Hope this means something really good is about to happen…
Been one of those weeks, and while pretendin’ that it hasn’t been is a definite possibility, there’d be something highly fraudulent about that, especially here. The occasional dose of crushing disappointment is all part of the overall process, but I just need to write this out of my system, so I can get back to business. Good news first–seems that my FF digest (Clobberin’ Time) is officially sold out from Marvel, and barring another print run, the ones already out there in circulation are it for the time being. I do realize the words “sold” and “out” have become the industry’s catchphrase lately, but that doesn’t take any of the coolness away from seeing it on Diamond’s product update list. The all-ages material is really engineered for this format anyway, and gettin’ all of them out before summer’s end is pretty cool, so thanks to everyone that showed support.
Other bit of goodness is the new Kanye West CD, that did its absolute best to rescue me from what could’ve been an entirely miserable past weekend. Don’t know if my Hip-Hop fetish shows, and it should, considering that quite a few columns are named after albums or songs, but I’m definitely a fan, and anything that manages to cut through the moronic bullshit often serving as representative of it, is definitely good for the soul. More on the musical genius of ‘Ye at a later time though, let me set the scene for this piece…
Back almost two years when I sold my first Marvel script (Spider-Man Unlimited 3), there wasn’t a thing you could say to convince me this wasn’t “it.” I mean, I’d just finished my six-month Epic tour of duty, re-written a Luke Cage/Danny Rand short into absolute oblivion, and was finally scoring my first Marvel credit with one of the greatest characters in the history of comics. So, I’m thinking this is gonna be my personal staging point, cause I’ve been in contact with editors there, for nearly the entire life of this column, and I just feel like it’s time. Like I was ready to make a true push at this thing, and had enough of the necessary skills to knock the 11 pager out the water, and just watch the dominos fall. Even at that point, I knew there was much more to this than the actual work, whether you’re talking the persistence, the timing, or the luck, but this was different from all the other narrowly missed opportunities. It was just time. Everything went down slightly before Christmas, and the check got here before my birthday, and I was convinced that all meant something. But after several months passed, without selling another single script, apparently it didn’t mean what I thought it did.
Got so frustrated with my lack of progress that I considered quitting again, which honestly, is somethin’ that happens maybe one, two times a year. The urge hits me a lot less than before, because I’m so “close” that it’s easier to buy into the idea I’m only one real move from bringing it all together. But a few weeks away from re-thinking my pursuit, the FF Tales assignment literally fell into my lap, and the Shatterstar mini finally got scheduled, coincidentally launching in the same month. This was already chronicled, sometimes in extreme detail, but while working both projects and writing about ’em here, I was making a very rookie freelancer mistake. Was so busy trying to get the work done, and have it be good of course, that I didn’t devote enough attention to securing any follow-up gigs. Yeah, I put in a few things, Marvel Age X-Men and the like, but I didn’t really blitz all my people, to maximize my chances. More wishing I’d get another assignment, than working at getting one. Like I said, rookie stuff, won’t happen again, but it left me in this weird position.
There’s a taste for this now, you see. I was fortunate enough to write published books for Marvel Comics, over several months, and I didn’t go insane with panic. Came close on that Dr. Strange issue, but ignoring that, everyone emerged largely unscathed. and I’ve gotten much better. And now, it’s time to raise the stakes, so the output is increasing, along with the intensity, because I want this more than I can express, even here. There is so much more to say, and to do, and the clock keeps ticking. After selling the Spidey script, I got a little passive, leaving too much to chance, not really forcing the issue. So, this summer has been about a different approach, securing another gig before the weather turns again. I’ve been hittin’ things on both fronts, pitching my ass off to anyone that’ll listen, and working up creator-owned stuff like God Complex, and Miranda Mercury.
Nothing really solid has developed thus far, and I’m averaging about a pitch per week, but couple weeks back, got word from an editor that a proposal was one step away from that final green light. It was actually something that got turned in awhile ago, while finishing the FF mini, so I’d honestly completely given up on it, but hearing that it was close to happening brought the whole thing back. Told myself to chill until the final confirmation, because just like falling in love with an initial draft of a script, it’s dangerous, cause everything is subject to change. You might be convinced that it’s all perfect, but there’s always a chance you’re wrong, and your editor’s job is to tell you. Despite all that, the larger possibilities crept in, and I started laying everything out in my head, filling in the blanks, planning shots, blocking scenes, runnin’ dialogue. The last thing I had any business doing, but that’s how it is sometimes, the story takes off with you, and you sort the rest out later. But nothing ever happens exactly the way you plan, so it was no big surprise that things unraveled at the end, and the pitch was stopped short.
This has happened before, and will definitely happen again, but as usual, a little deconstruction is necessary, to make sure I personally did everything in my ability to make it happen. Neurotic I’m sure, but like I said before, if everything means something, there was another lesson here, and realizing what it was, sooner rather than later, could only help as I moved past it. So, I’m thinking stuff over, being a little disappointed, and even feeling a bit sorry for myself all weekend, listening to good music, reading good books, and watching good DVDs in response. When it gets discouraging, that’s always how I get the focus back, with very clear reminders of just why I want this, and after that, it’s only a matter of time before everything returns to normal. But this time was different, because just when I’d gotten into this familiar rhythm of mine, Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast, and makes everything written above seem hopelessly small in comparison.
Everyone has seen the pictures, watched the continuous coverage, and hopefully read the reports of what’s been happening down there, especially in the New Orleans area. With thousands dead and homeless, and the numerous issues that have been raised regarding the evacuation, my very personal “concerns,” if you can even call them that, are so insignificant it’s not even funny. Nothing is worth more than a little perspective, and I’m not sure if it’s an appropriate reaction, but this temporary depression I’ve had hanging over my head seems more obscene than anything now. I’ve just been struck recently by how fortunate I am to have things like running water, electricity, and a home, so I could spend a few days pouting about my little rejected pitch. I understand the need for life to press on, especially in the face of adversity, and I try not to allow the “outside” to seep into this forum very much, but personally, looking at the awful conditions that some of the residents are faced with, is making me really slow down, and acknowledge just how lucky I am.
This isn’t meant to be any definitive call to arms, fact is I don’t know what it is, but it’s on my mind right now, and as always, that’s why you’re reading it. It’s up to everyone to help in any way they think is appropriate, but regardless of what you’re doing, I think it’s important that it provides things proper context, at the very least. Terrible things happen to people everyday, that they have absolutely no control over, and any day we can wake up in the morning, take a hot shower, and do any of those other little recreational things we find so important, is cause to be thankful. Because as recent events show, not everyone is quite so fortunate…
From this point on, I’ll be making a stronger effort not to use this column for this kind of complaint style monologue, as the next one I write will be number 200, and it occurs to me just how lucky I’ve been to have my own Internet column, that I’m able to type up on my laptop, in the comfort of my own home. Don’t really have much ground to be “disappointed” about something as minor as another dead pitch, do I?
Yeah, I don’t think so either. Especially not this week.
Expect something very different from 200.