Current Soundtrack: Spiritualized, Complete Works, Vol. 1
Current Mood: cuckoo
[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich
A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.
Current Soundtrack: Spiritualized, Complete Works, Vol. 1
Current Mood: cuckoo
[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich
T'AINT WHAT YOU DO (IT'S THE WAY THAT YOU DO IT)
Belle & Sebastian Comic Due in 2006
This story originally appeared in PW Comics Week on Oct. 25, 2005
by Douglas Wolk -- 10/25/2005
The British band Belle and Sebastian's leader, Stuart Murdoch, is a longtime comics fan, and plenty of cartoonists return his affection. Early next year, as the band releases its next album, Image will publish Put the Book Back On the Shelf: A Belle and Sebastian Anthology, a collection of short comics stories, in color and black—and white, adapted from the band's older lyrics.
It'll be drawn by several dozen cartoonists, including Andi Watson, Leela Corman, Laurenn McCubbin (who designed the cover) and eight of the artists from the Flight anthologies. "There's a pretty wide range of material,"says Image editor Eric Stephenson. "Some of the artists have done straight interpretations, others have more surrealistic takes on the songs, and a few use the lyrics as a counterpoint to what's going on in the panels." Stephenson's talking to songwriter Stephen Duffy about a similar future volume.
I'm told Mr. Murdoch liked the story I did with Marc, so hurrah!
Appropos of nothing, I give you this quote from John Updike on the unified look of mid-century lines of books, from his review of By Its Cover:
"People like sets of things, as signs of ultimate order. Though the heyday of the uniform bound editions passed with the Edwardians, modern bibliophiles can take pleasure in paperbacks whose consistent appearance implies a congenially shared sensibility."
Thus my love of Criterion DVDs and the late '80s Collier editions of Fitzgerald is explained!
Current Soundtrack: more Divine Comedy; Duels, "Animal (6music version); My Little Airport
Current Mood: thirsty
[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich
KIDNAP THE SANDY CLAWS
This is an official bulletin.
CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED THIS YEAR!
I realize I am one of the only people who would be planning for Christmas already, but I thought it was time to spread the word. I'm opting out of the holiday this year. I don't have the cash to buy presents. I've tried to make a list of people who would be exceptions, but it quickly got out of control, and frankly, I went overboard last year and am still paying it off--so it's cold turkey. Sorry. I also don't have the craft skills to make anything. Briefly, I considered sending out cards with slips that said, "In lieu of a gift, a donation has been made in your name to Jamie's future eating," but decided that would be tacky.
Of course, being me, I have no shame and will still accept all presents. I've even broken down my Amazon wish list into separate lists for DVDs, books, and music just to make it easier.
Current Soundtrack: Divine Comedy b-sides & rarities (including a cover of "Moon River")
Current Mood: cheerful
THERE'S NOTHING LEFT IN THIS LIFE, I WOULD DIE FOR YOU
The horror edition of "Can You Picture That?" is now online. In it, you will find reviews of The Innocents and The Val Lewton Horror Collection.
It's terrible how they treat a man with the plague, isn't it?
Current Soundtrack: Andy Bell, Electric Blue
Current Mood: scared
TO THE POINT OF DISEASE
No more Bauhaus for me. Ever.
I got sick after the last time I saw them. I blamed it on having just left a particularly debauched Comic Con, but now I know different. It's Bauhaus and the germs their stinky fans carry with them.
Current Soundtrack: still Depeche Mode
Current Mood: sick
WORKS OF ART WITH A MINIMUM OF STEEL
Thoughts have been scattered all week. I eventually had to leave my house on Wednesday and work through the evening just to get some writing done. Time is on the march. I am a mini mogul.
Quick bullets of things enjoyed this week:
READ: The Extended Dream of Mr. D by Max (Drawn & Quarterly). I've been sitting on this one for a while. It was all the rage several years ago, won an Ignatz, etc. Going in, I could see why. The line work and cartooning are wonderfully fluid, a style that lends itself well to the free-form dream images that the book is built on. Going out, however, I was absolutely annoyed with the way the book ended up. If you're going to do a story that is an entire dream, you don't finish it off by having the characters all stop and explain exactly what happened, and they each tell us what they were meant to represent. It defeats the purpose of giving the audience something to puzzle over. The decoder ring should be the text itself, there for the reader to ponder, but never explained. Straight to the sale pile for you, Mr. D.
