Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paper Tide

It was 2003. Seattle's Best Coffee was being taken over by Starbucks, and the writing was on the wall. I had made an acquaintance with B. Clay Moore and he gave me a second great opportunity to work with him, this time on Jai Nitz (Nitz's?) Xeric-award winning book Paper Museum. I blew it.

Computer illiterate and heedless of the realities of publishing, I nearly gave these pros aneurysms. They finally accepted the work I had produced, more than a handful of panels sloppily "rendered", and somehow managed to get the whole package together and printed just in time for Comic-Con International.

Newly unemployed, I spent my savings and a little longer than a week in San Diego. They let me sit at their table and I met a lot of their fans while they were out getting optioned for movies and whatnot. By itself, the Artist's Alley section out west is bigger than the entire convention in Chicagoland! And there, I met a lot of other dudes like me who could not possibly meet a deadline, but who loved comics and just wanted to draw. And the scales fell from my eyes.

I flew home, took multiple part time jobs and let night fall on my dreams of becoming a comics professional. But I always love comics, and when I visited Alternate Reality for the first time a few weeks ago I was pleased and surprised to see this Paper Museum sitting on the indie rack. I had never seen it in a store before! Of course, I could have left it for someone not actually involved in the production of the title to discover...

Then again, it had been there for SEVEN YEARS... waiting...

(I also picked up some Glamourpuss and Kirby Five-Oh!)

And when I saw that another contributor, Tom Fowler, was going to be at C2E2 a week later I decided to bring it out and have him sign it. Which I did, and he did, and you should buy his book so they'll hire him to make more... you want to read this...

And then minutes later I saw Clay standing behind Jeremy Haun's table, and before I knew what I was doing I was walking up to him grinning like an idiot and asking for his autograph. He chuckled and asked me if I was serious and we chatted for a minute... and life goes on. You know, I am sure I caused him some gray hairs, and I will always feel bad for it. And still he was gracious and professional like, and it made me want to try again. Because it's not easy to do what you love, but if you really love it you keep trying.

So thanks, Clay, for the inspiration.
And if anybody out there wants to enjoy a (mostly) well-crafted labor of love in comic book form, check this book out. It may be lurking where you least expect it.

But not my signed copy!

No comments:

Post a Comment