If you people had any idea of just how often male fans and pros try to cultivate relationships with women creators for bragging rights, access, jobs, etc, you’d quit whining about what users women are.
So, back in 1989-ish, I met this dude “R” at a convention. He was cute, and in a very rare move for me (maybe the only time I ever did this with a male fan,) I gave him my number. We spoke on the phone once, and I agreed to meet him at my next convention for dinner.
He insisted that as an old fashioned gentleman, he was buying.
No worries fair lady!
To my deep annoyance, he showed up at the convention with his extraordinarily awful portfolio of art for me to see. It’s always a bad sign when a guy expresses interest in you, then springs the art on you out of nowhere. I realized pretty quickly I was about to step into it with a user.
He asked for a critique. Shit.
There was nothing good to say about the work. It was just dreadful. Very bad profile drawings of people, some of them with elf ears or dragons on their heads. But really, really bad in every way. For some reason, everyone got a huge, deformed forehead.
His conversation all had a negging edge, odd, sly put downs, like comments about my age, what with me being in my 20′s and getting old around the eyes and all. I mean, really.
I knew I was in big trouble if I said anything truthful about his art. So I just said, “What do you really want to do?” He looked at me and smiled and said “Make a lot of money.” And I said, “How are you going to do that?” He smiled again. Looked at me.
Shit you not.
I was a little wigged out and needed to find a way to ditch this guy who’d shown up for our “date” wearing a RenFaire costume. I’m not into that sort of thing, and didn’t want to go out in public with a social climber in tights.
Fortunately, he announced that he was not going to dinner because he had no money. What difference did that make, I had money! He said as the MAN he could not accept money from a woman.
Less than an hour after he said he was willing to marry money.
I declared I was hungry and was going to get something to eat with or without him, so I went to Denny’s, which was a short walk from the convention hotel. He said he wanted to talk, and followed me on this non-date.
I ordered a grilled cheese and fries, and while not taking a woman’s money for a meal, he picked fries from my plate. I finally just gave up on the entire charade of Renfaire manliness he was putting on, and let him have half my sandwich.
Thus endeth the entire “date”, which was not a date.
As we walked out of Denny’s, there was a small crowd of his friends waiting outside the door. That’s right, he’d called his posse to come see him on his “date”. I cannot even begin to tell you how disgusted I was with this move.
We walked back to the hotel, and I saw my assistant, a very cute but closeted Asian guy. I gave him the “HELP” signal, so my assistant came over and we played beard for one another.
“R” then got uppity, gave a stiff heel clicking bow and a kiss at my hand, and walked off.
That is the last time I ever had any interaction with “R”.
But “R” got his revenge.
For years thereafter, at almost every convention I attended on the East Coast, total strangers would come up to me to inform me that I had ruined “R”, cheated on him, destroyed him, destroyed his art hopes, despite his being a MUCH better real artist than me, etc etc. A woman who used to do the Maryland area shows dressed as Queen Elizabeth chewed me out at a Worldcon, announcing how great it was that “R” was now with someone who treated him right. When I tried repeatedly to protest that I never had a relationship with this guy, never touched him, these hysterical fans wouldn’t hear a word.
At Worldcon around 1999-2000 (can’t recall,) he showed up at my table in the dealer’s room. I recognized him right away, and pointedly ignored him even though he paced back and forth across my exhibit space and pretended to be interested in buying books. FOR AN HOUR. I finally got up and left, leaving my mom to deal with him. I never spoke to him.
And that was the end of it.
Until I saw him following me on Twitter.
That’s right, “R” crawled out of the woodwork in 2014. Only 33 tweets, 39 followers, and me.
Now he’s some sort of “pop culture” academic. I have to assume he didn’t think I’d remember the dirty trick he pulled. But I sure do, “R”. Because you used me to justify the fact that you can’t draw for shit or get a career in actual production of pop culture as opposed to pontificating about it. And you used me by pretending we had a relationship, so you could get fandom currency and sympathy.
You suck so much.
I ripped him a new one on twitter today (without naming him,) stuck around long enough to be sure he read it (he sure did,) and then blocked him.
I wonder if his next academic paper will be about social climbing geeks who slander accomplished women in pop culture for nerd cred.
“R”, one of us can pass a lie detector test.
Don’t push it.
A couple of people have asked why I can’t get A DISTANT SOIL at my authors discount any more. I’ve been able to offer them at sale prices, but I can’t do that for the forseeable future.
Well, I will be able to when the books are completely in the black on printer costs, but as of this moment, they are not. Don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world. We did fairly substantial print runs, and the books are up-front cost heavy. Our sales are respectable, but we do need to get them up. I’m taking a short hiatus again to make some moolah. While I expect Volumes I and II to be in the black sooner rather than later, by then we’ll be producing Volumes III and IV. Ow.
You can get A DISTANT SOIL by ordering from your local comic shop, or from online stores at prices lower than you can get them from me. Of course, if you order from me, I can sign them.
Needless to say, these are the new, digitally restored editions, and everyone who has one has been blown away by the quality of the tones, the printing, all aspects of production. It is a substantial improvement over prior editions, and has new art and story as well.
I will only have a few copies at Connecticut Comic Con, and those were provided via a bookstore. I completely ran out of my author copies during my sale this past month, and had to reorder quickly via a book store, which meant you got them at my cost! There is solid demand for A DISTANT SOIL. I was able to sell almost 400 copies all by my lonesome through my online shop. FOUR HUNDRED. The last of the mail orders from the sale have just gone out.