WATCHED: Something of Value starring Rock Hudson & Sidney Poitier; written & directed by Richard Brooks, based on the novel by Robert C. Ruark (1957). This was a movie mentioned in the Z Channel documentary, one of the gems the cable network resurrected. I was pleased to find a video of it, especially since it was the complete version with the Winston Churchill intro intact. Something of Value is quite a film. Hudson plays the son of a white land owner in East Africa who was raised by one of the African families that worked for his father. Poitier portrays the birth son of that worker, and he and Hudson are like brothers thanks to the young life they shared. Unfortunately, age brings social pressures, and their inequality is readily apparent. Poitier ends up joining the Mau Mau uprising, and the ensuing war ends up testing the limits of both men, forcing them to question what they will and will not do, and whether or not they can regain their common ground before it's too late. It's a bold film--not just for 1957, it still feels bold today. The performances are great (including the always charming Wendy Hiller in a downbeat role), the action tense, and the photography gorgeous. But it's also smartly written. My favorite scene is when Hudson's family is imitating the marital engagement deals that are customary in the region. It's a subtle scene, revealing the various levels of prejudice that can be hidden in even the most noble of people. It's all the more effective because it's offered without comment, and the characters are given no self-reflection. They are completely unaware of how crass they are being, and Brooks uses it to keep his family from being the stellar, progressive white family of other Hollywood stories about race.
SAW: Bauhaus at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. I think the last Bauhaus tour was in 1998, and I saw them in San Francisco after Comic Con (there was a cock-up with our tickets and Landry Walker did a last minute hail mary for Joe Nozemack and I). It was awesome.
Last night was almost better.
The show seemed a little perfunctory at first. The opening song, "Burning From the Inside," was well chosen for how it allowed each band member to come out on stage at different times, slowly building to their complete sound, but they played the full version and it went on too long. As things progressed and we got past some of the usual suspects, the energy started to pick up with amazing versions of "Swing the Heartache," "Hair of the Dog," and a totally revamped "Rose Garden Funeral of Sores." There was a couple standing in front of us for part of the show who were seeing how close they could get to having sex right there on the concert floor, and she got particularly excited during "Rose Garden" (she was the only who seemed to care about the music; the guy just stood there most of the time, like he was getting a lapdance and was not allowed to touch). She backed into him and was grinding her ass in his crotch, and I want to know, is there a less sexy song out there? Or is there something about a man shouting "screaming whore" that I don't understand?
Beyond those two (and I should note that twice she got down on her knees and I believe was fellating him through his pants), I was disappointed in the sheer absence of freaks. I had dressed up as a sort of 1950s car salesman/Mormon missionary thinking I'd stand out, but the Seattle Bauhaus fans of 2005 show a severe lack of commitment. When as hardcore as you get is a 300 lb., pony-tailed dude who won't take off his leather jacket through the entire show, instead choosing to share his sweaty stink with those around him, it's hard not to feel a movement has died. (He also hit me in face with that ponytail. I should have given him a kidney punch.)
Peter Murphy may be part of the problem, not the solution. That picture above dates back to the previous tour. He doesn't look like that. He's trying to be a cavalier, and he's grown this little pointy chin thing and silent-movie villain moustache. But the true grievous decision is his hair. We've seen a blonde Peter Murphy before, but he's now styling it like Dennis the Menace--cowlick in back, triangle bangs up front, all the while not succeeding with the reverse comb-over he's working in the back. The bald spot still shows through, Pete. During "Bela Lugosi's Dead," I urge you all to chant, "Bad hair! Bad hair! Bad hair!"
