HOT FUDGE, HERE COME THE JUDGE
Ms. Dynamite, A Little Deeper begins the work night; we’ve already transitioned into Robbie Williams, Escapology, but our first couple of listens when this arrived yesterday didn’t really knock my socks off, so it might get vetoed. Particularly since I learned the other night that I require some peppy pop music if I really want to crank on Rayearth. I started with the second disc from the recent anniversary edition of Ziggy Stardust and followed with something else that escapes my memory right now, but it wasn’t working. So I kicked into Britney Spears’ classic second album, Oops!…I Did It Again and it really got me moving. I only needed the 3-track Alicia Keys single for “How Come You Don’t Call Me?” to wrap it up—finishing volume 5. It felt like a longer haul than it should have, and I’m only 31 pages into volume 6. I want it done by Christmas.
I got asked to pitch a story to a big comic book. I don’t want to say which one, because I don’t think I should, but I am really having a hard time figuring out what to do. I like to pitch stuff that plays to my strengths, so folks like you can pick it up and enjoy it and also because I don’t want to squander the opportunity by stepping too far outside what I am good at and screwing it up. I doubt I’d make a good mainstream comics writer, essentially. Judd Winick tells me it’s easier than I think to get used to it, and I can see where writing something like Green Lantern how you could get into a groove. I remember arguing with someone on some message board about that specific topic, and I theorized that writing superhero comic book plots was no great feat. Plots are pretty standard, so as long as you have the ability to write some characters, you can easily make a good comic. As I said, it was just a matter of figuring out who your hero is fighting with that month, no big deal, and then spend your time focusing on the people in the periphery. Boy, that didn’t go over big.
I already tossed the editor one idea that I thought was pretty cool, but it's been done apparently. Bugger. My goal is to maybe find an idea that can sort of backdoor in this other proposal I have sitting on the same editor’s desk. I currently have four proposals in limbo with two different editors at two different companies, and I am actually approaching a year of waiting on a couple of them. So, again, it’s a matter of trying to make the opportunity work to the best advantage for me. If it works at all.
Also, with all this talk of Martin Scorsese, I caught the earliest screening possible of Gangs of New York today, and I was totally enthralled by it. Marty totally makes me want to make a movie, and I have an itch to dust off the screenplay idea I have listed on my site--This is the Way the World Ends. That way I can have the soul-crushing experience of watching my love butchered. It’s funny, in fact, because when Joe Nozemack saw it in my projects list, he said, “Great title.” I replied, “Too bad that will likely be the first thing any studio will make me change.” I mean, I can hear the conversation: “No one wants to see a movie about the end of the world. It’s depressing.” “You don’t understand. Yeah, the world ends, but it’s an uplifting, romantic action story.”
It’s hard, because the experience of writing Cut My Hair was completely devoid of interference. Granted, some of you would say you can tell and that’s why the book has faults, but good or bad, that was how I needed to do it. And now I am spoiled. I need an editor like myself who isn’t afraid to let the creator run wild. And that’s not going to happen on movies or mainstream comics. In fact, it’s weird that I consider work-for-hire comics with other people’s characters at all. It used to be I couldn’t fathom doing that kind of work. In my younger, idealistic days, I had no idea why a writer like Greg Rucka, with four novels under his belt, would want to waste his time writing Batman. It’s not a mystery anymore. In Greg’s case, he loves the stuff, so he does it for the joy of writing—no shame there. In other cases, I can also see a practicality for taking such an assignment. I mean, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote shitty articles for shitty magazines, and even doctored screenplays. Bills, bills, bills. Plus, you gotta pay your dues somewhere.
And with the manga, Kelly Sue DeConnick and I have talked about one good reason for doing it--which I think I've mentioned before. She’s just started her first book, and she sees it the same way I do. It allows you to flex certain muscles you might not flex otherwise.
I took a quick shower to get the blood pumping. The coffee wasn’t kicking in, and frankly my digestive system couldn’t take another cup. Sometimes hot water can work where caffeine fails. Elvis Costello’s All this Useless Beauty has been on rotation in the bathroom stereo all week. Getting four double-disc albums at one time makes for a meaty Costello experience, giving a lot to feast on without tiring of the meal.
Post-Robbie, we moved into some choice cuts from Moulin Rouge. Bowie and Massive Attack still slay me with their “Nature Boy,” which in its own way is one of the saddest songs ever written, while also being strangely creepy (sort of like Sinead O’Connor doing Elton John’s “Sacrifice” – they give me the same mood, and interestingly, I discovered both songs through their use with visuals. Sinead’s “Sacrifice” was used in a very odd play I once saw, and a version of “Nature Boy” was sung by, of all people, Vanity on, of all things, the Friday the 13th TV show the first time I heard it). Then I transitioned into an experiment.
I have moved the laptop into the living room to work in front of the TV. I confessed last week of my obsession with Inside The Actor’s Studio, and tonight is back-to-back episodes: Tom Hanks (which I’ve seen) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (which I haven’t). I know Bendis writes while watching movies. (Yes, I am dropping names everywhere tonight.) I’m not sure if I could do that, but this is simply talking and can work like music itself.
I can’t actually take Rayearth off campus to Starbucks or anything, because I make a real mess. I get a copy of the book and tear off each page as I work on it, and I end up with a pile of pages around me at the end. I suppose it could earn me a reputation as a local crazy if I sat in the coffee shop typing and throwing paper all over the floor.
Anyway, the experiment went about half well. During the episode I had seen, it went fine. During the episode I hadn’t seen, I was too distracted watching. I ended on page 126.
And we should all applaud Tom Hanks for saying the profession other than his own that he would most like do would be a cartoonist.
Current Soundtrack: Law & Order: Criminal Intent