meet the press

Jed said... Taking a random addle-minded whim and giving it such relentless treatment is perhaps your hidden gift.
me:
"HIDDEN"?!?!


Anonymous said... Lord Luxury-Yacht is right- you don't even like Monty Python!
me:
That's a lie!


BonzoGal said... maybe you could scan Con Job and some of your other mini-comics and put 'em on your website. Then you'll lose less money, and the terrorists won't win.
me:
Oh, I don't lose THAT much money. I consider it all promotional expense. Just having a mysterious "presence" out there makes me a "real artist"! Having a "rare" out-of-print jewel floating around gives me gravitas, whereas posting another comic on my website MAY get me a dozen more "hits".


BonzoGal said... What's that from?
me:
That is Grunge's sand pail. Grunge is going to be an EVERYTHING in January, but I can go ahead and post it here to answer you:


GEN 13 TRADING CARD - 1996

Image and/or Wildstorm (?) published a set of trading cards featuring the Gen13 characters drawn by various unlikely artists. I guess. I assume that was the idea, as I was totally unqualified to draw a Gen13 character, having no clue what Gen13 was. They explained that this Grunge guy took on the qualities of whatever he touched. So I put him on a beach and had a cat pooping in the sand. Ha ha. Get it?


Mike Dobbs said... I'm completely lost as usual.
me:
but - but - -


eeTeeD said... if runaway isn’t the “hit” you want it to be, get out there and promote it! and BonzoGal said... eeTeed is right... you should schmooze up the McSweeney guys or Michael Chabon- ooh, or come to SF and do a event at the Cartoon Art Museum!
me:
Thanks for the tips!

Oh man. There are so many layers to that onion. I'll just touch on a few.

a. I know some brilliant cartoonists who go to all the cons and shake all the hands and, in my opinion, should be heralded as geniuses and showered with money and New Yorker cover assignments. But they are virtually unknown. But they enjoy going, and are not bitter or anything. That's not my point. My point is, getting out there does not make your book magically explode.

b. I live in the boondocks and have a day job. I also am not a huge extrovert.

c. HOWEVER - I did have trips to APE and to Frankfurt Book Fair planned this year. I DID! And for once in my life, I was really looking forward to the dog and pony show. But unforeseen events intervened, and I had to cancel both trips, losing gobs of money, and my opportunity to get out there and promote the debut of Runaway, and be chauffeured all over San Francisco by BonzoGal and Eric, and see Germany - BOO HOO!!! I hope I don't sound TOO MUCH like I am whining. Those are just the facts.

d. But really, even if I was able to drum up a couple thousand more sales of Runaway (which I probably would not) that still would not translate to anything approaching minimum wage for the work involved.

e. On the other hand - it could be a stepping stone to Sid and Marty Krofft's YEAHBUTT HOUR!!!

f. McSweeney, Blab, Kramer's, etc - all of those "cool" books are very clique. And my material is not that kind of cool. In their opinion.

g. Actually, I am just assuming McSweeney would snub me. I have not actually approached them. But Blab and Kramer's snubbed me, so que sera sera.

12 comments:

julius said...

what is your day job ?

julius said...

I'm afraid the cat looks like he's having sex with the Gen 13 character's back, that makes this a rather more surreal scene.

eeTeeD said...

“...My point is, getting out there does not make your book magically explode...”

i spent years sending my work to publishers and got nowhere. i took my work to a nyc convention, showed it around, and it got picked up. “but i already submitted this to you, and you rejected it.” said me. “yes, but we’re starting a new book, and this will work well in it.” said them.

you get places in the comics biz not by talent, but by connections. there are very few jobs available in the comics biz, so of course you can find plenty of people who are trying hard, but not breaking in. BUT your using that as a reason not to go out and promote and make connections is apples to oranges. you are someone who HAS broken into the biz, not TRYING to. you’re ability to get out there and make the right connections and be at the right place at the right time is much more likely than mr. johnny newguy.

how did disney get to the top? promotion. how did the tmnt make it big? promotion. if you aren’t going to do it yourself, then hire someone to do it like the turtles guys did.

