.A., after sullying your reputation for life with all your explicit entries on Live Journal. The song now reminds me of you!

P.S. I remember everything everyone says about me, and I do hold grudges.

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