I don’t like the phrase, “That ship has sailed.”
I prefer the George Eliot quote “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
That said, there are things that would have felt less pathetic if I had tried them in my early 20’s than in my late 40’s. Today, I could still take my first hallucinogenic mushroom, but instead of watching the stars swirling over Ithaca Falls, reality would invert itself like a pocket while I emptied my dishwasher. Could I still go to Burning Man and spend 3 days wandering around naked? Definitely. But instead of being one of the joyous young nudists holding hands in a circle, I’d be the guy with the graying back hair, hacky-sacking alone.
Comedian Bill Santiago’s father once told him: “It’s not too late…but hurry!” That sums it up.
2:29 am. Los Angeles is sleeping all around me.
Scary moment #1: I’m walking our dog near Beverly and Beachwood at 9:30 pm when I hear a wailing scream from across the street. Scream, then silence. It sounds like a small dog in the mouth of a coyote. I look back and see a man walking in the same direction as me but across the street. Suddenly he screech-wails again, at the top of his lungs,and adrenaline floods my compartments. Ollie is petrified and can’t decide whether to hunch down or run. Me neither. I start walking faster, dragging Ollie with me. When I look back I see him walk into a house I had already passed, muttering “asshole…asshole.” Was that Tourette’s syndrome? If so, it’s awful.
Scary moment #2: 10:30pm. I’m on the computer trying to sort out a tax problem when Ollie starts barking his head off by our front window. I go outside expecting to find a cat. Instead, I hear a strange beeping coming from the side of the house. That’s when a very thin man with shoulder-length brown hair comes around from the side of my house. “Fight or Flight” get all the attention, but I often choose Stand There Petrified.
"You smell gas?" he asks me. It’s some guy from the Gas Company and his meter is making the beeping sound. Wrong address.
When I came back inside, I gave Ollie a treat for being a good sentry. Then I locked the door, set the alarm, drew the following completely unrelated drawing, and went to bed riiiiiiight…now.
After more than half a year of NOT posting, I’m back.
I feel like a deadbeat dad who returns to the house with promises that he’s changed and that, by God, from now on he’s going to be around. But let’s not kid ourselves. Even though I love writing and drawing, and showing my stuff to people, I go in streaks: stretches of productivity followed by no work, and moments of regular communication followed by that cartoon outer-space silence that’s punctuated by satellite beeps.
I could beat myself up more, but it’s getting late. Quick summary: I’m still writing for CONAN, still trying to put together 24 funny pages for “Seething With Joy #2,” and still honing my comedy and drawing skills to make you like me.
A few doors down from the Comic Expo I went to today at the Long Beach Convention Center they were holding the World Jiu Jitsu Expo and Spring Tournament. I took a wrong turn and wound up next to bunch of intense, broken-nosed guys lining up to get into the tournament. Then I went up a flight of stairs and knew I was among my own when the fans started looking more like this guy:
Comic conventions are the last refuge of the two-strap backpack user.
I have to thank Recliner of Rage-aholic Pierre Bernard for the pass to get me in. Since I published Seething With Joy, Pierre has seen to it that I attend Wondercon, this Comic Expo and the Anime Convention in June. At THAT convention, we will have a table and I’ll get to see a convention from the vantage point of people like Angus Oblong of “The Oblongs” fame. I found him dressed in clown makeup and manning a busy booth in front of a more iconic image of himself.
I’d never heard of him before, but a glance a some of his work made me fork over my first $20 bill of the day.
I bought a lot of other comics as well—some because I liked them but others out of…I don’t know…pity? niceguyness? I’m not a fan of graphic novelettes about vampires that feature page after page of silent panels, dark colors, and brooding sociopaths drawn from overhead but I have one right here, right next to me, and the earnest guys in black tee shirts who made it have my eleven bucks and a copy of Seething With Joy.
As I wandered around, I saw a lot of raw materials for the Hollywood dream factory. I don’t know if Lions Gate is champing at the bit to make a movie out of “Abortion Eve” an underground comic from the 1970’s debating the complexities of ending a pregnancy ($75), but chances are some articulate pilot fish at the studios will flip through a copy of “Blazin’ Brandy” and consider sending it to Megan Fox’s people.