Marky Mark said...

OK thanks. I'll get on it right away!

Jed said...

Me:

"hidden" as in: "gift" might not be the most obvious word that comes to mind in this context, albeit: Blogoperas and Mark Martin fan fiction. There's something Mount Rushmore about these ideas. Like when that guy said, "I'm gonna dynamite friggin presidents out of this mountain by golly." There's something brilliant about the sheer bull-headed tenacity that it took to accomplish something just that ludicrous.

Speaking of high brow, some time ago I was offered a spot in one of those high brow rags you mentioned, but apparently the editor's aesthetic sensibility had transcended whatever high brow cache my work may have had before he evolved. I'm kind of glad in the sense that at this point I think most of my efforts in the medium are shit (I'm fixing to change that though).

But Mark: your stuff runs so much in the face of what the high brow crowd is trying to promote as good comics, (Maus and all that jazz) and its just a little too funky for mainstream tastes (possibly). But it's like that whole Weirdo vs. Raw business. Ultimately, you can't really argue with the quality of work by Bagge, Woodring, and Crumb in one of his most inventive periods, but Spiegelman still considered it retrograde, underground comics stuff. Basically: I think your good stuff is going to stick around.

At any rate, you know how it goes, comics are a mugs game. If you're in it for the money and the fame and the chicks, you're obviously mental. The problem is that people can't seem to seperate the idea of franchise comics and these other sorts of comics. When people talk about the "comic book biz" and include things like Raisin Pie, or Blab, they might as well be talking about the "poetry biz". Poets and novelists have similar bitches, but I don't know that any of us deserve to seriously gripe. I mean, hell, I think just the fact that someone's agreed to publish and distribute this thing you squeezed out of your head with absolutely no editorial interference, even to a small audience, is really fucking cool. It would be nice to make a buck, too. It would be nice. But if you expect it, you're in the wrong discipline. You can't help the fact that mainstream tastes veer towards the shitty.

And another thing mister eeteed: you don't have to "break-in" to the "comics biz". If you're making comics, you're in. That qualifies you as a full member in good standing in "the biz". Then, after you've been tag-teamed by Stan Lee and Gary Groth there's the Official Swearing In Ceremony. That's when you get "connected" or as we say in the "biz", "made". You see, its all about connections.

As for those TMNT people: is was blind luck. Seriously blind luck. Those guys had no idea what they were doing. They didn't know what hit them and they're still recovering from the blow. "I'm buying a tank!" "I'm marrying a porn star!" These guys just aren't masterminds of self-promotion. It more or less just happened to them. Hey, they gave us Tundra, they gave us Mark Martin and Jim Woodring's Tantalizing Stories, they gave us the Xeric grant. Even though they're mostly clueless, they did attempt to give back. But connections? Please. They just happened upon an idea for a pet rock that apparently had a little more endurance than other pet rocks.

BonzoGal said...

Wheeoo, this is cool. Seriously, I'm very much enjoying this discussion. Meaty!

Mark, I was just razzing you- although you SHOULD come to SF, but that's just so I can watch yer reaction to some of our "neighborhood denizens." Also, Eric and I want to get your opinion on all our many egg rolls.

I change my mind about putting your rarer comics on your website- now when I'm hangin' down at Comic Relief, I can trump all the fan-boys by saying "Feh!" and "Pish tosh!" to their collections. I have the Tundra stand-up Xmas card!

Seriously though, I'm friends with a newspaper cartoonist who published 5 books, and was reluctant to promote any of 'em because he HATES schmoozing. I accompanied him to one promotional schmooze-fest and it was torture for him. He left feeling weirded out and depressed.

It sucks that artists are expected to promote as well. I thought that's what publishers were for, dammit. That's what I do for the scientists in my lab- I'm the cheerful corporate "communicator" for people who want to do their work and NOT just shill it!

