One of the folks I trust to give me an honest and educated opinion of my work [since way back in the day], is my old buddy/KEYHOLE cohort, JMRN. He's one of the chosen few who gets cc'd on my emails whenever I finish a penciled and/or inked page to get the judgmental thumb from. Whether it's a yay or nay, JMRN always follows through with constructive criticism. JMRN recently opined about my female protagonist in NIGHT FALLS ON YANCY STREET, that I should "watch out with her flip blow-dried 70s hairstyle - you don't wanna look dated - or do you?" And that got me wondering:
Sometimes I think the dated look/style I flex is intended, and sometimes I look at my ladies [and most folks I draw], and wonder "Why AM I so dated?" Boiled down? I think I dig the look of dames [Gardner, Hayworth, Hepburn, Stevens, Welch, Bardot] and the look of men [Brando, Burton, Douglas, Peck, Eastwood, Holden, Hackman] from the 50s-70s era. That's how I inform my characters on a graphic level. See, I'd never make it as a fashion-plate cartoonist like Pope, Tomine, Abel, Choe, Crane [etc.], flexing the current trend and perpetuating the last 15-minutes of what was cool an hour ago. I'm stuck in the past. Must be the Kirby and C.C. Beck comics I read, the Marilyn Monroe and "4:30 Movies" I soaked up, and the Abbot & Costello/Star Trek/Mary Tyler Moore TV shows I mainlined, inside out and all over again. Nothing seems to stick after that. Call me a victim of time.
I took the subway to 34th Street into Manhattan and bought new comix at Jim Hanley's Universe [my Wednesday ritual] and met up with SBX for lunch at Dimple, a vegetarian Indian restaurant that, frankly, sported a lame buffet for my tastes. They make a dish that I adored when I worked at Cobite, called Malai Kofta Curry, but they wouldn't serve it with the buffet in effect. Yes, it was on the menu and had I ordered my the dish from an office or an apartment next door, they would have cooked and delivered it. But, since I was actually eating INSIDE the establishment, I was regulated to poach from their buffet, and only their buffet. Could I argue with a man who prays to a blue elephant with four arms?
When I got home, I took the rest of the day to intermittently ink a cover and a page of NIGHT FALLS...2. FRANK PLEDGE swung by to pick up the hospital bills I've been getting for the car accident I was in, shooting his short film, the appropriately titled, SELF SABOTAGE. We hit Nino's for a slice of pizza, which was his "payment" for my acting work on the film, locking me in contractually, so the production could claim Workman's Compensation. I wish ALL contracts could be this easy.
A bulb lit above my head and I spoke w/JMRN, encouraging him to make a 24pp comic for MOCCA in June, to go along with my AIM TO DAZZLE, and Bertozzi's RUBBER NECKER #3, at the Alternative Comics table. I furnished him with a list of his stuff that was unpublished, including a 12pp travel story he's in the midst of drawing, and convinced him to do it. We played around with some umbrella titles and I thought of "Nomad," which goes well with JMRN's sensibilities. He wrote our publisher Jeff Mason, to see if this had potential. Rally!
Was supposed to hang with SBX, but a conference call at home got her out of whak, pushing her routine back an hour-and-a-half, and she didn't call me until an hour before her prescribed bed time, which frustrated me. Wound up from working all day, I was looking forward to recreation with my lady. Once we squared off a better way to circumvent frustrations in the midst of harried deadlines/overwork/et al, I let SBX slide and gave her the night off. Gee, what a white knight! Her daughters had gotten into a scuffle after some heavy homework and SBX could use the break.
SO, I called Mike & Marie and asked if I could swing by with fried rice and a gift. They were watching the boob tube and I gave Mike a DVD of the old 1940s SUPERMAN cartoons. He was happy. We talked about the new comix; digging THE ULTIMATES, SOLDIER X, and NEW X-MEN, and watched a mad scientist get loose on Metropolis with a crazy laser beam while Lois Lane, girl reporter, stuck her nose in the wrong business, forcing Clark Kent to shed the eye glasses and put on the red cape. Man, they don't make animation like that anymore. I cracked my fortune cookie open and was startled by the macabre message, desperately struggling to decipher its eerie code:
"Refuse on principle."