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Monday, October 11, 2010

Comics: the Con

written Sunday night at 7pm.

At Botanica, drinking Happy Hour drinks, the con weekend over before it ever began. Boston is probably back in Massachusetts by now, Reilly on his way back to Hoboken, Doug'll be back in Utah by tomorrow, and Khoi (with Heather & baby Gideon) are probably driving back to Pennsylvania at this moment.

I spent all day at the Comicon on Friday which just wore me out. I spent Saturday napping, then went out to the MTV party, after drinking in the New Yorker with Boston, mocking TV shows and spitballing ideas. The MTV party was surreal watching as comic celebs all drunkenly danced to hip hop.

I left with Boston and his friend to hit up the East Village where we fit in some dancing time at Beauty Bar before being denied entry into Lit and winding up at Remedy Diner. I was well and sober by the time we came downtown so the grumpiness took over.

I had talked it over with Tim for a bit before, about how we're these mid-level professionals who have done some comic work but not anyone with any pull or weight. And we're far from fan boys who're blowing money on show exclusive books and statues and toys, waiting on line for an autograph from so and so. Whatever happened to the fun of comics?

I imagine I would only enjoy a con again if I had a small child that I could walk around in costume. For now, I'm making face time with some cool people who are friendly aquaintances but not quite friends. Just biding my time until my books come out and can really join the gang of creators that I know.

My girlfriend's galley copy of her book came out today and she signed free copies. What must that be like for her? After being the sole creator on an epic 192 page graphic novel and having it put out by Abrams, one of the more legit publishers out there, here it was, her first comic come to life. I'm so proud to be with her.

I tried not to let my melancholy affect her, but it came out. It just frustrated me to not be able to soak up all the con had to offer and feel invigorated. To be able to acknowledge that the industry is growing and so every show gets bigger and bigger. Why can't I look into that crowd and see anything positive?

All I see is sadness, loneliness. Imagination packaged as product and slapped with a price tag. Looking to my future I see long weekends hocking my wares to an inclusive audience jaded by an oversaturated market. Please buy what I helped create. Give me money so you can distract yourself for a moment. Live someone else's adventure for a snippet of time.

Why can't I look at it as enjoyment of entertainment? Maybe because I don't enjoy it anymore. Every comic I read is research. I've dissected the medium to the point where I see all the behind the scenes movements, and so I never let myself be absorbed by the story.

That just sucks. I've loved comics to the point where it became my identity, then I assumed it needed to be my career, because what else would I do? After crafting a graphic novel I know fully what goes into creating every single comic page. Something someone will pass over in a minute or less.

But hopefully the sum of the parts will be more long lasting. I can really only believe that the total story will move someone, inspire someone, at the very least entertain someone. I don't know though, is that enough? Is that what I want? To spend so much time creating something that people will consume like a snack?

I want to make a bigger impression upon the world. To write something of substance that makes a difference. I know that through story and characters you can make a bigger impact rather than straightforwared dry instructional text. But when it comes to making a living, getting paid for your work, you need to think of the market, the audience's money, and giving them what they want.

The fine line between honest artistic expression and formulaic fluff entertainment, that's what I have a problem with. I just can barely afford to feed myself, let alone spend money on something that I'll read once, so any story put out there needs to be epic. Though new stories need to be created all the time to feed the pop culture machine as it reaps the dreams of people, nuturing the dreams of others.

Maybe I'm overthinking it. Okay, I'm definitely overthinking it. But I'm a writer and can not help it. I'm spending so much time crafting ideas into words and putting them down, let alone convincing artists to illustrate those ideas to get them out there. I need to question motives and reasons.

Then comes the idea of validation. Would readers, building an audience, give me something I'm missing? I know you're supposed to just focus on creating and not worry about how it'll be received, but would knowing that people read this make me feel any different?

It actually does. I have heard some mentioning that people have read my blog and it kind of makes me feel like I'm not wasting my time. What's the correlation between needing to express myself and needing it to be read? Where does that leave me? Either as a repressed overthinker or an emotional exhibitionist.

I don't know. I guess I just want my ego to be stroked because my self-esteem as a creator is drastically low. Well, I should explain. I love my work. I think my writing is genius and among the best work I've read. The fact that people rarely proclaim anything about my writing to me makes me doubt that.

But I try and bleed honesty on these pages, tapping out truths with every keystroke. I strive to understand something so fundamental it can only be summed up as "Why?". Why create? Why write? Why put something else out there when so many people are trying so hard to as well? What do I have to offer that's unique?

Do I have anything to offer that's unique?

I guess that's every artist's question at some point. For awhile you do what you do without thinking too much about it, then at some point you want a career and then wonder, how can I get paid for this, should I be paid for this?

I would like to be paid for writing stories.


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