When I got my first account, having an account cost nothing, using an ATM cost nothing, and cheques I brought into the bank were cleared immediately. Since then I’ve seen charges introduced where there were none before, had cheques held for up to a month, and had arbitrary limits put on the amount of money I can withdraw from an ATM in a day. From a practical user standpoint, banks have simultaneously become more expensive and less efficient.
Tell me again how private business handles everything better than the government?
Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?
Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?
You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.
So why do I have the platform and the recognition?
At this point you’ve put in the time.
There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.
…and enjoyed it, even though it felt like it was a solid James Bond movie followed by the final third of a different action film. Some thoughts occurred to me while I was completely failing to sleep last night (the massive weather shift currently underway really messed me up this time…)—and I’m going to warn you now, I DIDN’T SLEEP LAST NIGHT, so sensible and concise these are almost certainly not going to be:
SPOILERS FOR SKYFALL FOLLOW
-The pacing was really weird to me. We don’t actually meet the villain until (what felt like) halfway through the movie, we get a relatively major character introduced out of the blue in the third (I’m still grappling with why Kincaid was included at all.)
-OK, Silver’s obviously an over-the-top loony, but leaving a door open specifically so you can lure someone who’s chasing you into position to have a train dropped on them? I don’t know. I choose to believe that was the intent—when I saw the door was left open for Bond to spot I’m pretty sure I snorted out loud in the theatre. Better to think the character/writers did it deliberately than that the former turned dumb and the latter was lazy.
-The anal retentive comic fan I haven’t been able to completely expunge from my soul is really wrestling with the film, trying to make sense of the overall series’ continuity. Which is stupid, really, it’s the sort of thing I’m pretty sure I’ve made fun of other people for obsessing over when it comes to comics. So me sitting there going, for instance, “Wait, if this is the intro of Moneypenny, then the Connery/Moore/whoever films must have happened after this, but this film made such a big deal of Bond being over-the-hill, does that mean all those other films should be taken in the context of a guy who once brought it but now is on a downward slide?” is a bit of karmic payback. And then trying to work out the timeline of the car and the gadgets and how they play into the future installments which were done with different actors ten to fifty years ago…Even going down that path is a like dropping LSD the same night Daylight Savings Time turns the clocks back an hour—a bad idea. But I keep trying to do it, because—well, maybe I’m wrong here, was Casino Royale a hard reboot? I never got that impression. Urgh.
-Speaking of Casino Royale, it seems to me that one was pretty long, too. Coming out of the theatre last night I was “blaming” the movie-and-a-third structure on Christopher Nolan and the success of The Dark Knight. Maybe that was premature? And blame is definitely the wrong word—I like longer films and it’s nice to be surprised to discover that what I thought was the third act climax isn’t actually the end of the movie. Even nicer when what follows continues to be entertaining.
-So the guy who’s consistently screwed over your years-in-the-making, ridiculously complicated plans for the last week and a half deliberately sinks himself and one of your guys in freezing water. Do you 1) Wait five minutes to see if he comes up through the only hole in the ice and shoot him? or 2) Assume he’s dead even though he’s proven pretty awesome at not dying so far and move on to try and take your vengeance?
-So the guy who’s pretty much ruined your life and just put a gun to your head to try to get you to shoot both him and you turns away from you while standing directly in front of you, and he’s got a knife in his back. Do you 1) Grab the knife and twist it/stab him repeatedly? or 2) Watch what happens next with interest while slowly bleeding to death?
That last thing is really the only part of the film that really disappointed me. Having M twist the knife in Silver’s back one final time would’ve been so perfect in so many ways.
Still, a fun movie, and once I moved to sit on the other side of Tiina I was far enough away from the idiot down the row who wouldn’t stop talking to actually enjoy it.
(When did movie theatres go back to half-price Tuesdays? That was a pleasant surprise.)
My problem (well, one of my myriad problems) is that the conversation invariably reaches a point where I realize the conversation isn’t worth having anymore, but way before it reaches that point it reaches a different point where I want to find out where whoever I’m talking to lives, take out a loan, buy a plane ticket there, find them at their house and shake them vigorously screaming “HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE SUCH STUPID THINGS?” at the top of my lungs. -A
THE REASON I DIDN’T SEND IT:
Knowing what I know about the writer of the e-mail I’d have been responding to, the mail almost certainly wasn’t intended as an invitation to a conversational back and forth. And I thought what I’d written was sufficiently amusing to offer up to my (admittedly meagre) tumblr audience. Why should that guy who doesn’t really want to talk to me get to enjoy the Glorious Wit (sic) of Andrew Foley when there are at least three* people who read my blog who’d probably get a kick out of it? He shouldn’t, that’s why.
