Here's the uncolored version of the first page of that first Suzy Spreadwell story that I told you I'd finish, so there. (all the inks are done at this writing; just lettering and color to go) Click image to see larger version at Deviantart.
This is a very internally-looking book, with numerous mental asides in
between dialogue, demonstrating Roberson's understanding of how the play
can be translated by the techniques of comic storytelling. As an
adaptation Lulu is an education on the strengths of comics; as a
dialogue on sex across the years between Wedekind and Roberson, this is a
These were some of the words, which I believe were first reprinted in Sim's GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING, that drove me to making comics back in 1997. So I share them with you.
But this passage in particular you, as a creator, should drive home into your brain with a huge hammer.
Be reliable. Whatever they want done, however unreasonable the deadline, push yourself past your perceptions of your own limitations. Build creative muscle instead of feeding the flab of lies, rationalisations and excuses.
Deep down, deep deep down inside of you in the guts of your creative instincts, how do you think you're doing? Are you giving a hundred and ten percent three hundred and sixty-five days a year? Or are you giving seventy-five percent of your best efforts for a period of a week or two and then five or three or NO percent for a month after that? You were sick.
That's a lie and you know it. You had a cold for two days that you stretched into three weeks. Your spine wasn't broken. You had a cold. Draw with one hand and blow your nose with the other.
From the home office in Sioux City, Iowa, here's a list of the top ten lies, rationalizations and excuses.
Number 10: Writer's block or artist's block.This is a failure of will, compounded by fear of failure, centered on laziness. Shut up and draw something.
Number 9: Strategy and development of a concept.Stop doodling in your little sketchpad and produce something useful.
Number8: Recharging your batteries.Failure of will, compounded by fear of failure, centered on laziness as an excuse to read comic books and watch television all day.
Number 7: Communing with other artists.Bitching and whining with other lazy, unproductive people and sharing their lies, rationalisations and excuses as well as a few beers and a joint if any of you are holding.
Number 6: Getting organized.Shifting piles of useless letters, comic books and fanzines from one side of the room to the other, one at a time so you can read them all and avoid doing any drawing.
Number 5: Collaborating.Having someone to talk to after you've read all your comics, about pages you aren't drawing until your television show comes on.
Number 4: Consulting/[Critiquing].Showing the three pages you drew six months ago to the fortieth person and asking them what they think so you won't have to draw the fourth page until Christmas.
Number 3: The Telephone [or Internet].Productive artists don't have a phone or if they have a phone they unplug it. Unproductive artists take a phone call no matter what they're doing, from anyone. Really unproductive artists take phone calls and MAKE phone calls. The hopeless cases have call waiting so they never have to hang up, swinging from caller to caller through their work day like Tarzan moving up the jungle.
Number 2: Heartbreak.Get over it. You will get laid again. There are a lot of fish in the sea, blah blah blah blah. Right now, you're right. No one loves you. Lucky you. Get to work.
And drum roll please--- The Number 1 lie, excuse and rationalisation: Electronic media.Computer games, computer nets, video games, radio, CD players, and the Galactus of electronic media...television. Video games and computer nets are abominable time wasters. They accomplish nothing. They are the black holes of intellectual and creative life. That giant sucking sound you hear is time and attention disappearing into the ether. Take a short cut and strip mine your frontal lobes by shoving an industrial vacuum cleaner up your nose.
Thomas Gladysz, probably the foremost expert on Louise Brooks (best known of course as the star of the most famous adaptation of LULU, Pabst's PANDORA'S BOX), has written about my new graphic novel LULU Book 1 at the Louise Brooks Society blog. Click here to read.
Last night, I also did a talk via Skype with Tim Young of Deconstructing Comics about the book, and the podcast should be live sometime in the next couple of weeks; check back here for the announcement. You can listen in the meantime to a previous talk done while the book was still in progress in 2011, which also goes into the relation of theatre and comics, here.
Be sure to buy your copy at Amazon or Createspace now! As mentioned many times, don't wait for it to arrive in your local comics store, because it's not going to be there.
Also, if you happened to miss the awesome things the famous HELLBLAZER and OUTLAW NATION writer Jamie Delano wrote about the book, have a look here for both quotes and a link to the entire piece he wrote. As well as glowing quotes from Martin Pasko and Steve Pugh. By the way, with Delano and Pugh, that makes two of the best creators on ANIMAL MAN (in Pugh's case a present one as well) who love this book. You will too!