But, you know, I'm being flip. It really was a good show. In fact, my only real complaint is there wasn't enough of it. It was billed as "An Evening with Bauhaus," and mercifully, there was no opening act. However, was 90 minutes really all they could muster? Come on, guys! I know you're getting on in years, but you still have all of your original hips (I think). Put some muscle into it.
HEARD: As I've noted here before, this year has been a little disappointing music-wise, with several bands I really like delivering up tepid new offerings. This week, I heard the new Starsailor and Robbie Williams albums, and on initial reaction, they go on the pile. Thankfully, we have Depeche Mode to save the day.
I wasn't actually expecting them to. For a first single, I thought "Precious" was pretty unremarkable, and even worse, not that memorable the first time I heard it (my mind has since changed, it just took a few listens). The opening sounds of Playing the Angel, the high-pitched scraping shriek of "A Pain That I'm Used To" (a reassuring rallying-of-the-troops kind of title), let me know I was in for something different. That track and the next, "John the Revelator," are scorchers. It's an elevated mood that the band manages to maintain throughout, making adventurous noise. Even the Dave Gahan-penned tracks manage to fit, a difficult thing to do after years of having one primary songwriter (only "I Want It All" ends up sounding like a Paper Monsters session, but it's stronger than anything on that album thanks to the added collaboration). Interestingly, it's the tracks Martin Gore sings that seem to be getting the critical beating in the few reviews I've read, and I can't say that they're wrong. "Macro" and "Damaged People" aren't terrible, they're just a little by-the-numbers. It's a weird twist, since most often, Martin's tracks are my favorites.
I'd actually posit that Depeche Mode has yet to really stumble. Exciter wasn't as strong as it could have been, but only because it stands in the shadow of the supreme Ultra. Divorced from that, it's a good collection of soul-tinged songs about love. Those two albums were the building blocks for the new version of the band, absent of Alan Wilder and moving on from some years of turmoil. If we look back at the earlier albums, at how A Broken Frame and Construction Time Again picked up the charge after Vince Clarke moved to Yaz, then Playing the Angel is the new era's Some Great Reward--meaning that the true championship laps begin soon.
WROTE: Made some good progress on Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, though I keep getting hung-up on making sure I understand where everything is in the house. I have even drawn a map, but sometimes I get it all mixed up. My goal next week is to really get the story moving. I've noticed I love to chronicle the first day of my stories and will spend a lot of time on those twenty-four hours. I've got to flip the calendar.
In reference to the mini-mogul assertion above, those couple of answers I am waiting on, one is in and I am very excited about it. But more has happened this week and upped the ante by one more. Hopefully in early November I can start leaking the gas.
Current Mood: coy
MEMUS INTERRUPTUS: SHE WAS ONLY A SHOPKEEPER'S DAUGHTER
Taken from Steve Rolston:
Choose a band/artist and answer ONLY IN SONG TITLES by that band:
Artist/Band: The Style Council (in honor of the title of this blog)
Are you male or female: Iwasadoledadstoyboy
Describe yourself: My Ever Changing Moods
How do some people feel about you: A Man of Great Promise
How do you feel about yourself: Boy Who Cried Wolf
Describe what you want to be: Mr. Cool’s Dream
Describe how you live: A Stone’s Throw Away
Describe how you love: It Just Came To Pieces In My Hands
Share a few words of wisdom: Speak Like a Child
Current Soundtrack: Gene, "You;" Depeche Mode, Playing the Angel
Current Mood: optimistic
DRIVEN TO THIS POINT BY A CHAIN OF EVENTS
A rundown for the week:
* Honey Mustard 4 in the can today, right on time, just awaiting the translation of a couple of missed lines
* Honey Mustard vol. 2 is on sale this week
* the short script, now called "Reverberation (Doubt)" will go to the editor once I get a little more feedback from outside parties
* next week's "Can You Picture That?" is primarily written, and it focuses on horror movies
* next manga to start is Gacchagacha vol. 2, but I have about a month on that, so...