Now I know what I imagine you’re asking: “Andrew, you big steaming mound of pure machismo," you’re saying, "Does this post herald my return to more active blogging?"
To which I reply: “Well thank you for noticing. You’re not too bad yourself.”
A riddle wrapped in an enigma ensorceled in puzzle surrounded by a burrito that an ill-kempt fat guy ate, that’s me…
*OK, possibly less than three. Is there anybody out there?
I’m also moderating a number of panels. That number is four, and they are as follows:
At 2:00PM Saturday there’s the Writing for Comics 1 panel, with THE GREEN HORNET writer and WRETCH creator Phil Hester, X-FACTOR and Stuff Writer Peter David, & STIG’S INFERNO and BIGG TIME creator Ty Templeton.
At 1:00PM Sunday there’s a second Writing for Comics panel, this one with ATOMIKA creator Sal Abbinanti and SIMPSONS and CREEPY writer Ian Boothby.
I’ll also be moderating a panel at 4:00PM on Sunday, but some last minute juggling with moderator volunteers means I’m not 100% certain which one it’ll be.
So come by, say hi, bring me food, buy a copy of one of my books and/or take me to task over the absence of DONE TO DEATH t-shirts (my cat, inconsiderate feline that he is, demolished the t-shirt budget when he nearly died earlier this year). To make up for it, I’ll draw a Terrible Sketches for anyone who A) buys a book and B) for reasons they clearly haven’t thought through decides that getting a sketch from someone who bills himself as a writer is a good idea.
Looking back over 14 years, there have been a few things related to creator-owned comics and the building of a career off of them that stand out. They stand out to the point that I’ve taken to calling them “rule #1, rule 2”, and so on. One day I’ll get them all out there in a formal…
“The craziest part of this brainwashing is how a very basic situation has been twisted into something incredibly ugly. An unarmed child is shot and killed for doing nothing but walking home by a man with no authority who had been told to stand down by the police. This is cut and dry. You can look at this and go, “Oh, that’s a tragedy.” But because the kid was black, because everything is ultra-politicized, because racism is so ingrained in the DNA of the United States of America, this is somehow a controversy. I repeat: an unarmed child was shot dead by a grown man. This is one situation that everyone should be able to understand. It’s a nightmare scenario for every family ever. And yet… the news is telling us that the child may have possibly been a thug, a drug dealer, a hoodlum, a monster, as if any of that has anything to do with why he got shot. There are people out there actively digging up (incorrect) dirt on Trayvon Martin as if that matters at all. He’s a… I don’t even know, a point in a long-running argument, an abstraction about the evils of black youth.”—http://4thletter.net/2012/03/thats-just-the-way-it-is/ (via comixace)
“A whole new world of magic animals, brave young princes and evil witches has come to light with the discovery of 500 new fairytales, which were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for over 150 years. The tales are part of a collection of myths, legends and fairytales, gathered by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz at about the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting the fairytales that have since charmed adults and children around the world. While sifting through Von Schönwerth’s work, Eichenseer found 500 fairytales, many of which do not appear in other European fairytale collections. For example, there is the tale of a maiden who escapes a witch by transforming herself into a pond. The witch then lies on her stomach and drinks all the water, swallowing the young girl, who uses a knife to cut her way out of the witch.”—The Guardian. (via twiststreet)
PLEASE STOP referring to comics as a “genre”. They’re a medium. You don’t call a book part of “the genre of novels”*. I can (with some reluctance) accept that some of you believe some or all comics are “graphic novels” and will refer to them as such.
I will never be able to deal gracefully with the notion that comics’ or manga’s form overrides their content to the extent that MAUS, THE UNWRITTEN, and RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS are all on the same shelf.
While I’m at it: Bookstores. PLEASE STOP shelving graphic novels and manga in their own sections, or if you must, at least make an attempt to differentiate them according to content.
As it stands, bookstores (at least those I’ve been in) treat comic books with all the respect they give audiobooks.
And for the bookstores who are REALLY dropping the ball: if you don’t have a dedicated comic book section, PLEASE STOP lumping them in with sci-fi/fantasy. PERSEPOLIS next to Discworld and Iain M. Banks? Really? Come on, at least try to pretend you care about your potential customers and want to sell them the material they’re looking for.
*NOTE: If you do, with all due respect, I despair for you.
GEEKY WAYS TO HAVE FUN CHEAP #1: If you’re really bored someday, do what I do when I’m at the bookstore: move comic books from the graphic novel and manga sections and shelf them in their proper genre.