You may know him as the genius behind HELLBLAZER, OUTLAW NATION, 2020 VISIONS, GHOSTDANCING, ANIMAL MAN, and many other great works in comics, and now his brilliant novel BOOK THIRTEEN. Jamie was kind enough to say some very profoundly complimentary words about my first collection of LULU.
I create comics, and have for over fifteen years. I love the comics medium, and I take it very seriously. But I absolutely loathe the industry and the kind of fans it breeds, in terrible numbers.
Comics is the most conservative entertainment
industry, pandering to adults it treats like children. Those adults are
perfectly happy to be continually insulted by said comics
industry, rewarding them by buying shit just to tweet about it.
is why the comics industry is only taken seriously when it becomes an IP
farm for movies and TV, and never in and of itself. The few works in
comics that get taken seriously (MAUS, PERSEPOLIS) are not part of the
comics industry and are loved by book readers for their novelty. What is notable about those works is not that they're any kind of achievement in the comics medium, but the freak value of something serious being talked about in a comic at all. To paraphrase Johnson, it's not what the talking dog is saying. It's the very fact that the dog is talking that is notable.
For the most part, you're still perceived as somewhat damaged and negatively weird. Those people on THE BIG BANG THEORY? Nobody wants to be them. They are figures of mockery. Kevin Smith in his stupid hockey jersey doesn't help this with his terrible COMIC BOOK MEN show.
And stores, focused more on their bottom line than anything, have become more like drug dealers than ambassadors of the medium. Where once alternative comics were on the same racks as mainstream, so that someone might come across something different by chance, nowadays you'll find that stuff relegated to some sad little rack in the back, looking like storage, and the dealers are unlikely to suggest any of them to customers who they'd rather got drowned in the manga, superheroes and toys that otherwise flood the prominent parts of the store.
Do you know how stuff like Vertigo came about back in the day? Because the big 2 were losing creators and readers to the alternatives. That's not the case anymore. The big 2 have dedicated racks where they only have to compete with each other, and maybe Image--which largely in content isn't really alternative to anything, though at least what it publishes belongs to those who make it. But the big 2 have absolutely no incentive to improve. They have no real competition. So they can simply keep digesting and vomiting one reboot after another. And you'll buy it, just to complain about it. They don't care whether you respect them or enjoy their comics. They don't have to.
So don't fool yourselves that comics are taken any more seriously than
they ever were. You're still at the kid's table & will always be, until there's nothing strange about any subject being pursued in comics. Fuck superheroes; fuck zombies; fuck sci-fi. Let's start seeing creators with true courage pushing their work into the stores.
It is sad to learn of the passing of Roger Ebert. Rather than run through all the biographical info or the assessment of his career as a critic, which everyone else is already doing, I'd like instead to briefly call your attention to another aspect of Ebert's career: as a collaborator with sexploitation genius director Russ Meyer. Besides being close friends with Meyer, he wrote two of his films. And was proud of it.
Does that sound odd? Well, Meyer does have a reputation--which is both confirmed and contradicted when you actually see his films. Russ Meyer takes a few films to "get," but once you do, you're hooked into his very strange--and oddly consistent--universe. His films are auteurism defined, with every personal obsession saturated in every frame--obsession which includes breasts of course, but so much more, including, famously, Martin Bormann, who for some reason Meyer always found an excuse to kill.
The Russ Meyer universe--there is nothing quite like it, except maybe some of the comics of Gilbert Hernandez (BIRDLAND is very much a Meyer type of thing and I would be very surprised if it wasn't an influence on Beto there) Oh yes, this is absolutely his happening and it FREAKS ME OUT.
Go find Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, or Vixen.
Drop your preconceptions, and do not expect to take a bit of it
seriously. DO expect to be surprised there's more to it than appears to
the eye at first.
And a lot appears to the eye, admittedly. The work is silly, and shameless, and nothing but fun.
Back to Ebert.
Roger Ebert, who wrote for Meyer BVOD and UP!, once said to appreciate great art, you
must be able to appreciate great junk. And Meyer's is some of the
greatest junk ever. Hypertrash, if you will. It knows exactly what it is and wallows in it, grandly. Meyer loved what he was doing and it showed in every frame, and Ebert was his very best collaborator--that being said, among the few Meyer ever had (not counting his actresses, who absolutely loved working with him), being as indie a director as you could imagine.
I like to think of Meyer waiting up there for Ebert and saying, "See? Heaven is just like I said: tits EVERYWHERE."
...who asked me to do an illustration (to be placed on an award certificate) of the CEO of a tech company yesterday, and asked that it be turned around in 24 hours. I did it in 12. Below is the result, which made their client very happy.
"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil." --E. Blackadder, 1789 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson