Went searching for the damn Good guys origiinals in the closet and ran across other interesting stuff, pieces that I'd not seen in a long time.
Perhaps its the good red wine hitting me, but as I found myself looking over pieces that I had done 15 years ago or more, I found that I could remember a lot putting them together, perhaps more that I could remember about the times and places that surrounded the artwork themselves. I remember placing those blacks in just such a way on the page, or doing a trick to ghost in a hand that I couldn't quite pencil correctly. Holiday cards that bespoke of myself in college, living in some oddball apartment, surrounding myself with the oxygen that keeps a 20 year old alive: music, comics, scraps of paper with phone numbers, old grocery receipts heavy on Ramen, old running shoes under the bed.
And I stared at the lump of papyrus in my lap thinking, this is the most accurate way that I've measured my life: in lines on paper, in fantasies brought stillborn on the tip of a pen or brush. And its somewhat sad, in one way, since its filled with far more failed experiments that ones that work, but in another way I think: at least I have some way to measure; at least there is some path here.
lately I've been missing, again, youthful arrogance, in all its wonderful glory. Because, just as I can see the obvious lumps and bruises in Guy Davis' Baker Street, hear the frantic glory in the Jam's first album, I love these things that they were too stupid to know that the couldn't do. I love the bad posturing in Jim Starlin's early Captain Marvels, I love all the crazy little lines in Jamie Hernandez's early Locas stories that he would soon edit out, I love that someone believed enough in them to give them the opportunity to go and do.
As you can read in my earlier post about Defiant's Good Guys, it took years of going to conventions with my inks and having different editors say, "Well, that looks good." It finally took David Lapham looking me in the eye and saying, "This is really good stuff. Why aren't you working professionally yet?" and I looked him right back and could truthfully say, "I don't know. No one will give me a chance." and I knew that I wasn't hiding a single weakness in my game, I knew that I was ready. I had been ready. Perhaps thats why when Neil Pozner died, and practically everyone, it seemed, had a great note about what a wonderful guy he was, there was a contingent among us who knew that he was simply the gatekeeper to keep us out of DC, out of getting our work under the eyes of someone who could actually have given us work. I was jealous of the guys who had someone who would look at their work and say, "You know what, its not all there, but I'll give you a chance to get there. Here's the assignment."
At the top of this post is an early work, copyright myself and Todd Miro, that I still love. Just give it a click to see the larger version. I'll be raising my Led Zeppelin shot glass to toast all those who have helped someone along the way.