When being creative, it can be useful to erect a wall between you—the you that is creating and working—and the outside world. This week, I’ve been notably absent from the interwebs. Maybe I could have posted a note on the pixelated door.
“Working creatively, be back soon”
In any case, there’s been loads to produce in a compressed month of May. Next week, I head to Phoenix Comicon. The summer schedule is jam-packed with projects and a major creative getaway (the biggest summer vacation I’ve had since I was a kid), so I’ve been preparing and planning.
Sent the Macho: Slim Jim limited edition to Austin Books. And yes, I took out the trash, went running, took my son swimming, and fed the dogs.
You may need to build a wall around your Creative Control Center once in a while. It’s more figurative that a real masonry wall, but it can be equally effective in shielding your attention.
Wild. Zany. New. Glittery. Weird. Grubby. Adventurous. Outlandish. Intergalactic. Dangerous. Sort of like living the life of Calvin in Calvin & Hobbes.
Now that you’re all grown up, how can you get more breakneck, full speed adventure into your life?
Hint: On a snowy day, it might include building a snowman. Doing something absurd. Get wild with it. Scare the neighbors.
When I first conceived 1000 Steps To World Domination, I was an unpublished cartoonist, bursting with ambition. However, the circumstances were not promising. I wanted to start a career writing and drawing comics, but I was a nobody-cartoonist making lousy comics.
In the summer of 2002, I attended San Diego Comic-Con, where I shared my portfolio with a senior editor at Marvel Comics. He said, “You have a long way to go.” He was being kind.
That sobering bit of professional feedback came on the heels of a form letter rejection from the comics distributor Diamond Comics. Back then, the dream was to self-publish indie comics and produce the next Cerebus or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I submitted Monocle, my trite, sophomoric stab at superhero comics, and it was bounced.
By email, I requested an explanation. The representative at the distributor told me that the comic book rack is filled with all the superhero comics readers could want. Go do something else. Your superhero book won’t sell.
Rejected by mainstream comics and with a stack of unpublishable pages, I returned home from San Diego with no prospects. I was burdened with doubt. The storm clouds were gathered. There would be no parade.
But I had a burning desire, so I did the only thing I knew to do. I got busy making comics.