Nate Cosby (Archaia’s COW BOY, Image’s PIGS) tweeted something this afternoon that read, in part: “New project shaping up nicely. Co-writer and artist enthused. Logo done. Teasers designed.”
Which got me thinking about co-writers. I asked him a few questions on the subject, got an answer to one, which I reckon is more than one should expect from a working professional who doesn’t know me from Adam. In retrospect, I can see where he also might have thought I was fishing for a co-writing gig, which is the sort of thing that always sends me running for cover.
While I was and am interested how he, and other creators, select collaborators working in the same discipline, what really intrigued me was how the task would be broken down. Co-writing can mean an awful lot of things. It can mean one guy writes something on the back of a napkin and the other guy makes it work. It can mean one guy wrote a script and another guy came in and wrote over it (this was what happened with Cowboys & Aliens.) It can mean two guys sit in a room and actually write stories in the presence of another person. For me it frequently means headaches, which is why I’m interested in how those who regularly successfully collaborate with another writer do it.
I believe it was Neil Gaiman who said something to the effect that the problem with co-writing the book GOOD OMENS with Terry Pratchett was that he did 90% of the writing and Pratchett did the other 90%. Which is a pretty good description of how my co-writing experiences have gone.
On the face of it, it’d seem logical that working with a co-writer means one has to less work overall. The reality for me has been that I spend a lot of time arguing with my collaborators.
I don’t really like arguing at the best of times. I especially don’t like arguing if I don’t think I can win the argument. And I especially especially don’t like arguing about stuff I’ve written.
This tendency can and has caused a number of people, including my manager and agent, a (to me) weird amount of angst. They offer me notes, I listen and go execute them without debate or argument. They have a problem with that, because they want to know what I think of the notes. What I generally think is that, unless they’re completely unworkable or unforgivably stupid, life’s easier if I just revise according to them. Because I don’t like arguing about stuff I’ve written.
As frustrating as arguing about stuff I’ve written is, I’ve come to the conclusion that arguing about stuff I’m writing is several degrees worse. Part of the reason for that is that in the heat of creating something, I will argue in favour of telling a story the way I think it should be told.
That’s the critical difference between dealing with an editor/producer/first reader/whoever and a co-writer, I think. For me, the joy of writing comes less from having written something than it does from the act of writing itself. My job is to produce something I’m comfortable putting in front of someone and asking them to give me money for it.
After I’ve done that on the first draft, then I’m ready for feedback. Getting feedback during the creation of the first draft is a near-surefire way to utterly derail the first draft. Which is why most of my attempts at co-writing have been failures, and why I’m interested in how other people do it.
Having said all that, an as-yet unpublished comic called THREADS is one of the top ten best things I’ve written for to date, and that was co-written with my friend Scott O. Brown. I’m not sure why that one worked so well when so many others fell apart. I know that we split the book in half—I wrote the first half, he wrote the second, and then we both went over the other’s work, punching it up as needed. I think I could handle co-writing that way again, but to pull it off you need to have a pretty tight outline, and most of the time I and whoever my co-writer’s unfortunate enough to be can’t even agree on that.
Like I said, headaches.
All of which is a long way of saying that if you’re ever interested in co-writing something with me, I strongly advise you change your mind.
“If and when I write a forward for a DEMON collection, I will tell how Jack created that entire comic in—this is not an exaggeration, it’s what was happening at that moment—the time it takes to get a hot turkey sandwich at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant. Asked earlier that day to come up with a macabre hero, Jack went to dinner with his family and friends (I was a friend) and he ordered, then sat there very quietly at the table, figuring out all the essentials of his next comic while he waited for the waitress to deliver his meal.”—Mark Evanier in the introduction to the collection of Jack Kirby’s OMAC. (via davepress)
Alan Moore: My understanding is that when Watchmen is finished and DC have not used the characters for a year, they’re ours.
Dave Gibbons: They pay us a substantial amount of money…
Moore: … to retain the rights. So basically they’re not ours, but if DC is working with the characters in our interests then they might as well be. On the other hand, if the characters have outlived their natural life span and DC doesn’t want to do anything with them, then after a year we’ve got them and we can do what we want with them, which I’m perfectly happy with.
Gibbons: What would be horrendous, and DC could legally do it, would be to have Rorschach crossing over with Batman or something like that, but I’ve got enough faith in them that I don’t think they’d do that. I think because of the unique team they couldn’t get anybody else to take it over to do Watchmen II or anything else like that, and we’ve certainly got no plans to do Watchmen II.