* ...getting back on Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? will take precedence
* Joelle is doing cover sketches for 12 Reasons and I think we have a schedule laid down; need to talk to James to shore up release dates
* Lara also informs me that she has another demo of "Love the Way You Love"
* waiting on a couple of answers from a couple of places before proceeding with other projects
Christopher Mitten surprised me by lighting up my e-mail box yesterday with a mock-up for my long gestating graphic novel, This is the Way the World Ends. Chris has agreed to draw it, but we are taking our time because he has the Past Lies graphic novel with Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir and the ongoing series Wasteland with Antony Johnston (all these comics to be published by Oni; World Ends was actually the first book they accepted from me in the summer of 2004, but I beggared off in order to do the Love books). This cover will be nice inspiration to get my ass in gear, though.
Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, A Broken Frame (vinyl)
Current Mood: confused
JUMPING OUT OF WINDOWS IN EXPENSIVE CLOTHES
I wrote about Kim Ki-Duk for my DVD column last month, and I have since had occasion to see another of his films: 2000's Real Fiction. Shot primarily on digital video, the film's title is also its thesis statement. How can once create a sense of reality in an effort of imagination? The main character is an artist who sits in the park drawing portraits while listening in a payphone he has wiretapped. He isn't living his own life, he is sneaking in on other people, and trying to give himself purpose through shaping images of them. Only he isn't very good at drawing. His subjects don't like the replicas he has created of them; they don't feel the portraits resemble their actual faces. He is bullied by his clients, as well as a trio of thugs who extort money from people working in the park. As all this plays out, a young woman has circles him, filming him with a video camera. She insists that his troubles are down to him refusing to stand up for himself, and she leads him away from his easel with the promise that she will give him the key to end this pattern of abuse. They end up entering a theatre with posters advertising something called "Another Me" pasted on the walls outside.
Inside, a man begins to detail the many humiliations that the artist has suffered in life. They begin to bounce information back and forth, creating a list of victimizers that the artist wants dead. The man in the theatre has given him a gun and instructed him to shoot every time they mention a new person. The gun appears to be empty, but when the list is complete, it goes off for real, killing the man on the stage. The transformation is complete, and a newly emboldened artist takes to the streets, one by one exacting his revenge on the people on his list. All the while, the woman with the camera keeps following him, documenting this newly created vengeance tale. Is it all real, or is it merely a concoction of her and her colleague? And what will happen to this new structure when the artist turns on her and kills her, too, knocking her camera to the ground?
Upon completing his list, the artist goes to the studio of another portrait painter, but this time she is the real deal. She provides a place of rest for him in her studio, a place where authentic art is created. When he awakes from his slumber, the cycle begins again. Or did the other action happen at all? Was there "another" him, or was it all in his head? Before we can get our own minds wrapped around what may be happening, Kim Ki-Duk throws in another twist, exposing his own camera crew in a way similar to Abbas Kiarostami's A Taste of Cherry.
Real Fiction was apparently shot in one day with no retakes. Sometimes that is apparent, as not every moment is perfect. Yet, the important part is the experiment. Kim Ki-Duk is creating a multi-layered reality that is both false and somehow true, an indictment of our entertainment and the blurring of everyday life. In some ways it's just a lark, and in others, very heavy.
My Little Airport have released their second album, because i was too nervous at that time. It's more accomplished than their debut (which I reviewed here) while still maintaining the simplicity of it. The songs are all under three minutes, but P. has turned to more abrasive sounds to create his minimal backing, like he and Nicole are taking Phil Specter and Velvet Underground and making them sound as sweet and inviting as Saint Etienne.
My Little Airport should be everyone's new favorite band.
Current Soundtrack: Sigur Ros, Takk...
