It’s been a while since I wrote about how much I LOVE comics. Regardless of the ups and downs of a career in them, it’s the craft that really matters to me, and more and more over time as I get older.
The comic book industry is really shaky right now. I feel for a lot of the comic retailers who are staring into the unknown and worrying if they’ll be able to pay their bills this month. On the creation side though, this unknown abyss of digital and internet is really exciting. Of course it’s not new to me, I’ve been dabbling in “webcomics” since 1999 and always knew sooner or later the big publishers would realize digital was the future.
But back to the craft…. I’ve really had a renewed sense of love for the art and craft of sequential art. No, I never seem to find the inspiration from modern comics. I often groan at some of the cheesecake stuff and broke back poses I see in the comic press. I draw inspiration looking back at all the greats that came before. How much detail Alex Toth or Wally packed into their panels, but every detail counted, it wasn’t a mish mash of garbage lines like we found coming out of the 90s. And then there are the masters like Kirby, Simon and Ditko, who knew how to get a lot done with fewer lines. I stare at my wallpaper in the office (old Kirby Mr. Miracle, Hulk, Silver Surfer and now FF) and it’s too far away to read the words (thank god) but the energy in all those panels really leaps at me from across the room.
Something is happening. I’m not sure what, or how to explain it, but it sure feels like I’m finally a grown up now. I’m looking at all this stuff with a more adult eye.
I’m hearing from a lot of “kids” who, like my own kids, read Hero By Night when they were 10 or 11, and now they are 14 and 15 and stoked to have it back. To hear them say HBN is their Spider-Man or Batman… well, it’s humbling and terrifying too. Mostly humbling. Only terrifying to think I’d better do a damn good job with the new stuff I’m producing.
Also… fascinating. It’s fascinating to think I don’t need a big publisher to be somebody’s Spidey or Hulk. I don’t even have to print anything on paper if I don’t want to. It’s fun to know people are paying attention, but also a little scary to think that I may produce something that could actually make an impact on their lives. Can I make comics like that? Am I capable? Will they be faced with a tough choice someday in life and think about choices my characters made? — I mean, I’m guilty of doing that and thinking back to epic comic storylines I read as a kid. It’s a great power we wield here. I’m getting that now.
Hopefully I can do it with great responsibility.
Man… I love drawing comics.