Sunday, February 25, 2007

ComicCon Blues

So I went to New York ComicCon - interesting experience. I'll talk about the positives first: I briefly met David Mazzucchelli and bought City of Glass from him - he came across as an incredibly nice guy. I casually told him that I often remark that he's the greatest comics artist of all time, and he humbly remarked "and they say you're full of shit, right?" I asked him about his pupil at RISD Kikuo Johnson ("I didn't really have to teach him anything" - yeah right! Like having Mazzucchelli for your teacher makes no difference!) and he signed my book. Very cool.

I also met Dan Parent, a charitable guy and artist on Betty and Veronica. He offered some more constructive criticism on my work than I would receive from Archie's editor. I was more encouraged by the fact that he had his family there with him - sometimes I get scared that choosing comics as an occupation precludes family life. Don't know if I'm ready to be a dad but I like thinking that's something I can do someday, God willing.

So I've put aside Consumed for this past week to focus on a short Archie story I planned on showing its editors. I talked with a couple people about this - some were pretty excited that I was trying something new, and similar in certain ways to my past (and popular) work on Terrell Quimby. I can tell Consumed exhausts some people, and it exhausts me sometimes as well. It was nice to focus on something light and humorous for a change. But I worked my ass off on this stuff - by the end of the week, my room looked like a complete mess, I smelled terrible (when you drink this much coffee, it seeps through your skin) and I was operating on little sleep and assorted stimulants to keep me awake.

So it was no comfort when Archie editor Victor Gorelick gave me three minutes of his time (there was nobody at the Archie booth, incidentally, and I'd bet money I was the only artist submitting work he talked to all weekend) to tell me my characters were "way off," my art looked "amateurish", I needed to "study anatomy" and that I needed to look at Stan Goldberg's art, a guy who is very talented, but personally, I think has been mailing it in for the last ten years. He also cocked his head and looked at me funny saying "you did a lot of pages..." like it was a bad thing. Very curious. I asked for more specific, constructive criticism, and he quickly went for the first thing on my first page, telling me Jughead's hat was on wrong. He asked for a pencil and tried to draw Jughead's crown directly on top of mine. It was obvious to both of us that this wasn't working, so he drew an egg-shaped head above the one I drew to show me again. This wasn't wasn't to his liking either, so he drew another head with another crown. I guess he was happy with the second one even though it'd be tough to see the difference. The most encouraging thing he said was a completely insincere "keep at it."

The bigger disappointed was that people who run Archie seemed difficult and genuinely lacking in any sort of personal skills. And not to sound ageist, but they seem kind of ancient to be working on material for pre-teens. It's disappointing because I feel like I could write the characters well. I guess the lesson is to stick to your guns and not to expect much from editors. Whatever - I'm proud of these pages, so here they are. I still think its funnier than anything I've ever read in Archie.







Anonymous said...

Nice looking stuff.

I used to work at Archie, and I can say to you: Don't waste your time with those idiots. Archie is a washed-up brand going nowhere. Management are a bunch of socially undeveloped morons. And they treat the artists like crap.

And, yes it's true. Stan mails it in. :)

Anonymous said...

i bet those pages will, ironically, help you to get a non-archie gig one day.