Current Mood: tired
THE SWEETEST PERFECTION
"Having failed to connect with the very first important Other he encountered, Junpei had lost confidence in his ability--the crucial ability--to give outward expression to love at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner. I may be the type who manages to grab all the pointless things in life but lets the really important things slip away: whenever this thought crossed his mind--which was often--his heart would descend to a place devoid of light and warmth." - Haruki Murakami, "The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day"
In Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney has created a thoughtful movie trimmed of any excess. He doesn't overdramatize, yet he doesn't pull any punches. He lets the story run straight, let's it speak for itself, emulating the no-nonsense news broadcasts of its subject, Edward R. Murrow. Shot in a crisp black-and-white so as not to conflict with the vintage footage of Senator Joseph McCarthy and Murrow's related subjects, most of the film is of men in suits sitting around and talking. But passionate men, men and women who believed in what they were doing. The parallels to our life today are obvious--an overzealous government with little regard for individual privacy and basic ethics, a media steeped in trash entertainment and advertising, the demonization of voices of dissent, a snide belief amongst the powers that be that the common people will accept an America that operates this way--and yet Clooney makes his point without stating it. Instead, he realizes history provokes thought, and thought leads to debate, and this subtle entry into our brains is more effective.
It's a perfect film. Every shot counts, every performance is on-point, and the script doesn't waste a moment.
Current Soundtrack: syndicated TV from the other room
Current Mood: impressed
SHE'S A WOMAN OF THE WORLD
I'm out of jury duty, and in reflection, I think we did the right thing and made a fair judgment. It was a long process, though, and I really just need to be left alone to sleep...
Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, "Free"; The Cardigans, "I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer"
Current Mood: meditative
THE GIRL THAT I KNEW SOMEWHERE
Newsarama has run a two-part interview with Diana Schutz in regards to Sexy Chix. For those wondering about Joelle Jones, the artist for the graphic novel I wrote, 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, here is a sample of her art from the story she did for that anthology:
Diana also has this to say about her, "Joelle Jones, who is new to comics, has illustrated [Sarah Grace McCandless'] story...I met Joelle quite by chance at a local Portland convention about a year ago. She’d been showing her work to David Mack, who was a guest of the show, and he brought her over to me. Joelle is a young girl with whopping promise as an artist. Definitely someone to keep an eye on — also, she’s the 'mysterious' girl on our cover mock-up whom no one can identify and everyone is curious about!"
I can't agree with her more!
On another note, my jury duty is hopefully over tomorrow. Until then, I remain your humble Juror #4.
Current Soundtrack: Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
Current Mood: drained
ANGELS IN HEAVEN, ANGELS IN HELL
I have to report for jury duty tomorrow, which will dictate how much time I have to post this week. I'm immersed, too, in the Honey Mustard proofing, my next "Can You Picture That?", and an interview about Audrey Hepburn for Crisis/Boring Change. So, just in case, here is a quickie DVD review (absent of the usual massive amount of links, you'll have to look stuff up yourself):
I love documentaries about movies. The good ones, such as the films Martin Scorsese has put together, end up giving me a huge list of movies I can't wait to see.
The latest entry in this field is Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, a documentary about Jerry Harvey, programmer of the legendary Los Angeles cable channel from the '80s. I remember hearing about it at the time. I think I had some friends who subscribed, but I didn't quite get what it was. I always had a weird impression that they only showed movies that started with the letter Z, because I think my only real memory of it is once seeing a listing for the film Zardoz being shown on it.
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is a rare double treat. On one hand, it's Harvey's story. He was a troubled man who died in a tragic fashion, who could function better arranging works of fiction than he did arranging his own life. In some areas, the narrative gets muddled because the film does tend to meander, but it always finds its way back.
On the other hand, it's a celebration of his passion for cinema. The bulk of the film is a collection of clips for movies that Z Channel showed. Its line-up was an eclectic mix of mainstream films, classics, and foreign and independent features. Harvey was friends with Altman, Cimino, and Peckinpah, and he often went out and found new filmmakers and dusted off efforts that otherwise had disappeared with little notice. Even more important, he practically invented the idea of a director's cut, airing restored versions of such troubled epics as The Wild Bunch, The Leopard, Heaven's Gate, and 1900. Most famously, he aired the butchered studio version of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America back-to-back with the full-length original, showing people exactly what could be done to a work of art when outside forces hack it to pieces. (This is an issue I have been pondering a lot lately.)
From the parade of performers and filmmakers who consented to talk about Harvey--both people whose films he featured and directors like Alexander Payne and Quentin Tarantino who grew up being educated by Z Channel--director Xan Cassavetes (daughter of John and Gena Rowlands) gives us a real sense of what an unparalleled resource this channel was, and how sad that market forces and the death of its champion brought an end to it all.