Three exotic women in tiny shorts and bustiers hawking an upcoming “Ninja Turtles” project?- Here
Nearly-a-dwarf woman in a Wonder Woman outfit? “-Here
Guy dressed as Doc from the Back To the Future movies hiding from the sun under an umbrella? -Here
Guy with a very tall paper cylinder wrapped around his head with Dilbert’s face drawn on the front? -Present
Two imperial storm troopers allowing themselves to get shot at with Nerf Darts? -Yes, Lord Vader
Not long after talking to Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg and his wife Sue I bumped into Matt, a guy I’d met at WonderCon in March who had recognized me as the Euro Guy character I played on Late Night. I was flattered when he approached me again, and only a little hesitant when he pulled out a phone and asked me to leave a message for his brother in my Euro Guy voice.
I fumbled and faltered through the message, trying on the fly to remember the voice of the character I’d played back in 2008. When I handed him back his phone I couldn’t tell if he was a little disappointed but if you were, Matt, that makes two of us.
On the way back to Los Angeles, I drove through nearby Harbor City because there’s a market there that specializes in food from Spain, where my parents are from. As I added the pounds of chorizo and cheese into my shopping basket, I could sense my arteries getting nervous, the way I’d feel if I noticed the movers next door were bringing in lots of rifle cases.
Here’s a page from “Seething With Joy” called Pretentious Things I Said At the Party.
The response from everyone who’s read the comic book has been positive. I took some copies to WonderCon last Saturday and handed them out to a pretty random assortment of people. I think the only thing they had in common was that they were polite when we made eye contact.
WonderCon itself was fascinating: a 3-day un-choreographed line dance between buyers vendors that wound up Hoovering about $90 out of my pocket. And it wasn’t just comic books and autographs from Lou Ferrigno, either. I ALMOST pulled the trigger on a Utilikilt (solid-color kilts with lots of pockets for tools) because the guys wearing them in the display area looked like warriors. Plus I kept seeing myself climbing stairs six at a time because of the extra freedom. But I know who I am, and the last thing I need is another outfit that I only wear when my family is out of town. I’m talking to you, auto mechanic’s jumpsuit I bought two years ago.
This was my first comic convention because, despite the fact that I wrote and drew a comic book, I’m not a huge comic book fan. For the first 1/2 hour I walked around with a thick coat of ironic distance, feeling pity and superiority to the people who were dressed like The Joker. But if you stay with any group of people long enough, you wind up seeing their humanity and their frailty, and you realize they’re not so different from you. I wound up loving WonderCon and the people there. That’s why I’ll never go to a cat show.
Okay, it’s up now, and here’s the link to it: http://bit.ly/yiR6Yl
As soon as I figure out how to, I’ll add some images to the IndyPlanet site. But if you’re reading this on my tumblr page, you just have to scroll through my past postings to get an idea of what’s in store.
Thanks to Tony & Jen at Ka-Blam and IndyPlanet. I can’t wait for Seething With Joy to be available as a DIGITAL comic for all my cheap/impatient friends.
Hey Everyone! My comic book “Seething With Joy” is finally available!
Unless you want a copy!
IndyPlanet.com is supposed to offer copies of it, but I just entered “Seething With Joy” into the IndyPlanet search field, and it didn’t come up.
I have a message out to them to find out why, and I’ll keep you posted.
For now, the only place you can get a copy is on the 3rd floor of the “Conan” production offices. You’ll come into my office, ask for a copy, offer to pay for it, and I’ll say, “No! No! Just take one.” Why? Because I want to be liked at any cost (in this case, $4.00).
I almost took some Seething With Joys to the Writers Guild Awards last night because Patton Oswalt was going to be there. He’s a comic book fan, and I wanted to give him an “earlier-than-everyone-else” copy, so he could read it and tell his comedy royalty friends about it, but I got cold feet. I didn’t want to be milling around the event with a stack of stuff under my arm. It would’ve looked weird and desperate, which is what I am, but don’t want to appear.
Berkley Johnson, a former “Conan” writer who’s now with “The New Girl” was at the awards show last night and I was telling him about the comic book. I’m proud of it, but I was downplaying it, saying, “It’s really autobiographical and self-indulgent.”
"So basically," he said, "You made a One Man Show that you can read on the toilet."
Yes! Exactly! Do you know how many toilets there are in English-speaking countries? Ka-ching.
Hi everyone, Here’s Page One of “Seething With Joy.”
If I were redrawing it for today, I think I’d add a high speed when thinking about the Apple company and how they tolerate the awful working conditions in their China factories. (Hand me that soap box) I know every tech company exploits Chinese labor, but Apple’s PR campaigns imply that the company is more optimistic, more humane, more forward-thinking than the rest….I’m going to say 95mph for Apple’s tolerance of modern-day indentured servitude, but mostly for my gullibility and naivete.