A Fan’s Notes
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Hello and welcome to CC weekend edition. I’m your host – Frankie The Wop. In an effort to understand what it takes to achieve Tom Spurgeon level of comics bloggerdom – I have moved to New Mexico. Spurge is at 6200 feet above sea level and I think that it’s the air up here that makes looking out beyond the frontier of comics possible. Wait, what? I dunno what the fuck I’m talking about. I’m high as shit and it ain’t from the altitude. The holiday season has begun. I got nuthin’ this week.
It’s true that I have moved to New Mexico – for the winter at least. Me and the girl left all our stuff at my house in Pittsburgh, PA. We packed two cars and hoofed it down here. My car was mostly full of art supplies and comics. I hope my comics stash holds up – I didn’t see too many comics shops on the way out here. I brought two shortboxes and two magazine boxes full of crap to make it through the winter. I brought all my Hulk magazines (Get it? The Hulk, the desert. Perfect context. And with Moon Knight back-ups no less) and all my Warren mags which I’ve resisted really studying for years. I’ve always been afraid that getting into ‘70s comics mags of the 8.5 x 11 inch variety will make me want to start using that format in my own comics. A sure-as-shit way of losing money. Just ask Beto and Jaime.
And if any of you turkeys think that fleeing to New Mexico was a way of avoiding the east coast winters – well, you’ve got another think coming. It was 17 degrees Fahrenheit last night after Thanksgiving. It gets cold here. And dark. That’s what happens as soon as the sun goes down: it gets cold and dark. Really cold and really dark.
So as I continue to do my best DH Lawrence impression, many of my comrades are gearing up for the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. I’m bummed that I will not be making it this year. It’s just too far of a drive even to the airport to go. Maybe me and Spurge will decide to roadtrip at the last minute. But as of this writing, he hasn’t returned my emails about it.
It’s pretty slow going out here and I like it. My phone doesn’t work out here, which has been great. Internet service is spotty but decent. I keep telling my friends the same thing – which is basically that it’s beautiful here but really remote. And I’m getting a lot of painting done. I’m treating this like a writer’s retreat or an artist’s retreat – wait, which one am I again? If you tell people you’re a painter then they think you paint houses. If you tell them you are a cartoonist then they think you draw “funny stuff”. It’s weird. Still “cartoonist” sounds less pretentious than “artist”. So I’m on a “writer’s retreat” – that sounds best. So far so good.
I also haven’t bought a scanner, which means I can’t scan comics pages and riff on them until I do. So, forgive the interruption to my, ahem, comics classes that I’ve been doing in these hallowed halls. It’s hard to switch back to comics talk when I gotta psych myself up with painting talk all day. I’ll say one thing that’s nice about painting: there’s no fixing shit in post-production later. And there’s no scanning, which rules.
One of the most exciting things that has happened to me since I’ve been here was getting a box of books from Dan in the mail. He sent me the new MB, the new BC, and the new CF – all of which I didn’t have yet. I saw the new MB and the BC at SPX but not the new CF – that was brand new to me. But I hadn’t read any of them yet. So, it’s been a real treat to sit with these books for a few days and really dig in.
It’s weird when one’s heroes become one’s friends – and reading MB, BC and CF this is something that crosses my mind a lot. I forget that I know them and I sort of return to that original fan state of first discovery. Sort of a disbelief. Like encountering a scary barbarian who would like to entertain you and share drinks with you. Is this real? Is this really real? I feel like it’s a battle – not a battle to read but that I’m witnessing a battle. I get really pumped as a reader because when these heroes pull off moves that I’ve seen them do before and then do the move better than before this time around– it’s like watching an athlete whom I admire war with themselves – and in the process become a champion. It’s like I’m not shocked by their newness anymore. The shock is now a disbelief that they do what they do so well and so consistently. I feel really lucky to have watched these guys play from the sidelines. The view is pretty spectacular during a game. Thanks guys. Thanks Dan.
FRANK’s TOP TEN OF NOVEMBER 2010
10. Ditko Charltons
9. crows – the real kind not the Brandon Lee kind
8. Pawn Stars season 2
7. letter from Aaron Cometbus
6. finding out local art store carries airbrush paint
5. fireplace romance
4. box from Dan
3. sunrises / sunsets
2. Sea and Sardinia by DH Lawrence
1. A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley