A panel from a surprise project (more on Thursday or Friday on that) that I’m putting together for this weekend’s PIX show in Pittsburgh. ( pixcomics.com ) – PIX sort of feels like it’s shaping up to be the SPX of Pittburgh area creators. Details are available at the website, but admission is free to the public (which is rad!) and the exhibitor/guest list sure has grown! I can’t wait to see some old friends and check out what everyone is doing.

My old pal Jim Rugg will be there (Street Angel, Plain Janes, Rambo 3.5) – He just won an Ignatz award for Rambo 3.5. It’s one of my prized priceless mini-comics. Jim Rugg is the real deal, folks. I remember back when he was still in high school and creating “TAR PIT” minicomics with his pal, and of course the immortal “Happy Bastard” mini comics were insanely awesome.

You know, one of things that comes up in conversations a lot is what my happiest moment as a comic creator has been… You might think it would be a mark like having your first hardcover released, seeing your full color comics put out through the Image section of Previews, scoring a TV deal…. and yeah, those are pretty sweet moments… but the highlight for me has always been the memory of making my own minicomics and distributing them around Pittsburgh. There were a handful of times where this weird AWESOME feeling swept over me when it was 1am and I was hand stapling 150 comics getting them ready for a big store run. I didn’t do any of that for the money… surely I was spending a lot more money in gas and printing and never really breaking even with my old mini comic.

Why did I ever stop? Well, I guess the answer is, I was pretty young and stupid. I use to spend money pretty willy-nilly on things like Spawn action figures for my old action figure shelf… I use to make the excuse that I had that shelf because of anatomy and posing… but the truth was that McFarlane toys were wicked awesome looking and I was a complete nerd…. but I digress. I had to stop running all over god’s creation distributing minicomics because I had a growing family and responsibilities. After my second son came along, my focus became dead set on making the act of drawing comics and illustration my full time living. Especially after I was fired from a cushy factory job I had taken and realized there was no such thing as job security… I then became a middle class drawing hooker willing to draw just about anything for money… and so I did. And yeah, that worked out pretty well for me, can’t complain.

But when I’m asked… what was your biggest moment in your career? I think about the longarm stapler over in the corner of my office. It’s been sitting there waiting for me. Sure, I’ve used it off and on again to make some preview books and fun little things… but never to the level of what I use to use it for. Sometime on Friday I’ll get to use it once again at some ungodly hour… trying to recapture just a little bit of that good feeling again…

To me, PIX will mark the end of one era for me and the beginning of a new one. Maybe I’ll see you there?

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