Allan Harvey found a very amusing little two-pager in an old DC Comic about the joys of visiting the DC Comics offices.
Six months back – after receiving an hysterically weird letter from someone who seems to think anyone who works at DC Comics is some kind of gender traitor because DC Comics is the place where blood drips from the walls and women are herded like cattle – I wrote this, but didn’t post it. (FYI, no I really don’t get a lot of disturbing mail, maybe a few times a year…so don’t cry for me, Argentina.)
I was accused of covering up for abuses at DC Comics because “…they sign your paychecks!” which is odd, because even though I do work for DC Comics occasionally, over the last 15 years DC Comics has neither been my primary client, nor the source of most of my funds, accounting for roughly 10% of my average annual income.
If they are paying me off, it’s the worst bribe ever.
I also don’t get up to the offices much, so I must assume that whatever tortures and terrors are going on on a daily basis are carefully hidden before I arrive, perhaps behind Scott Nybakken’s Simpson toy collection.
Regardless, here is “A Visit to DC Comics”. Hold on to your hats. The scandal will dazzle.
I stop by Godiva chocolates first and buy everyone little gift boxes before I drop by my publishers. Because that’s the kind of hairpin I am.
Then, I go to the office and get lost, because I always forget which side of the street the main entrance is on, since I only visit about once a year or so. In a really wild year, twice.
Then I stand in line at the security counter, while I wonder if my name is on the visitor’s list. If my name is on the visitor’s list, then I go to the elevator and realize I can’t remember which floor the main office is on. I may have to try three floors to get to main reception. I usually end up at the MAD offices.
Sometimes I try to pretend I am just visiting lots of people on different floors because people look at you funny when they see you going up and down the elevator without actually stopping anywhere, and I feel so uncool asking which floor I’m supposed to be on, because I am a Big Name Pro and am supposed to be so familiar with all of these things.
If my name is not on the visitor’s list, security has to call some editor to get me. If they show up, skip the next two paragraphs. If the editor doesn’t show up, security just keeps calling different editors until someone comes and gets me to let me in the office.
If I have spent too much time believing I am a Big Name Pro, the utter indifference of the receptionist cures that right quick.
If I have gotten through the scary elevator experience unscathed, I finally find the main office, and sit under the flying Superman statue which springs out of the wall. Then sometimes I have to wait for some editor to come and get me. If it’s Harvey Richards, so much the better because he’s kind of hot. If it’s Jonathan Vankin, way better because he’s hot and single.
Anyway, I go up to the office with whatever editor came to get me. I sit in the office and trade jokes. Then I wander into the hall and trade jokes. Sometimes they are dirty jokes. Then Will Dennis comes out of his office to remind me about the DC Comics policy on dirty jokes.
Then I dole out chocolate.
Then I go from office to office doling out chocolate to editors I like, and pretending not to see editors I don’t like.
Now that I have made this public, more editors will expect chocolate.
All the editors promise me work, but they are lying. I pretend to believe them, and then we tell jokes and gossip. And since I have no idea who is being gossiped about half the time, whatever I am told goes down the rabbit hole. I don’t have a clue who half the people in the business are supposed to be.
Bob Shreck has been promising me a Batman gig for years. He never delivers, but I still like him. And now that he is gone from DC, I’ll never get that Batman job.
Curse Bob Shreck.
I go through all of this and hope someone buys me lunch. If not, I go to the Marvel office and repeat all of the above and hope someone there buys me lunch.
If I have an assignment to turn in, I do so. If I don’t, my editors and I lie some more about how much we are all dying to work together. They will either hire me or they won’t. I don’t get too upset about it either way. There are lots of people looking for work, and I don’t expect to get every job.
I do have to keep reminding people I actually like superhero comics. I have to do this a lot. Every time I talk to an editor, they are surprised to hear I want to draw The Legion of Superheroes. This gets tedious.
I just did an interview for one of my former DC Comics editors. One question started out, “You don’t care for superhero comics, preferring science fiction and fantasy…” and the other was “You’ve always avoided working for Marvel and DC Comics…” This was funny to hear from an editor I once worked for at DC Comics.
We have a failure to communicate.
I like superhero comics.
OK, here’s my big beef with the mainstream companies right now: I wish DC and Marvel would put me on their comps list. My editors have been promising to do so for years, but never have. I didn’t even get any freelancer presents this year. I suck.
I subscribed to Marvel’s online comics service. I did a bunch of Marvel trading cards over the last year and it was quite handy for reference. Worth the subscription price for that alone. It wasn’t terribly user friendly when I started using the service, but now I am getting some real enjoyment out of it. However, most of the comics they have up are over two years old, so I am not current.
I wish DC would put up online comics. (I know they do now, but this is an old post.)
I would like very much to have drawn X-Men Fairy Tales. But I was working on The Book of Lost Souls at the time. Wouldn’t I have been awesome on X-Men Fairy Tales, too? Just lookie:
No, wait, I should be drawing Doctor Strange. Seriously.
Sorry, I wander.
About the halls of DC Comics, trying to figure out where the heck the out door is.