Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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

Walking the Plank and Other Falsehoods: The Anatomy of the Comic Book Studio

I've been through two studio upheavals now and countless partings of studio partners.  It's always the same array of feelings... Sadness, anger, betrayal, sometimes regret.  Most of the time you just close your eyes and wait for it all to move on, so to speak, because it always does.  Move on, that is.  I used to blame us,Tony and me, for the issues that came up in the studio.  It's always someone else leaving the Jolly Roger for calmer seas.  But that's the way it has to be since my husband was the one who created Jolly Roger Studio.  He's always left at the helm.

But the truth is, the creation and dissolution of the comic book studio, the constant changing of partners and properties, that is the true nature of the beast.  The comic book studio, with very few exceptions, does not remain solid.  It's not that there was anything wrong with the members that have come and gone or with Tony.  It's just how it is.  It's the nature of the creative. Don't believe me?  Look back at some of the greats. You'll see.

I can't think of one person in the industry who can't say about another creator," I don't work with him/her anymore."  It's all over the industry and it will remain all over the industry.

The one thing I can say for the Jolly Roger is that she tends to go the extra league for her mates. Tony will go any to length to get his shipmate work.  He will share the the wealth that his years of "paying the piper" have afforded just as others have shared with him. 

I use the term "wealth" VERY loosely here, it's more like rations...Yeah, that's better.

If he loves you, he loves you and that's that. There was a time not too long ago when he went to editors he knew to get a mate work, to put in a good word for him.  He's actually done this numerous times, but what strikes me about Tony is that he always tells the editors if they can to not tell the guy he did it. Egos run high in this business and it's important to maintain a certain level of egocentricity (I think this is true in any job actually.  It propels us to do better.).  As an artist, Tony knows this better than anyone and admits it openly.

So to fix the problem?  Most would say, people who work together shouldn't be close friends... Yeah...I guess that works some of the time!  But not in the creative world where the limits of your job are equal to your imagination. There has to be a certain level of commradery, intimacy.  There has to be trust. When it requires two highly creative people to come together on one idea, there will be fireworks and sometimes it's not the good kind. What is most interesting to me is the fact that most of the arguments aren't even over the property they are working on together.  Most of the time it's over stupid stuff but if you look further, there is something deeper going on. Lack of trust?  Lack of intimacy?  Lack of friendship in general? Whatever it is, it will surface sooner or later. It's not that either party is wrong, it just is.  We all have our reasons.

So, to all of those who have been shipmates, I wish you the best. I hope you find the calmer seas you are looking for.  As for the Jolly Roger, well, she'll stay her course, come what may.


Count Screwloose said...

Wonderful column. Thanks!

Stacie said...

Thanks Count! Love your name BTW!

Count Screwloose said...

You're welcome. I stole the name from the great 30's cartoonist Milt Gross, whose Count would escape to have a look at the outside world in each strip and inevitably hightail it back to the safety of his, um, institutional surroundings. I've identified with him on more than one occasion!

shrink on the couch said...

Work partnerships will test friendships, that is for sure. Anytime money is involved, proceed with extreme caution. Great to see you back! Though, really? I should say this to myself. As I said to Mrs Brightside, my blogging mojo's been in a coma lately.

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