In continuing my rant from the week prior, I have again gone out in a conscious effort to expose myself to something new and outside of my comfort zone. This is the simple request I have made of everyone out there, yourself included, and as I am unwilling to ask anyone to do that which I myself am unwilling to do, this is where we find ourselves.
The point with this little exercise is to give something new a chance with the hope that you get off your couch and buy a new CD or pick up a new book.
My complaint is we find ourselves setting our 'tastes' and it takes an act of Congress to get us to deviate from them. Here's your Act of Congress then.
Just this week, while at work on break sketching out a page from The Portland Express, a coworker approached me to talk comics. I will never turn away one of these convos if it gives me the dual opportunity of shilling my shit or making a convert to comics in general, so I indulged. He gave me his story, I listened patiently. Bought since the 90's...collected titles...got burned by the collector war of the same decade...still reads X-Men.
I sat patiently and when he was done I asked my 2 questions.
1) What was the last comic you bought that you liked?
2) Why did you stop buying comics?
These are questions you need to ask EVERYONE you meet. The answers will amaze you.
The last one ghe bought was an X-Men title he couldn't even remember details about....and he stopped buying comics because they got too repetitive. There wasn't anything new out there. I showed him Nails and he liked it...so let's hope I sent another fan down the chute of Creator Owned comics.
On to the goods for the week.
Comfortably Dumb by Loyd Gant
Kind of hard to get a gauge on this but I am talking about it anyway for a very specific reason. First the points, then the reason.
The comic is only one page so far. That one page is done in a pop-art inspired cartoonish fashion. It is also very well done. The panels are clear, the lettering is readable and there is a point that flows through it from one panel to the next. I want to see more. Now the reason I included this one pager as a new comic. It isn't really a new comic in the biblical sense. It's only one page. The artist has nothing more than that up. Either he ran out of time (which happens) or he got zero support and simply stopped. I'm leaning on the latter here. That is in my opinion the worst aspect of this artform. We hate each otehr. Well...not hate...that's the wrong word, but it's pretty damn close. It's probably better to say we're scared to death of each other. This business has us all climbing up a pole. The same pole. And it's covered in grease. We're so insular in focusing on our technique that we don't make the time to say to someone else, "Hey...nice pole climbing." Well Lloyd is climbing quite well.
It really bothers me at times when I look at the dynamics of comic making from the outside and see everyone shoving their way over each other to say "Hey! Look at my shit, dude!" There is a fear built into us from jump that someone will steal our idea...or that someone will accuse us of that themselves. That fear is the driving force, I think, in preventing comics like Lloyd's from getting the feedback it needs. Hell...it's the same with MY webcomic. People seem afraid to say "Well done, man" when they come across something that was indeed, well done. The fear stops em cold. Am I worried someone will steal my ideas? Of course. It has happened 3 times so far...each time by Marvel. I look at that as a sign that I was on the right track with that particular idea, but not ready to implement in their eyes. A backhanded compliment, if you will.. Do I want vengance? No. I want us to accept that there are creators who need support and I want us to give it to them. I do NOT want, however, for us to fall over ourselves calling crap great. Friends do that all the time. If you are a friend of a comic artist...spare him the misery of your compliments if all you're doing is being a good friend. You are NOT helping him. If he drew crap, you need to tell him. You are his friend. It's better he hears it from you than get his head inflated and eventually popped down to earth by someone who actually doesn't care about his feelings. Those who are being read almost flat-out refuse to look at someone's new work for fear that person will sue. It's insane. Without the feedback from working professionals, many talents simply die on the vine.
These are ALL traits we want to be known as having, and they only take a moment of actualy listening to our consciences.
Your friend will thank you in the end.
But read Lloyd's comic when he gets more than one page up. I think it's gonna be fun.
This one will seem like 'duhr' moment for anyone who actually has listened to this band. It's been my brother's favorite for a while now. But I always said, "Not Interrested." when he said you oughta listen to these guys. I thought his tastes were garbage and these guys must be as well. It was this movement that I am pushing here that changed t his. I am willing now to GIVE something a chance rather than dismiss it out of hand and in this case in particular, I have NO shame admitting I was wrong here. These guys are good.
This is the song that did it for me. Help Me I listened to this one about 30 times during a drive home recently. Stuck in traffic affords you that opportunity. Everything here made my like button go off. The 70's retro horn funk...the lyrics
"No, I won't kill you, but I'll watch you die."
"Cool can only be killed, never absorbed."
If this experiment has shown me anything it is that my last 39 years on this planet have been wasted. The simple act of deciding I will give that a try paid off. Is that always going to be the case? Hell no. I know I'm going to get my ears raped or my eyes assaulted on this trip of mine. But the fear of that is gone now. I KNOW that I was wrong in keeping myself comfortable. And I can only pray you decide to take action here. Don't read my comic just because I ask you to. Read it because it's something new and you decide to give it a shot.
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