Thursday, June 09, 2005

Of promises made and forgotten

The time has come, it seems, as it does for all blogs, to turn the discussion to heartbreak. Let me take a deep, shuddery breath and continue with Part Three, the concluding chapter in the story of comics and me and how we came to be:

So, by senior year of college, I was the willing love-slave to Strangers in Paradise, and had dabbled in some others like Schizo, Artbabe, Optic Nerve, etc. I was also reading a lot of stuff by Chris Ware because I had a good friend who had lent me his personal folder of clipped-out newspaper strips---Quimby the Mouse, Jimmy Corrigan, Big Tex, and some randoms. This was the year I was in charge of little old art+performance, my school's super-hip arts magazine. I had one issue to plan, design, and produce, and I decided we would jump on the cool train and do a comics issue.

Friends, it was beautiful. 36 pages, full-color cover (colored by ME, and I'd never done it before), glossy paper. Original work by several nationally known artists and a very talented current student. Interviews with fascinating people, including Ivan Brunetti (on whom I still have a wholly unreasonable and heartfelt art-crush). Essays on such topics as being The Girl in the comics store, animated cartoons we had loved, and even a how-to guide. It was.. majestic.

(To set the scene, let me also tell you that during the 2-week period of heavy production on this issue, in which most nights ended with a 3am ride in the escort car back to my apartment, I was finishing three classes, one of which I had only attended 7 times, studying for finals, writing my honors thesis, of which I deleted half immediately after finishing, working 25 hours a week, and dealing with a recently acquired knitting addiction. Ok, so that was my fault, but I couldn't stop. I was also watching at least three hours of PBS Kids a day and crying a lot.)

And then? It didn't happen. A total motherfucking heartbreak. Our funding fell through at the last minute--because the school funding office forgot to cut a check to the printing company. It was awful... My co-editor and I consoled ourselves with the idea that we'd publish it first thing in the fall. The bitch then spent a glam-o summer in New York City taking all kinds of design classes, got all fancy, and upon returning to campus in the fall (I was graduated and gone), completely scrapped the comics issue and made a whole new one full of flashy pictures. My jaw knocked the phone out of my hand on its way to the floor when she told me. Never printed, none of the material ever used, including the original art!

My heart and soul! Poured out, then blotted up by a funding error and an Illustrator ego. It was a long while before I could read comics again. Too harsh. The disappointment still tears at me on occasion, like, when I think about it.

Oh well.

A year later I took a class on graphic novels and I read some more good stuff. 100 Bullets started my heart on the road to repair. It's just that good.

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