Musings from a published author...

Friday, March 28, 2014

An Almost Career in Comic Books

Back in 2000 I applied to a new comic book company down in Florida called Crossgen Comics. I didn't think I had much of chance, having absolutely no experience in comics outside of a few amateur attempts.

Imagine my surprise when Barbara Kesel, the Head Writer of Crossgen, sent me a letter asking to see more of my work. I eagerly complied, as both my wife and I were anxious to leave the Indiana winters behind for the warmer climes of Florida. Plus, anyone who's known me for more than a few years knows how I feel about comic books. So you can imagine how excited I was to have a chance to actually work full time for a comic book publisher!

Soon after sending the writing samples Barbara called me up asking to meet at Wizard World in Chicago. This was my first comic book convention, and man was it an experience! I saw Chewbacca talking on a cell phone, Darth Maul eating dinner, and I stood in an elevator next to Sabretooth. But most of all, I got a little shred of hope that I would soon be a professional writer.

Over the next few years Crossgen started building their comics empire. Unfortunately, like many empires, they extended themselves too far, and by 2004 they had collapsed. Disney picked up the pieces, and my dreams of being a professional comics writer seemed dead.

That is, until a few months later when I submitted some work to a new company called Platinum Studios. I can't even really recall the timeline for the Platinum deals, as it all happened so fast. But within a few months I had signed contracts for four projects that Platinum would publish as comics and develop for TV and Film. When they scored an article in The Hollywood Reporter about the deal, I thought for sure I had arrived.

But the years passed, and although there was some great artwork produced for the comics, the contracts eventually expired and the rights reverted back to me.

No comics published. No TV shows or films on the horizon.

With the the Platinum projects in hand, I reached out to a few contacts I'd made over the years. A former Platinum exec who was working for a film producer was interested, but unfortunately, his boss passed. A few others expressed interest, but eventually declined.

It was only when I got in touch with Kevin Cleary at Pooka Entertainment that I found someone as passionate about my projects as I was. I'm pretty sure that of all the choices I've made in my writing career, signing with Kevin was by far the smartest.

And that's where I stand 14 years after sending in that first submission to Crossgen Comics. Between I had a few novels published, along with a couple of games, and a really awesome archery line through 3Rivers Archery. And I've held down a very unrewarding job as a video editor, and a very rewarding job as a Creative Specialist.

So, the past has been educational. And I'm looking forward to a bright future.

As for the present, I'm having taco salad for lunch. I'd take that over a career in comics any day of the week!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In Defense of Humans

I sometimes get tired of hearing people complain about the human race. We have our faults, sure. We could stand to clean up after ourselves a bit more. We should probably stop shooting at each other, and trying to take each others' stuff. And Lord knows we should stop "Keeping up with the Kardashians".

But when you look at what we've accomplished compared to what other animals have accomplished, we're really quite amazing. The bird sings beautiful songs, and the spider spins elegant webs. But the bird sings the same song today that his ancestors sang thousands of years ago. And the spider only spins his web to catch flies... not to dazzle and inspire.

But humans sing many songs in many voices. And we build skyscrapers, and houses, and amusement parks. Sometimes we do it because we have to, but sometimes we do it just because.

We build, and we sing, and we write, and we paint. And we do these things because more than any other creature in Creation, we have a drive to Create.

So, the next time you hear someone talk about how horrible human beings are, sing a song, or draw a picture, or do a dance. Because in all the world, you're the only animal who does that for the pure joy of it. And that's a pretty special reason for us to be here.