A Life Lived in Comics Day 21: Con Crud


I went to two cons in April, Emerald City and Stumptown. Other than being tired from the show itself, the parties, and the commute, I don’t remember Emerald City messing me up too much, and after some grouchiness Monday from the post-con comedown, I was fine by Tuesday.

Post-Stumptown seems to have thrown me, and the office, for more of a loop. It’s not surprising that, when people converge from a large variety of places into a single enclosed space, shake a lot of hands and give a lot of hugs, then weaken their immune systems with late nights and heavy drinking, it’s a pretty good situation for some bugs to spread around. In my experience the result isn’t usually anything major, but it usually sticks around a few days. So this week there have been a lot of scratchy throats at Dark Horse, and the entire editorial office has seemed to be in a general malaise.

Scratchy throat and a day of joint pain aside, it’s mostly hit me in terms of waking up far too early, throat dry and nose obstructed. Some days you wake up early and go back to sleep; other days you immediately recognize this is futile. So, for instance, when I woke up at 5:30 (my usual routine is between 7 and 7:30), I read for a bit and then headed for work, one of the first to arrive at 7:45. Friday was an early day as well.

When I don’t get enough sleep, it’s like my body overcompensates. I get a bit manic, louder and quicker to laughter than normal, but the flipside is that I start to crash midafternoon, and by the end of work I’m not up for doing much more. The Monday blog entry turned out to just be a post on burnout, Tuesday I turned down an invite to go out for a movie, Wednesday I actually did make it out for a drink with a friend, but only a quick one. Thursday I promised to write about First Thursday, but in truth I ended up missing most of it.

Waiting until 8:30 when Community was over, I missed the rush and headed straight to Sequential Art Gallery for Star St. Germain’s witty installation about modern dating, Date Lines. I poked my head in a few other places, but didn’t linger anywhere else except Floating World Comics, where I took in some original art from Floating World’s Free Comic Book Day offering Brad Trip and pick up several volumes of Cromartie High School marked down by 75%. Copublished with Spark Plug Comics Books, Revival House Press, and Teenage Dinosaur, Brad Trip is an anthology of surrealist comics, which presents a little difficulty for me, as I’ve not yet found my way into non-narrative comics, but it’s definitely compelling work, and I’ve been through it twice already. It also offers an unexpected callback to earlier in the evening, as one of the sequences uses lyrics from “Heartbeat” by Childish Gambino, the rap alter ego of Community’s Donald Glover.

A quick visit to the library to return an Archie book I was using for reference later I’m back home and crashing. Friday I once again wake up early, get to work early, and actually stay slightly late.

The day’s not particularly eventful, though advances of a Conan softcover and the next Beanworld hardcover come in, as do a bunch of things for Creepy, a new epilogue for Bucko, and some Dragon Age pages. I approve the digital version of MIND MGMT #1, write and submit tip copy for Conan the Barbarian #10, do balloon placements for Conan the Barbarian #7, and editor Sierra and I present a concept for promoting some Eisner nominees to Marketing.

At some point a box of DC comps appears in the break room, including stapled comics releases up through next Wednesday. Several people at DH receive DC comps, and a few share them with the office, allowing us to all give them a look and keep up with the New York part of comics. I tried out a few of the New 52 last year, including All-Star Western, Animal Man, Demon Knights, Justice League Dark, Men of War, OMAC and Static Shock, but eventually dropped off all of them, All-Star, Animal Man, and OMAC making it the longest at seven issues.

I was actually enjoying each of the New 52 series I was reading, but like everyone I have limited time and money and space, and I was finding that while they were pleasant enough reads, I would occasionally grab one from the DC comps, take it home, and discover I’d already bought and read and forgotten it. They’re disposable entertainment sure, but you only need so many series to fulfill that, and lately I’m finding that books like Rachel Rising, Mud Man, Reed Gunther, Prophet, Sergio Aragonés Funnies, SagaSnarked!, RASL, and Sweet Tooth are scratching that itch far more successfully.

What really turned the tide was when I realized that I had been not reading Grant Morrison’s Action Comics for six months and was neither missing it nor particularly wondering what it was like. If my favorite superhero writer could write the character he was born to write for that long and my comics-reading life was none the less enjoyable for missing it, then I probably didn’t need to be spending money on and cluttering up my apartment with Demon Knights and Static Shock.

I do like to take the opportunity of a box like this appearing to give things another shot, so I pull out the most recent issues of the series I’d been reading, as well as the four Second Wave series, the Vertigo series The New Deadwardians (which turns out to be very entertaining). I read DC’s New 52 Free Comic Book Day special over lunch, making it the second FCBD offering I got to try out early, and then pass it on to someone else.

It’s definitely a Friday, with goofiness happening throughout the day and a lot of people exhibiting a general punchiness. The day’s overness declares itself right before 5 when the hallways are stalked by assistant editor Jim Gibbons, wearing an Iron Man helmet and a pair of Hulk hands. From where I sit I hear a series of shocked exclamations emanating from different offices and have no difficulty guessing their cause.

I am a bit depressed throughout the day to hear everyone talk excitedly of their plans to see The Avengers over the weekend. I don’t judge them and I certainly don’t tell anyone they shouldn’t go, because the reason I’m skipping it has everything to do with knowing I’d feel bad if I went and nothing to do with believing I can send any kind of message to Marvel and Disney when the film will surely be among the highest grossing in history. But I do wish the troubled feeling that I have over such a massive corporate undertaking somehow having no room in its record profits to compensate the family of its cocreator Jack Kirby in any way were more widespread. Like I posted Thursday, whatever the legal rationale may be, it just feels like theft, and from a man to whom everyone in this business owes so much.

I leave around 5:30, braindead and exhausted. No blog entry happened, nor did much of anything else, other than catching up on The Daily Show while doing dishes, making some dinner, and reading a few of DC’s Second Wave books without comprehension (I’ll try again later) before falling asleep shortly after 9.

Next: Free Comic Book Day comics!

Why’m I doing this, again?


2 Responses to “A Life Lived in Comics Day 21: Con Crud”

  1. Damon Gentry Says:

    Oops, I blinked and now I’ve got 15 days to catch up on! Just got my copy of that Skeleton Key one-shot and poured over it, absolutely beautiful.

    I’m onboard the Big 2 boycott (also Star Wars b/c it makes me angry). Being a creator now comes with the responsibility of sticking up for my own in whatever ways I can.

  2. Maka Says:

    I’m not watching The Advengers either. Three is crowd. ;). Peace, maka

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