This film is a must for film freaks. And does anyone know if any publisher has ever collected their program guides in book form? I'd love to check out the reviews (there is a reproduction of one of the monthly magazines that comes with the DVD).
Current Soundtrack: The Cure, Three Imaginary Boys; The Warlocks, Surgery
Current Mood: rushed
MY SECRET GARDEN IS NOT SO SECRET ANYMORE
It's been pointed out to me that Laurenn McCubbin, Image Comics' new rockstar art director, has spilled the beans. "I will also have work in the upcoming Belle and Sebastian anthology...."
I wonder if that could be the same anthology that Marc and I have been so good about keeping our traps shut over?
Current Soundtrack: Kim Weston, "Helpless;" Brian Jonestown Masscre, "That Girl Suicide"
Current Mood: relieved
NO DISTANCE LEFT TO RUN
Another week down. I didn't feel all that productive, and yet I feel wiped all the same. I think it's the autumn changeover, darker mornings and darker evenings. Lots of sleepy headedness and an ache in my back. Whine whine whine. I'm hoping to hook up with Mike Allred this weekend, though, as he's coming up for the Portland Comic Book Show, and I always love hanging with Mike.
The first draft of Honey Mustard 4 is done, and I have to say this is one of those books that gets better as it goes. So many series in any medium get less effective over time, but the story in Honey Mustard is growing more complex, emotional, and riveting, and the art smoother. It's worth investing your reading time in. Some reviews are out, both with somewhat fair criticism of the first volume. I hope they stick with it to see it improve. (And it should be noted that this is Korean, so the complaint about it reading left to right is invalid, as that's how it was originally published.)
I also finished that short comic script I was mulling over. I often think and think and think on something and when I sit down to write, it tumbles out. In this case, I intended to write something humorous with a light first person narrative voice, but what ended up on the page was somber with no narration at all. The only concrete thing I had going in was the opening page--a shot of a young man in a health clinic, worrying about taking an STD test--and instead of it being all goofy, it took on some heavier issues. I need to take some time to read it over, to figure out if it worked. Right now I'm calling it "You Can't Uneat the Apple," but that has to go as it implies the story has a more moral point than I want.
I also need to find a new ending for "Walk Like A Panther." I originally had the image of the cat cutting its tongue as an opening for a project years and years ago that never got off the ground, so I co-opped it here. But now I have a reason to maybe pursue this other project--a noir-ish tale--and want to steal it back from myself.
Lara sent me a demo of our song, and I'm really liking it. I'm really curious about where it will go once we're recording it for real. She also played a show on Wednesday that was smashing. Her on acoustic guitar backed up by a man on accordian. Nice to hear her air out "Not For This World," the song quoted at the top of Cut My Hair.
* Marc Ellerby has posted another image from our story on his website.
Current Soundtrack: Kate Bush, Hounds of Love; Low, Tonight the Monkeys Die EP (available on iTunes)
Current Mood: goya!
TWELVE, WELL, SHE CRIES, "DO OR DIE"--TWELVE REASONS WHY
So, before I go on, I should make mention of Christine Norrie in relation to 12 Reasons Why I Love Her. Long-time blog readers may remember that she was going to draw this book once upon a time, and she was great while I was writing the script, listening to my ideas and tossing in a couple of her own. Once it came time to get it all rolling, though, we just realized that her schedule and my schedule, as well as various other boring business details, weren't going to mesh. Rest assured, there is no backstage drama. You won't here us bitterly sniping on each other in separate bars next year in San Diego. We're still friends. Just sometimes the stars don't align. But she's still wonderful and you should watch for her book Breaking Up when it drops from Scholastic next year.
That said, when I set out to find a new artist, I was looking to start clean. Tabula rasa. I didn't want anyone aping Christine--which wouldn't be fair to any of us--so whoever it was would have free reign to express themselves. I just wanted them to have a pretty line. That was my only criteria, and one that seemed to frustrate my editor James Lucas Jones, who kept getting samples rejected as, "Not pretty enough."
