Friday, October 22, 2010

A Moment in the Life of a Comic Book Artist's Wife

* I do not pretend to have excellent grammer or superb spelling. If errors in these areas upset you then you will most assuredly despise my writing and I suggest that you stop now unless you couldn't read this to begin with because it is far too small and I am too proud to make it any larger. I do love a good run on sentence!

Part 198,321: The ALMIGHTY DOLLAR!

God, it makes paying your mortgage so much easier, doesn't it? Or should I say that it's so much harder to pay your mortgage WITHOUT it? Well, welcome to the feast or famine life of a comic book artist (or at least of one comic book artist). First, let me say that I am so grateful for the life that comics provides for my family. The industry has been very good to us and when I say industry, 90% of what I am talking about is the fan base (if it appears that I am kissing the proverbial "ass" well, call it like you see it, 'cause I AM!). Seriously, if you all don't read what my husband draws and/or writes, we starve... until I convince some engineering company that I can do more than fix those little tabs on disposable diapers and go back to work myself. I suppose I did get those degrees for something....

Like any freelance job out there, if you don't work, you don't get paid. No vacation time, no "personal time," no sick time. There are no bonuses, health or dental benefits, or 401(k)'s. There's not even a big fat holiday office party! If you're down for the count, you'd better make sure you've got financial backup or great relationships with your creditors. It's all a great big juggling mess until you sell a movie, or at least get an option on one, and then you can breathe... for awhile.

So you'd better make sure you like drawing and you can do it to support a family, or an addiction, (or your wife's addiction because she needs "a little something" to cut the edge of being married to a comic book artist), depending on your situation. You'd better love it in your bones, in your soul, in the corneas of your eyes, in the mitochondria of your cells; because it's so easy to look at that drawing table and tell yourself, "I make my own hours. I'll work tonight." And then "tonight" comes and that blank paper is still staring you in the face menacingly, but your family or friends are going out to a movie and you really want to go. How overwhelming it must be to create when you haven't the inclination to do so. How scary that seems to me, really.

On the other side of that coin, when Tony's "got his game on," it's very difficult to pull him away from the drawing table. Thank God that's more often than not, bless 'em! (Yes, another southern colloquialism.) He's recently gotten back into painting after years and years of my pleading with him to do so. When Tony finally picked up that paintbrush, it was like a child opening a box of Crayons for the first time. And when I say Crayons, I mean the box of 96 colors with the built-in sharpener! I wish I could have bottled that excitement... You know, for a rainy day... to put a few drops in his coffee in a Catherine de Medici sort of way when those dark, down times come around. Oh no... that's right.. The "Catherine de Medici" bottle is for when he doesn't take the trash out.

Look at her! I knew nuns that had that same composure while inflicting punishment.

But most of the time, really, if we're not getting a paycheck, it's a publisher red tape mix up. It's been more than a month since we've received a paycheck that was actually right as in, not missing half of what was owed to us. Paying bills on "half" doesn't quite cut it but what are you gonna do? Bite the hand that feeds you? Not if you have "a lick a' sense," as they say here in the south. You live off of savings, you know, your "back up plan." "Back up plan" meaning that huge change jar in the corner of your closet. Don't laugh! That change jar saved our butts the first years of our marriage while I was just finding my sea legs on this ship-of-fools.

I just love Hieronymus Bosch! I can so relate to his art...sigh!

Then, at some point the rocking of the boat became second nature, the sea swells less daunting, but it doesn't make the comic book artist's (or artist's wife's) life less difficult, or less worrisome. It just means you bear the financial storms with a little less wear and tear on your marriage, on your psyche, and on the wrinkles on your face.

1 comment:

slow panic said...

Look I'm finally reading blogs again.

yeah, we've had the money conversation.

did i mention my pay check is almost officially one week late?

as is the mortgage.