”—Watchmen panel, moderated by Neil Gaiman, at London’s UK Comic Art Convention, September 21, 1986 (as printed in The Comics Journal #116, July, 1987). (via mistahphil)
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters - sometimes very hastily - but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”—
Stumbled across this page of BadBoy drawn/coloured/lettered by my immensely talented friend John Keane while trawling my e-mail for something completely unrelated this morning.
BadBoy is on the backburner for the foreseeable future, and John’s dance card is full far beyond the foreseeable future, so if it does come back, it’ll either be in a different medium or with a different artist. Given that John is sort of amazing, I think I’d rather it be in a different medium. I actually wrote a couple chapters of a novel version for an interested editor a couple years back. Maybe if/when I finish my current novel attempt it’d be worth returning to there.
This has nothing to do with the actual intended subject of this blog, but I’ve got a ton of work ahead of me, I’m sick as a particularly sickly dog, and it’s recently come to my attention that not everyone I know is aware of the Coolest Thing I Will Ever Do, which is getting married to someone so cool that she didn’t mind my losing my wedding ring in the toilet “provided you never forget that I own you.”
When she sent the jpeg of our wedding invite over yesterday, she included the message: “I’d do it all over again, with more blood.”
And with that, I bid you a cold and flu medicated good evening.
Whenever possible, I like to get my friends to do free stuff for me—er, I mean I like to include visual material when I send something new and weird around to the usual suspects. CARE & FEEDING doesn’t need that sort of thing; everyone knows what a cat and dog look like. For CURsED I had the logo. And for my last spec, I included Daniel Schneider’s concept drawing of one of the main characters, which I’m sincerely hoping you can see below because I just don’t have it in me to try and figure out the vagaries of tumblr’s picture system right now.
One of my agents said that with the vanity of actresses, she’d need a tummy tuck and a boob lift. I think she needs a pink and grey sweatsuit with something provocative written on the ass. But Danny got the really important bits: the teeth, the hands, and the feet. So no complaints here.
Sometimes stories come to you fully formed out of the blue. I love it when that happens. But you can’t count on it happening. More often than not, my stuff is the Frankensteinian result of loose ideas floating around being mashed together to create something compelling enough to be worth the time and effort to write and, hopefully, read or watch.
The other thing about stories is that, preserved correctly, they’re effectively immortal, or at least they’ll last as long as the person who originated them. Nothing gets abandoned; it just gets set aside until the various elements necessary to get something into some stage of production come together.
Because I like to be as open and forthright as possible as my reps will allow me to be (which is substantially less than I’d like) I feel compelled to mention that I have no idea what any of the preceding has to do with what follows.
This is a logo design by Tiina Andreakos for one of the best, most commercial ideas I think I’ve ever had. I originally pitched it as a comic a couple years back, then as a TV show for a few months over the summer. I’m currently writing the first issue comic script in the hopes of attaching an artist I’ve wanted to collaborate with for years.
A creature design by Daniel Schneider that was related to the same project. After some discussion with my reps, I decided not to use the design in the project for which it was originally intended. But I still liked the basic idea, so it became an element in a completely different project.
Bam! There’s a blog post. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s free content, which everyone seems to think is important when it comes to this sort of thing. I guess it’s better than absolutely no content. Or maybe not. If there was no content you’d have finished reading this a couple minutes ago.
Danny’s roughs for pp5-8 for FOOLS & MADMEN were substantially less detailed than the first four. I suspect he got to the point where he realized “This is kind of a stupid amount of effort to put into roughs” and pulled back so he wouldn’t be bored actually drawing the pages. The first Jester in the first panel is all Danny—a lot of the rest is me drawing in ink over Danny’s much lighter pencil marks (I don’t know if they’re actually done in pencil or digital—I’d never do something like this over someone’s original work unless I had a 97 page contract signed in blood from the creator of that work giving me permission to do so.
For me, one of the most important thing about going over roughs before the “real” art begins is nailing down balloon placement, which is why I inflicted my own scrawls on the pages. FOOLS & MADMEN is a fairly text-heavy piece, so I know there are going to be a few tricky spots with the lettering. Page 8’s going to require all of the letterer’s skills to make work.
One other thing that needs to be tweaked is the second panel of page 6. As it stands the fist reads as though it’s coming from the character on the right side of panel 1, which isn’t the case. The punch needs to be coming either from behind or directly from the side. Someone punching someone straight in the ear strikes me as the funniest of the available options, but we’ll see what Dan thinks. This is all still early going, but early is the time to resolve problems, before an artist has committed three days to penciling something only to find out that character needs to be on that side of the panel or we’ll have crossed balloon tails.
I just realized I misspelled “Kick” in page 6/panel 3. Me am a riter.