But we need to get retailers to order the book, and if we don’t, then it is groovy when you order online, either through me or via the many online bookstores that carry it. Ask your local library to get it.
If you want to support your favorite cartoonist (or, you know, me,) be sure to leave online reviews at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Share your thoughts on social media. Let people know you support A DISTANT SOIL.
Here is my bookshop if you want to order from me. Cover price only, but that’s pretty decent when it comes signed and with a print!
Something people need to understand about creators. Many of us live in bubbles. Different kinds of bubbles, not the same bubble at once.
But we live in bubbles. If you try to snap us out of the bubble, the environment that enables us to create our work snaps too. We may stop creating when that creative bubble bursts. Some people’s creative bubbles burst more easily than others.
If we stop creating because you broke our bubble, then people complain we stop creating. Then we complain you broke our bubble. And we don’t make things. So we turn off social media, or we don’t answer emails to protect the head space. We don’t go to parties.
The book must get written. The painting must get done.
People feel left out and locked out, because they are left out and locked out.
But we’re locked in. We’re working.
Would people feel left out and locked out if you didn’t let them hang out at your office where you work at IBM?
Some people are more demanding of your head space than others. We can spend time with someone who is light to carry. But drama-heavy people take up a lot of head space. And if I am writing or deeply involved in some difficult art task, I limit access to these people.
Being dramatic people, they will become very angry about it.
Dramatic people are often attracted to creative people.
Creative people are often dramatic.
I have a right to creative boundaries just as I have a right to personal boundaries. Everyone does.
I don’t apologize for working and living in my bubble. It’s not just my job, it’s my air. Either you get that or you don’t.
You can’t expect creative people to make worlds and then complain that they live in their own little worlds. It’s kinda our job.
Our environment, including the environment of our head space, enables us to create. Creators must protect that space to protect the creation.
If you take away a business’s office building, their work grinds to a halt. The business will scramble to recreate the work environment, replace the computers, the desks.
If you take away the environment construct that is necessary for creators to work, our work grinds to a halt, too.
Creators are often criticized for being selfish when protecting their work in ways that people with other jobs would merit praise for dedication.
Even people we think know better still see creation as a kind of play, not real work, not real intellectual effort.
A creator who loves their work will protect their work, their head space, the ability to produce.
And that is true love.
There are those who don’t know what that feels like. Never will. Some of them are people who create things, too. And it hurts them to see how much you love something that comes from you & not from them, whether that is a personal thing or an art thing.
Sometimes the worst head space invader is another creator whose work isn’t going well. This person will not want you to do well, either. Or they are hoping that whatever pixie dust gives you your mojo will rub off on them.
If it doesn’t, they’ll hobble you to get it. They won’t necessarily realize they’re doing it. But if their art is drowning, their drowning man’s grip will take yours down, too.
And you will do whatever you have to do to break that grip, or your art goes down with them.
And then they’ll complain you are selfish for protecting your creative ability or your creation.
How many of them would love you – want you – half as much if you didn’t?
The picture you see is work I am doing right now. It is a panel from my new graphic novel for Dark Horse. It is from a story by Neil Gaiman. I drew it in pencil. And now I am painting it.
I am going to finish this book.
And the next one. And the next one.
Thanks for understanding.
OK, so a comics blogger informed me at a convention a few months back that they didn’t know why I got invited to so many conventions and did so many appearances, because there are more women in comics out there than me, and I was hogging all the attention. They don’t think it’s fair for me to be on so many panels because I crowd out other women creators.
I am sure they mean well, but the perception has nothing to do with reality.
My fans know I rarely do appearances. I haven’t actually done a good old fashioned book tour in about ten years.
I do no more than a couple of conventions a year, and one or two book fairs.
I turn down almost every request I get.
There are nearly 1000 shows a year, of which I might do two. This is hardly hogging the spotlight.
I have done exactly two women in comics panels in roughly ten years.
I was sick for at least three years straight, produced very little work, and rarely went anywhere. I have a full workload now, but I’m not going to apologize for getting what I’ve earned, and what I need to do to make up for years of poor health and low income.
I am not hogging the blogging spotlight, either. No one is forced to read this thing.
I am also not eating up all the good women in comics assignments, as far as I know, since women are perfectly capable of writing and drawing all kinds of books whether I am there or not. And while some people might think other women could write and draw my books better than I do, I respectfully disagree. I am also pretty sure if I stopped writing or drawing anything, the theoretical person who would benefit from my absence is just as likely to be some dude.
No one is running around demanding dudes give up their jobs for other dudes because SPOTLIGHT HOGGING.
It is incredibly patronizing to incorporate the assumption that the only way one woman can shine is for another woman to turn off her own spotlight.
Women are perfectly capable of shining without dimming anyone else.
A woman’s place in comics is about achievement and talent, and work ethic, not about taking away a piece of pie from a woman who already has it.
It’s not about getting a piece of the pie, it’s about making your own pie.
Someone has this for sale on ebay. Is it art? I dunno, but the seller is not an art dealer: most of his product appears to be old video games. You can even buy a Japanese video game sticker from this dude for 99 cents. If you want one.
However, he claims the painter of this masterpiece is an acolyte of Diego Rivera. You can’t tell just by looking at this.
But hey, if you’re willing to pay a million bucks for something that looks like it came out of the Sears Portrait Studio because you simply must have a pic of Gates, his family, and a levitating Microsoft logo, knock yourself out.
Here is the direct link, if you just have to have this unique item. The free shipping makes it an extra-special bargain.
Hat tip, Val Trullinger. Because pictures like this make art directors cry.