As I get older I learn more and more about myself. You’d think that after all these years I would’ve already figured out this simple puzzle called me. I guess I’m still a few pieces shy of a full picture. (Hmmm?I see a lot of heads noddin’ “Yes” on that one.)
Not a week goes by that I’m not talking to someone about movies, TV, comics, books, and other forms of story telling pop culture. As I do, I find that my cow pasture of taste and preference is getting smaller and smaller. It’s not so much that I don’t get some of these things, but it’s more of I’m just not interested in what I’m being served.
I Give Up! I Just Don’t Understand Em’!
After all pop culture is just hair and there’s only so many ways you can cut it.
Look at Neil Gaiman. I’ve known him for well over 15 years. I like him a lot and count him as a nice guy and a friend, but to this day I’ve never understood any of his stuff. I’ve tried and tried through the years. I used to think it was because I wasn’t that smart, but then after a while I just realized that his work just wasn’t in my vision of personal interest.
Did that stop me from marketing and selling his run on Miracleman when I was at Eclipse Comics? Nope. I just put my personal taste to the side and did my job. I’m in an obvious minority when it comes to Neil’s work. His success and sales prove that. The thing I admire most about Neil is that he has always been a true professional and a gentleman. I could spend hours talking to Neil about stuff and enjoy it, but I just can’t read more than three of four pages of his work without losing interest.
Look at The Hobbit or the HUGE hit movie, Lord Of The Rings. When I was in high school there were loads of people that were reading The Hobbit. They tried to get me to read it. I tried. I failed. It just didn’t interest me. (I still took their lunch money just the same.)
The same with the film Lord Of The Rings. Even my most manly buddies said that I would like it. All the killin’ and slashin’ of swords. I tried. I failed. Of course those same buddies think that I just watch John Wayne movies all day and don’t really want that image of me to be ruined.
The bulk of The Vertigo line leaves me in the dark. All those fables, trolls, fairies, witches, side show freaks, talking heads and ugly people havin’ sex while suckin’ the blood out of an even uglier people. It’s just not for me. I guess by looking at the sales of most of them that they aren’t for a lot of people, but someone at DC must like em’.
You Call This Manly?
I don’t know Grant Morrison on a personal basis. We do have many mutual friends in the business and they all speak nothing but the best about him, but like Neil’s work, I just don’t get it. I tried to read his latest stuff at DC, the Seven Soldiers stuff and it was like talking to my first wife again. There were things being said but I just wasn’t interested. I might add that I don’t think Grant is pissed at me like my first wife was when she threw words at me.
I’m sure Neil and Grant both giggle quite a bit on their way to the bank to deposit their checks as they worry about me buying a case of beer with the check from my last writing job. I don’t blame em’. It is pretty comical. The bad part is I’ll still be poor the next morning? hungover, but poor.
I try not to let my personal tastes stand in my way of trying new things. I am always on the look out for something new and entertaining. I welcome anything that can provoke a new thought or make me smile. I may not understand or be interested in a product, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring the craftsmanship and work ethic that they person put into it. It also won’t stop me from passing a good word of mouth on to others that might just be interested in it.
A word of advice to those of you on the business side of entertainment: Don’t ever let your personal taste get in the way of doing business. You’re there to sell and market product. There is always a customer base out there that wants what you have to sell. Make sure you’re man enough to go out there and find em’. Give em’ what they want and make sure it’s worth every cent they throw down.
Don’t get personal taste mixed up with not believing in the product. Again, I go back to Miracleman. It was never my mug of beer, but I knew it was something special and ahead of it’s time as well as being A-List work. I wanted to make sure that as many people as possible had the chance to read it. I knew I was in a minority, but I believed enough in the book to make sure it got to the majority. It’s called having respect for what you sell. You don’t have to like it as long as you respect it.
I respect anyone that can express themselves through their creativity and share it with others that might enjoy it.
I just don’t have to like it.
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