Now, who is this mysterious Joelle Jones (no relation to James Lucas) who has the incredible power of compelling me to sing karaoke on a regular basis?
It's actually a bizarre story of fate not dissimilar to something I would actually write. I originally met her back in February when I signed her and her boyfriend up for their video account. I don't remember this, and neither does she; nor do we really remember the couple of other times she rented videos from me. I can see it in my mind now, but I think they're invented memories, placing someone in a familiar situation. It's all surprising, since I am a total birddog at the store, and new women are usually taken note of. And apparently one of my coworkers hit on her when she came in carrying some graphic novels she had checked out from the library across the street. Where was I?
Making it even more strange, she often would draw at the coffee shop Mason West used to work at, and being into comics, Mason inquired about her work. He liked it, and he told her, "You know, you should talk to this guy Jamie who works up the street at Trilogy. He's done a lot of work in comics." Still, no connection was made.
It finally came down to the Sexy Chix cover. People kept asking me who the middle photo of the top row was of, since apparently I'm still supposed to know everything (Denny, I'm looking at you). Eventually, I got frustrated with this, so I e-mailed my old boss Diana Schutz, the book's editor, and asked. It was, of course, Joelle--whom David Mack had walked over to Diana after checking out her portfolio at a recent Portland Comic Book Show. I asked Diana if she was looking for work, and she gave me Joelle's contact.
Turns out, we live on the same street, three blocks apart--and still, our plan to get togehter for coffee was still our first real meeting, where we would know and pay attention to who we were talking to.
If I have learned anything in life, it's that instinct is not to be ignored. We know things without knowing why or how or even that we know them, and I can trace back a multitude of mistakes to having gone against my gut. I had foreseen disaster, but I pretended I could avert it and thus paid the price. After talking with Joelle on the phone, I just knew I had found the one. This was going to be my new collaborator. It didn't keep me from being nervous, though; instead, it actually made the anxiety worse. What if I was wrong, and she showed up and sucked? Or what if I was blinded by this newfound belief that she was the one, and I couldn't see that she sucked? If there is a game for my mind to play, trust me, my mind is going to suit up and hit the field. But at the same time, said instincts have been right before. It's why I kept regular contact with Chynna Clugston, Ian Shaughnesexxy, and Christopher Mitten, for instance, before they were ready to get full-time work, or why I hired Jen Van Meter to write a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic script without ever reading a word of her writing and dogged Kelly Sue DeConnick to pitch me a comic book, which she never did while I was an editor but who has delivered the goods nonetheless. This isn't tooting my horn, oh-look-what-a-genius-I-am style, as these people are successes due to their own incredible talent and would have been so regardless of whether they ever met me or not (and I wasn't even usually the first person to notice how good they were; I'm no credit hog, I just like what I like); I'm just saying if I get a feeling about a person, it often pays to put a bet down. (Of course, I have been wrong. Even a working clock isn't right twice a day. Or something.)
Obviously, this instinct was right again. Joelle's portfolio was great, showing a wide range of work. Even better, we had a similar mindset about certain things. 12 Reasons Why I Love Her sits alongside The Everlasting as what I consider to be my best work. It was important to me that I have a partner for it that is on the same wavelength, who I can talk to about Audrey Hepburn films and our cats and such. It makes creative communication all the more easy when you know going in that the other person is going to understand what the hell you're trying to say.
Though, I should maybe out Ms Jones for her total geek side, too. I am catsitting for her at the moment, and the keychain she gave me is a Jean Gray dogtag. Wotta nerd! And while she can get me to sing karaoke, not even she can convince me to give Lost another try.
Anyway, that's the story of how this came about. Given the new Oni blog's focus on giving readers a glimpse of in-development projects, I am sure we will continue to leak stuff as it's all happening. I also have a domain for the book, so at some point it should be getting it's own site. As you're now painfully aware, I'm super stoked to finally see this book coming together, so expect good things.
Current Soundtrack: Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine (official release version); Gorillaz, Demon Days-era G-sides
Current Mood: ditzy