Saturday morning, I rode my bike over the Brooklyn Bridge to go shoe shopping with Doug B. and Vanessa W. We met up at St. Mark's Comics where the wooden floor was buckling so badly I feared a lawsuit coming at any second. I miss the days when St. Mark's Comics was up on the second floor and was half the size it is today. Back in the day, it knew it's place among the tattoo parlors, drunken/junkie half-way house/castle, cheap record & t-shirt stores, Irish pubs & fly-by-night clubs, and Dojo's chicken cutlet in a pita with ginger/carrot sauce, down the block. St. mark's Comics was a pioneer before the 90s promised a comic book BOOM among collector investors where Superman "died" and alternative comics snuck in the back way and broke down the genre walls. Only, the promise of a million Spider-Man #1s would leave content out of the slick poster pages that made up the monthly 22pp affair, and betray the reader looking for a story, forced to search within the pages of MINIMUM WAGE, LOVE & ROCKETS, and EIGHTBALL, while flavor of the month hot dogs would jump ship and form an IMAGE that would hawk a creator-owned franchise aping the same bad crap they were supposedly running from at Marvel & DC. Industry gods like Frank Miller would take his Daredevil & Dark Knight success and pave a creator-owned road with SIN CITY, while Alan Moore would reinvent the comic book superhero wheel with the launch of ABC Comics. Independent comics would utilize the communication tools of the internet and celebrate its subversive ink with expos like SPX and APE. The art of the graphic novel would grace the literary shelves of book stores and escape the invisible racks of comix shoppes, begging retailers to re-think their jobs. Witnessing St. Mark's Comics crumble, buckle, and falter like that breaks my heart. Somebody bust out the electrodes and shock some life back into it, please!
DB, VM, and I ate pre-made sushi and what could only be described as "airplane curry" with cubes of hydrated beef at a Japanese joint that took its designs from ye olde Auto-mat diners from the 50s/60s coupled with the modern UK fad of the Pret-a-Manger -- fresh/fast food counter culture. Went and bought a new pair of Doc Marten boots at 99X and broke 'em in back over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Late afternoon, SBX invites me for a bike ride around Prospect Park. Her babysitter fell through for the night, so we make alternative plans to invite pals over for an impromptu GAME NIGHT. Riding around the park, I start questioning what defines the "individual?" Why do we describe each other by our resume, or the extreme things that occur in our personal lives? Why does it take a promotion or a scandal to make a mark? It's rare that people notice what is consistent in one's character and the inherent actions that yields as a result. On canvas, SBX is a resourceful, one-stop shop Valkyrie who gives more than she gets, expects high-post quality and measures worth by equal parts health, respect, and kindness. She is a Queen with a whoopie-cushion soul. On paper, SBX gets tagged as a single mother of two daughters who hails from England, and is going through a divorce. She is a vice-president/manager/publisher at a medical/health packaging company in mid-Manhattan, and lives/owns a 3-story building with a back yard/garden in Park Slope.
Which is the better definition? Are we supposed to value and judge each other by our fortunes and obstacles? What does that have to do with the joke that is cracked and the smiles it gets? How does that effect the sunset? Are we so shallow as a community to champion facade over guts? Put any one of us an island with a polar-opposite personality and you'll see a pregnant stomach within the year, guaranteed.
On paper, I'm a single male, native New Yorker, professional cartoonist who lives/works from his studio in Carroll Gardens. On canvas, I'm a thug with a velvet mind who drops hardcore phenomo-bombs, flexes two-fisted aggro-moxie and purple staccato for the 21st century!
Which is the better definition?
Set up the little girls with MY FAIR LADY, while SBX prepared leftovers. I rubbed a smidgen of bleu cheese above SBX's lip so that she would be forced to take in the rank. Problem is, SBX thrives on gross smelling cheeses (a European thang?), and it was more CHANEL No.5 than Chinese FISH OIL. She tongued at that spot of blasphemy until it was all good and gone. Nasty girl.
Bob Fingerman & his wife Michele came in with Mediterranean food, while neighbors Hellen & Robert (and their pal, Larry) prepared a mushroom fritata. PUKE! I don't hang with the fungus and chicken caviar, folks. Wine was opened and banter began. Fingerman unloaded some belated birthday gifts upon me and I was a 3-time winner: 1) an old, laminated CAPTAIN MARVEL poster from the 40s, 2) 3-original pages of art from BEG THE QUESTION, featuring me and Bob making brief cameo appearances, and 3) BLADE 2. Score!!! Mike & Marie showed up soon after with chinky-winky.
Nobody seemed up for CRANIUM, so we began to play TRIVIAL PURSUIT. Like a domino effect, all the 9-to-5ers began to crash and yawn, killing the potential of a wild Saturday night of game board stripping. The domesticity of the group flashed its true colors and SBX cuddled into me, the first to, understandably, throw in the towel. The warmth of her groggy body dragged me into a semi-slumber as I began to fight off the sandman with spear and spite. The group relaxed into a half-assed contest over dated trivia and plastic pies and the evening began to taper off. We all called it quits before midnight and, after tidying up, SBX and I lay naked in her bed, snuggling in each other's frame, wishing we could sleep next to each other the whole night. 20-minutes later I was riding my bike down the long hill of 9th street as the cold wind smacked me in the face and sobered my drunken heart.