Sunday, September 12, 2010


Memories are slippery things. Now you see 'em now you don't. Or, if you're lucky
they just seem to twist just ever so slightly into a shape that is unexpected and you can't quite
understand how they got that way. If you've ever been in long term therapy, one gets hit in the psyche pretty early on by this fact: your memories are not what you thought they were.
But, they are yours after all. So, what do you do with them? You can't ignore them as they are a vital part of who and what you are. You also can't quite trust them either. The essential fact is, memories are not in reality, subjective. Which is a real hard ass brain drain believe me.
I've had a bit of time (again, dammit.) on my hands recently and one of the things that's come up both with my doctor, and with a few strangers and newly minted friends, is "has this ,(meaning my drawing arm.) ever happened before. I had to stop and think.
The only answer I could give was a yes and a no.
Back when I was doing the drawing for The Wake, After about three weeks, (this seems to be a recurring time frame with me.) I began to suffer really terribly cramps in both my hand from the death grip I had on my pencil, and the joint in my left shoulder. I'd start the days work basically fine, and within say, two hours or so, this stabbing burning pain would creep up my arm and settle into my shoulder joint that I can only describe as if some malevolent entity had slowly and with exquisite care shoved a red hot piece of iron rebar into my shoulder.
I would literally be in tears after three or four hours, but I would just keep going until I simply couldn't take any more, then break and put ice on it for a few minutes then repeat the whole thing over again until days end.
Remember I was working for a company that wanted work that was both excellent and fast. I still suffer from deadline-itis, the condition where one sits down to work and is overcome with the sensation that you are not working fast enough. Shit. Hate it. The bastards.
pychcomitrist,(sp?) would probably explode if I handed it to them to read.
I remember telling Neil about three quarters of the way through the story arch that I was actually useing a pencil with such a small point for the whole thing. Needless to say even he never understood this salient fact and was rightfuly shocked. he felt really terrible about all the night scenes he's written. Believe me, It took HOURS to get a page that black with a .05m pencil point. Was I nuts? Yeah, probably after a fashion. But the final image meant that much to me that I was willing to put myself through such agony to get it right. With me, it's all the way or nothing.
This much I remember about those days working on the Wake. I also remember the fact I took a pay cut for drawing the thing. Since I wasn't actually inking and since I wasn't actually penciling, the powers that be raised my penciling rate and cut my inking rate so that I got a bit more for the job and less than I would have if it was in finished ink. Fair? How would I know. I just did the job man.
Now I finally get to say something I've always wanted to say about The Wake: NO I do not usually pencil like I did The Wake. Ever. In fact most inkers hate me. I pencil like a painter.
Loose and open for improvisation. It makes them nervous as hell. They also have to work a fuck of a lot harder. Me, well I think I'm doing them a favor by leaving them room to express themselves. Generally the wrong thing to do in comics as self expression is really not high up on the list as far as monthly books are concerned. Just fast and good. Get your check and pretend your an artist.
Ah, memories. You know, I don't really remember what year this took place in? Sometime in the mid to late nineties I think. Do you find that odd? Well you know, as much as I think it was a nice gig, (minus the pain bit.) as much as I'm eternally grateful to Neil for the opportunity, when you work main stream, in the final analysis it is just a job. And then my friend you're off to another on, because there are bills to pay. Sad but true. And don't forget I lost the Eisener Award to another artist that year. Same as it ever was my lovelies.
Like I said, memories. Sometimes they are just what they are for better or worse. True? False? Only I can say for sure and then again...maybe not. But I know one thing, they are mine.
All mine.
Oh, I forgot to tell you: there was a Whole Lot Of Shit going on behind the scenes that are not shareable to anyone outside of my inner circle. This made the whole thing one hell of a lot more difficult to draw than just the constant pain.
Yep, memories. Love 'em or hate 'em it's what we have.

Love to you all.


Jim said...

Fascinating. Thanks for the insight.

Erimentha said...

Wow. I want to say thank you for the job you did on "The Wake." Your art made the end of a series I loved even better. Thank you for sharing your experience in doing the art too.
I've made a contribution to Universal Boy and look forward to holding the book in my hands. I am sure husband and I will be competing to read it first ^.^