Manny's english has gotten better and we ate a Chinese lunch. He showed me his fantasy game sketches that he is programming and designing, and the cover for a proposed 9/11 comic, revealing his experiences from when he ran down to the World Trade Center when the first tower got hit by that airplane. By the time he reached downtown, they were both gone and he spent the next three days digging out remnants of bodies in the hot steel, smoke, and carnage. He was one of the proud few that you saw on television working hard in that bucket brigade. He is cursed with perpetual nightmares and occasionally ekes out dreadful accounts of that harrowing week. I urged that he express himself and gave him a Frank Frazetta fantasy art book, the BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA - DVD, and my extra bike, so he could get around in East Hampton.
Poet and comix critic/scholar, Ana Merino called me to tell me that she will be going under the knife again, for a fourth time, to cut out a malignant lump in her breast. Ack. I can't stand the threat of cancer. No matter how many vegetables you eat and how many times you exercise, there's only four ways you will definitely die: 1] heart attack 2] disease 3] accident 4] suicide. If you had the choice, which one would you pick? BAH! Merino told me that she won another poetry award and spent some of her money on the complete PRINCE VALIANT collection. A strip her father used to collect and read to her when she was a child. Seems Fantagraphics publisher, Kim Thompson cut her a sweet deal and she was waiting for her bulk of favorite classic comics to arrive. With danger in her body, I told her to bask in as much love as her husband Felix could foist upon her, take long baths, and to reach out to as many friends as possible. The only way to beat this monster is to expose it and defeat it with love. That, the best way to spend alone time was to curl up with her favorite comix. Comix she didn't have! So, I called up publisher Gary Groth at Fantagraphics, regarding Merino's health and PRINCE VALIANT order and, like the righteous man he is, Groth got on it like white on rice.
I called SBX's house @dinner time to remind her of the reported "Meteor Shower" we could watch together @11PM, when Mr. Ex picked up the phone. Startled, we kept it quick and short. There was nothing friendly about it. *sigh* Of course, SBX never got the message that I called, so no surprise there. I was hoping to swing by her pad for the star light show, but one miscommunication led to another and we wound up talking and fighting for an hour on the telephone rather than keeping it quiet and easy, face-to-face. I'm convinced that half of our troubles stem from the fact that we don't get to spend regular down time together. Everything we do is scheduled under the guise of "windows of opportunity" and always charged with too much import to spend the best quality time possible, when most couples ALSO get to just hang and chill around each others sans such qualifiers. So, we need to spend crap time together so we can handle hardship like pros.
I was up on my rooftop @11PM sharp with my childhood pal and upstairs neighbor, Finster ["King of the One-Lines"] and we stared long, deep, and hard, at the freezing night sky for over 15-minutes with only a ROLLING ROCK to keep warm. Nothing. Not one shooting star. A bunch of airplanes tried to fool us, but to no avail. I figured the meteor storm was hiding behind the Manhattan skyline and cursed the cosmic gods. If only I hadn't shared a spat with SBX. Now, NYC was paying for it.
On Tuesday, I inked another page of NIGHT FALLS #2, and drew a revision that Lis and Dorkin both wholeheartedly insisted on. This upset me greatly, because the revision was caught AFTER I had inked the page and I fought that THAT was what pencils were for. To catch these things before I do finished inks. After much editorial debate and SBX professional advice, I succumbed to the work and reminded myself it was "just comix." And yeah, it DID make the page work better.
SBX wants to see a remake of the UK classic 80s tv-series [based on the 60s cult film], THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS. So, I expect to see this remake announced in the 2004 Universal Pictures line-up. Get to it, NiggerKojak. Speaking of whom, I just read BLACK PANTHER #51 this morning and felt that Christopher Priest has the same story and dialogue sensibilities as my boy, NK. No great shakes, but check out the comic. Might tickle your fancy.
SBX and I caught the 8:20PM show of REVOLUTION #9, starring Michael Risley, Adrienne Shelly, and Spalding Gray. Written/directed by Tim McCann. Produced by my good pal Shannon Goldman, with bit parts by pals Jim Burton and Cooly C. Shannon even made a cameo with line producer, Jennifer Carter. The movie was well crafted [even if some of the close-ups appeared to be unintentionally out of focus], and the acting was solid [even if I can't stand to look at Shelly's "burn victim" visage], but it suffered from the one thing that is incredibly hard to achieve in any drama that depends on witnessing your hero suffer, and that is, you must love your hero/s or you won't care. Who cares about the protagonists plight if you haven't fallen in love with him/her? This one monumental sticking point makes or breaks any narrative for me. So, even though the arc was there and the craftsmanship was top-notch, I didn't care what happened. I couldn't invest in the hero. Sure, there were a few scenes in the beginning that were geared to make me like these people, but it didn't bite and I was left standing outside. Still, McCann is talented and should make movies. I look forward to his next foray.