Anonymous said...

"I live in the boondocks and have a day job. I also am not a huge extrovert."

It's true! He's a moderately sized extrovert!

(But he's lying about the day job. He really spends his days lounging by the pool, while scantily clad nubile nymphs serve him freshly baked cornbread. Proper Southern cornbread! Not that yellow stuff ya'll crazy Yankees call cornbread! And occasionally he checks on the cartooning of his minions, who really do most of the work that appears under the internationally famous "Mark Martin [not the NASCAR driver!]" name.)

eeTeeD said...

mr. jed, you make a lot of good points, and i enjoyed reading your post very much. but i can’t agree on your point “...If you're making comics, you're in. [the biz]...” there’s a big difference between making comics, and being a part of the business that makes comics. i’m living proof of that!

Jed said...

Maybe the problem isn't so much trying to get into the "biz" as seeing it as a biz. As a biz, most small press publishers represent a pretty piss poor business model. Unless you're a work-for-hire minion at Marvel or DC, or you defy all the odds, like that guy who came up with Bone, calling it a "business" or an "industry" just doesnt cut the beans. It doesn't apply to persons like your typical nickel and dime small press cartoonists outside of the odd Dan Clowes or Chris Ware. At least, it doesn't apply in any real practical sense, as most of them are in the biz of losing money.

Its no secret that Jeff Mason of Alternative Comics anticipates losing money every year from his publishing enterprise. What kind of business is that?

This whole innapropriate model that intertwines comics; the medium with comics: the industry stems from a time when comicbooks were first and foremost a business. Ever since Bill Gaines' daddy put out FAMOUS FUNNYS #1. This "industry" mentality has been sustained by the comic shop owners that started setting up shop in the late 70s (the ones who carried almost nothing BUT Marvel and DC comics). Think about it. Do you think Crumb and Spain and S. Clay Wilson thought of themselves as part of an "industry" at the height of the underground comix movement? It was the superhero geeks who prevented the FORM from growing in part by continually and insistantly referring to it as an "industry", and now we're almost exclusively dependant on the superhero geeks and their fickle tastes to get good comics in the stores.

You may be trying hand over fist to get your novel published, but are you trying to get into the novel business or the novel industry? Maybe you're just trying to get people to read your book. Make a comic book, xerox it, staple it, and boom you're in. That's what's great about comics, as apposed to a lot of other media. Try getting someone to read your brilliant unpublished novel, as aposed to your 16 pg mini comic. Boom your in. What do you want, legitimacy? Mass appeal? Hey, I'll admit, I'd much prefer to see my work in a published comic book than have to staple them together myself. Who doesn't want lots and lots of people to read their stuff?

A few years ago I sent proposal after proposal to publisher after publisher trying to get my brilliant solo anthology in print. Once one bit, I thought, "geez, I've made it! I'm in the biz! I'm in the game!" The only problem was that it kind of sucked and I wasn't ready, and it tanked, and almost nobody bought it. Now thousands of copies are floating around as testament to my no longer private shame. Every once in a while one will show up on e-bay for some strange reason. The point is, getting in the biz aint the point. Make good comics first. And quitcher bellyach'in.

BonzoGal said...

Speaking of cornbread, if anyone would please help me with a good cornbread recipe, I'd pay them back with something cool. I made some collard greens last weekend and cornbread to go with them, but my cornbread always tastes like cake. I need good cornbread!

I digress. Thank you and please get back to discussing the dirty underbelly of the alternative comics world.

RHoward said...

Bonzogal, It sounds to me like you're in need of a true southern cornbread recipe the likes of which can only be found in Leeds, Alabama.
Perhaps we could barter...a recipe for info on where I can "get/buy/copy/download" a copy of The Trouser Press by The Bonzo Dog Band.

BonzoGal said...

rhoward, you have got yerself a ding-dang deal. I will provide you with anything from my collection of Bonzo Dog Band- and b'leeve me, I have lots.

Email me at BonzoGal at gmail.com!