Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's can't-get-any-sleep-time!

You need to be in bed as you have obligations at 7am, but your sleep schedule is so jacked up that you can't sleep right now, so your up and making a long overdue update on your blog.

You're behind on ETC.  You still have three pages of digital work to do, as well as the digital part of the lettering for all 8 pages and the two "news" pages on top of that.  Then you have to update the website files.  All by Thursday.  Fortunately, you have vacation time from the dayjob, so you should be able to get that all done on time.  But it's frustrating to have lost the two week lead time you had with previous updates.  But there is a reason for that. 

You've also been working on the mixes for the debut Nemion album, which is what you spent most of your waking time today doing.  Originally you'd planned to rehearse with T-Bone, but he ended up getting booked up to work security for SxSW.

SxSW.  You can't help but wish you were a part of that somehow.  At least on the inside so that you can promote your own work. It helps to face the reality that you are simply not ready for it.  You need to have the album completed.  You need to have a couple tours under your belt.  You need a fanbase.  The last you are growing to some extent thanks to

While you ate dinner this evening you watched a BBC documentary online about Mobius:

In Search of Moebius - Jean Giraud clip1/3 by foivosloxias

Just about every sci-fi/cyberpunk visual that ever inspired you was either a part of, or derived from, that man's work.  A lot of times without you even being conscious of the connection. You have a copy of Dark Horse Presents somewhere that you picked up years ago that had a very well written and well illustrated story-installment in it that you like a lot that was by Moebius.  Austin Books carries the hardcover of the completed work and you want to get it someday. You recall when seeing Fifth Element in the theatre for the first time, you were actually kind of disappointed by what you then considered to be "cliche" design elements, not realizing that they were done by the same guy who had done all the stuff you thought it was ripping off. 

Still not sleepy.  Maybe you should get an apple out of the fridge and munch on that.

Last night you went to a friend's birthday party.  It was a good one.  Good because you were surrounded by people that liked to discuss things that you find interesting.  And good because you all hold similar, or at least relateable, world views, which is a rarity. 

You have all kinds of ideas in your head.  Bouncing and zipping around.  You need to make a poster for Droid Soldiers to post around town advertising that copies are at Austin Books.  You wonder if doing a traditional serial comic of Enrod The Clockman would be worth the expense of printing, as it's something you want to do in the future.  You need to fix so that people can more easily sign up for the mailing list.  You need to create character profiles for the website.  You need to once again totally revamp the Nemion website and move it onto the EnrodX server.  You need to put a photo gallery up on the website instead of using Facebook all the damn time. You need to earn some money.

On the upside, you got your ancient car to pass inspection.  You'd been tweaking out different things on it all last week trying to get it's exhaust output clean enough to pass.  Part of why you haven't been updating the blog since Staple!. 

Oh damn!  You totally forgot! You got to meet Kevin Eastman, one of the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!  He was the special guest at Staple! and you got to see him speak at his panel, which inspired you to buy the new hardcover collection of the first 7 issues of the original series that he and Peter Laird wrote and drew and have him sign it.  Seeing him speak totally reminded you of how much of a fan you were of that cartoon and the characters overall as a kid, and how much they impacted you and your work.   It seems you'd been actively trying to distance yourself from them in order to keep your work from being seen as similar, which is why you had all but forgotten about what they were to you.  You really geeked out when you got to meet and shake Kevin Eastman's hand as he signed your fresh copy of the hardcover collection.  You almost wanted to cry.  He was gracious enough to receive a copy  of both Tales From Planet Aeruen and Droid Soldiers: Chapter One.  You downed your artwork in TFPA, which was stupid, but you hope he has the time and energy at some point to actually read and get something out of them anyway.  You hope. 

You have a headache.  Goto: Place.Bed;

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Today you tried to post a reply to this Newsarama blogpost:  but it didn't appear right away, so either it was too long, or it just hasn't loaded yet.  Either way, you're reposting it all here:

The creator-owned revolution back in the early nineties had a pretty strong effect on me.  I was about 12 or 13 when I bought Spawn #1 on impulse from the stack of fresh copies sitting by the register as I was purchasing whatever it was I was collecting at the time ( I think I was into the Midnight Sons at that time ).  Being out of touch with the industry, I was completely unaware that Image was being built until I read that first issue of Spawn and found out my then favorite Spider-man artist was the man responsible for it.  I think that was when I became aware of the difference between creator-owned and work-for-hire in comic books and the divide that seemed to exist between the two.

But, it was Spawn #10 that really made an impact on my creative world-view.  Written by Dave Sim and featuring a guest appearance of his character Cerebus The Aardvark, it introduced me to both.  The whole thing put my adolescent brain through a ringer as I tried to put the characteristically Dave Sim metaphor together with the continuity of the series.  In spite of that, the last page struck a particular chord in me: Spawn is owned by Todd; Cerebus is owned by Dave - forever.

I think any fantasies I had about drawing comics for Marvel ( except for Batman, I wasn't into DC back then ) pretty much evaporated, and the fantasies of creating my characters and telling my own stories dominated.  Like a lot of fanboys I'd already been doing it anyway, but this "revolution" that I could feel gave it a new meaning.  Ever since then I've had little interest in either the DCU or the MU ( though I've enjoyed most of the cinematic versions ).  In almost twenty years I've only bought Wolverine: Origin, Civil War and the Prelude collected, two Iron Man hardcovers, and the Live Wires mini series ( I like robots ).

Having said that, being a self-publishing indie-creator for the past few years now, and also having done a lot of commissions for people, I have come around to understanding the work-for-hire point of view.  When I'm trying to make some extra money, I'm there to provide value for whoever is willing to pay me for it.  If they're hiring me to design a character that they are going to own the "rights" to, I know well enough that once the work is done and the check has cleared I'm going to walk away from it ( and gladly so since maintaining a character is a lot of work ). I already have my own characters and my own world, and nobody writes or draws them but me ( though I'd be flattered if any indie artist/writer decided to make their own versions ).

That's not to say that I agree with the heavy handed rights enforcement I've been seeing from Disney/Marvel, but in a world where Intellectual Property and corporations are the norm ( both concepts I have little value in, seeing them create more conflict than benefit in society - personally, if we're going to have an IP system, I'd rather all creations go into the public domain once all the original creators are dead - at the latest ), a deal is still a deal.  Sure I find it saddening to see where some of these older creators are ending up, but risk is a part of life, and if I get the short end of the stick in a deal that I made, I have no expectations from Darth Vader that he's going to alter the deal in my favor.  It's my responsibility to keep my financial affairs in order so that I don't end up in the gutter like Edgar Allen Poe.

However, considering that the Big Two manage to sell millions of copies a month, with most top-selling indies not even coming close ( The Walking Dead excepted ), the concept of a Creator Owned Day is something I see value in as a way to help bring more attention to alternative works and creators that are out there. Personally, asside from the movies, I find the MU and the DCU mostly boring except as a source of occasional nostalgia.

Now, to those who are putting their money where their mouth is by providing financial help for those older creators they value, I commend you.  If we don't like the way giant corporations are treating past contributors to their fiefdoms, we should stop giving them our money and give it to those we feel deserve it.
Happy #CreatorOwnedDay!

- Jenner Carnelian