I've had an outstanding beef with filmmaker McCann for over a decade. I never really liked the man in the first place. When I think about the type of chump he is, he unfortunately reminds me of Mr. Ex [SBX's husband], who is also a misogynistic pig and cut-throat mercenary. He doesn't have the social skills nor savvy it takes to warm up to the likes of my own particular brand of aggro-moxie, so maybe we were never meant to be buddies, unless it was for a Hollywood formula flick where the two cops or cons are stuck in a car and hate each other for the first two acts. Makes for plenty of funnies. Ha. I nearly stabbed McCann with a knife one New Year's Eve party at Rockville [when it was on Mott]. A blade I used to carry around with me for the better half of the 80s and some of the 90s. My then gal-pal Boo [who was also SBX's bestfriend, at the time] was having a family scuffle with her brother Bill, and it was causing some alarm in a drunken crowded room housing a $40,000.00 Avid, digital editing machine. Sparks flew and McCann got stupid. Knowing he wasn't on the best terms with me and Boo, he decided it would be hilarious to push more buttons and tease the sibling rivalry. I waved him off and they spotted his mean jibes, attacking McCann's frame, growling in his face. McCann took it one step further and slapped Bill in the face. WAR! I charged the melee and suddenly the lights went out. Literally. Shadows and screams and fisticuffs. Punches flew. I grabbed McCann as he was swinging and threw him against the wall, but not before he knocked Boo in the head. Whether this was intentional or not, I will never know. But, at the time it didn't matter. Seething with anger, I threatened McCann and pushed him towards the exit. McCann is bigger than me and may store the same amount of rage, but it wasn't being tested this round. Suddenly, I got punched hard in the mouth by another fellah in the dark and that pushed me over the edge. I reached for my pocket knife and hell broke loose. I was a thunder god enraged. My uru shiv was swinging madly, ready to wound any who would defy me as a few strong men grabbed my body and tried to take me down from my pulpit of hate. Boo ran after McCann, cursing him and his date, as I went clinical, looking for street justice. Thrown back inside the party room, all was a blur as I charged the stage where this all started and, in my whirlwind of bloody murder, I nearly destroyed the Avid, or so Shannon purports. He and a few of my J-51 alumni grabbed me, settling me down, as I made one more attempt to break free and elbowed one of my best buddies hard in the ribs. Insane yet depleted of resources, I slumped to the my knees depressed by the turn of events. McCann was gone and Boo was sick. The fellah who punched me and gave me a bloody lip, apologized. Seems he was a pugilist by hobby and his instincts kicked in when the battle broke out. I felt lost. Tortured. Betrayed. That was the night I declared "J-51 is over." No more malt liquor would be poured out for a banished brother named DEAN. I put my knife in a drawer and never held it again.
SBX confessed on the subway ride home that she had found my Live Journal and skimmed approximately 1/3rd of Man-Size. She says it's good for me to have that outlet [and that I needed severe editing -- agreed, but I'm not typing this for Barnes & Noble!] and that I romanticize some of our life, rarely reporting half the grit. True in respect to grit, not so sure about the romance. I think we live a very haphazard and romantic life. Not one that I would want perpetuated nor aped, but respect that it's stuff like ours that gets us to better places in the heart and hopefully towards a fundamental home. I had a revelation that maybe I'm too scared to confront the bad and that maybe this LJ is my way to fix things so that I can rally a better life for us. Maybe so, but it helps get us to where we need be at. Still, this kernel of sobriety got me all reticent and apprehensive. Exhausted, SBX couldn't take another night of deep discussion so close to her bedtime. She declared that no serious debate could be held post 10:30PM, and I was left tortured. SBX brushed her teeth and kicked into self-preservation mode as I stood in the corner, stumped. We went to that bad place again. The grit that I often fail to admit to made the air thick with our stubborn stances. SBX was willing to bury the hatchet and I was too caught up in my own melodrama to buckle. Once again, I was downstairs tying my shoelaces ready to bike the walk of shame home when this time, something new happened. SBX actually got out of her bed and came stomping naked down the stairs to pull me back in. She unhinged my boots and lifted me up off her chair, pushing me up the stairs and onto her bed, closing the door shut, all the while claiming "this is the one and only time" she would "bow to my game" to prove that she can "play it, too" but that it "achieves nothing." A deer in headlights, I tried to utter a syllable or two and she told me to shut up. That there was no more discussion as she tore off my clothes and laid atop me. We looked deep into each other's eyes and kissed, one small smooch after another. Slowly. Methodically. This was our discussion. This was to be our debate. Only, there was nothing to argue anymore.