Before I get to the meat of the post today, let me take a brief, but unavoidable digression.
Go ahead, click on the picture and you’ll see what it is and what it has to do with being a funny book fanatic. Go ahead. Click away. I’ll wait until you see it. I’ve got no comment here, except to say a quick “thank you” to fellow fanatic and good guy John Nee (until recently a VP at DC Comics) for pointing this out through Facebook. You may as well click on it if you haven’t already, I’m not going to spoil the surprise in this text. But feel free to comment below … is this one of the signs of the apocalypse? All I can think is … WHY?
BACK TO OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING
As a result of this modest, but fanatical blog, I was contacted by a rather charming comic journalist named Richard Caldwell. Turns out that Mr. Caldwell is a bit of an internet gadfly, a renaissance man, a pervasive reviewer and commenter on funny books and pop culture.
Rich wanted me to do an internet interview for ComicNews.info. Flattered, I agreed. I wasn’t aware of this comic news site before being “introduced” to Richard, but I bookmarked it and it is quite nice. A little animation, tasteful advertising, diverse comic/pop culture news without the chaos and “loudness” that you get from most comics news sites.
Rich only pointed me in three directions during the interview, but I managed to pontificate for over 2,500 words. Turns out I had a bunch to say. Because I grew up in a waste-not, want-not household, I’m going to excerpt a couple of quotes from the interview here.
Part of my answer regarding my first comic job at Fantagraphics Books reads like this, “I was exhilarated. Gary, Kim and Mike Catron (the Fantagraphics partners at the time) had given me a chance to live the dream I had for more than seven years. I met and worked closely with Tom Mason, who was my partner at Malibu Comics and remains a close friend to this day. We would take daytrips to New York City, visiting the Marvel and DC Comics offices to get stories and information for Amazing Heroes. I visited the office of Art Spiegelman. Gil Kane would stop by the Fantagraphics offices about once a week. We took a road trip to Poughkeepsie to meet Richard and Wendy Pini when Elfquest was just beginning to take off. I met Walter Simonson. I read my first Love and Rockets story. Every day I got paid to think seriously about comics, to write about comics, to edit other people writing about comics. It was fantastic.”
When asked about the my involvement with Image Comics, part of my answer included, “I’ve personally been a supporter of creator’s rights for my entire career. What the Image deal proved first and foremost is that creators can easily get all the rights that they are willing to pay for. What rights you get when someone else is paying the bill, that is a negotiation. If you are paying your own way, you get to decide every aspect of what happens to your rights.”
When asked about looking back at my career in comics, I answered, in part, “Do I have any regrets? Absolutely. Do I dwell on them? I try not to. Do I want to detail them here in some kind of laundry list of screw-ups? Not at all. Like my Dad used to tell me, some mistakes are like ordering the wrong pizza and other mistakes are like stepping out of an airplane without a parachute. Sometimes you can’t tell the difference until it is too late. You try to do the right thing, weigh your options, test your conscience and learn to live with (or counter-balance) your human weaknesses. I regret that I wasn’t smart enough to save Malibu Comics in a way that would have allowed it to survive. I wanted to work there the rest of my life.”
Richard Caldwell has recently been promoted to managing editor of ComicNews.info. Congratulations to Mr. Caldwell. He also has a blog of his own (HERE) as well as contributing a review feature called “Time Machine” (HERE) and writing as the Archaic Writ (HERE). Keep an eye on this guy, we may all be working for him someday.
May all the fanatics reading this have a better 2009, safe, sound and as happy as you can imagine.
NEXT: Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr. freezing cold in Hawaii
— Dave Olbrich (DWO) Wed. Dec. 31, 2008