I've been doing quite a bit of self-reflection as I ease my way back to work. Something occurred to me yesterday and it may point to why the Big Two editors and publishers aren't interested in working with me. Alas, it's not something that's likely to change.
Here it is...
I write about good (sometimes flawed) super-heroes. My heroes are unselfish. They triumph over overwhelming challenges to help people and bring evil to justice.
Many of today's Big Two writers - I won't say "most" because I'm not currently reading many of their books - are content to let the heroes barely survive their generally self-involved battles while allowing evil to escape without consequence and to return to do more evil over and over again. Ordinary people are little more than statistics in their stories, extras without spoken lines or back story who exist merely to die horribly at the hands of the villains.
When I took this sabbatical to work on some personal issues and matters, I thought I would achieve clarity about my path going forward. That hasn't happened.
Even today, part of me wants to throw in the towel. Stop writing cold turkey. Read all the books I haven't read and watch all the movies I haven't watched. Leave social media. Downsize my Vast Accumulation of Stuff to as little as 10% of what I own. Work on being able to move to a smaller house in a hopefully progressive liberal community where I don't have to worry about some insane Trumper taking a shot at me.
I've struggled with depression all my adult life. I know I'm far from alone in that, especially in these times of Covid-19 and domestic right-wing terrorism. We've lost so many good people and pets. We've seen treason supported by elected officials who took oaths that they would defend our country and Constitution. Even now, they work to destroy America and democracy. It's soul-crushing.
I will write today. I will write tomorrow. And hope that there is light as the journey and the struggle continue.
Tony, please keep writing, in some form, somewhere. The world (and the internet) can be such a harsh, negative place, we need writers like you who are good, decent people and who believe in true heroism. Man, after the last four years we could really use some hope, you know?ReplyDelete
I do understand what you're saying though. I mean, comics began to get too dark for me around the time of The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns, and that was what, 35 years ago? I don't even read modern comics but I shudder to think what they're like.
Look, tomorrow we'll welcome a new president and vice president. If you watch some of the coverage on TV, let that good news soak in for a bit. Who knows, maybe it will help repair your spirit. Hang in there!
"Part of me wants to throw in the towel. Stop writing cold turkey. Read all the books I haven't read and watch all the movies I haven't watched. Leave social media. Downsize my Vast Accumulation of Stuff to as little as 10% of what I own. Work on being able to move to a smaller house in a hopefully progressive liberal community..."ReplyDelete
Except for the first two sentences, all the rest sounds very healthy and I encourage you to do it. But I also encourage you to forget about the Big Two, forget about what others are writing, and simply write what you want to write. Write the stories you would love to read!
You will feel liberated! Have faith that there are others out there who feel the same way you do. I'm one of them! Don't worry about marketing your stuff until it is finished. Express your creativity! That is the ultimate cure for depression.
Keep at it Tony. I would like to echo the Nancy Beckett's idea about letting go of the Big Two. There are other publishers who are much more willing to go beyond the narrow editorial confines of the Big Two. I'd also like you to know that I have followed your columns, editorials and bloggy things for years. It's good stuff.ReplyDelete
And today we have a new president - a good, decent man and a good, decent woman as the vice-president. At noon today I plan on a small celebratory bourbon. It is going to taste very, very good.
Tony - I haven't been here in a while. Just watching CNN and MSBC the last year and a half, for obvious reasons. Anyway, I lost my dream job in 2002; an aftershock from 9/11. I learned in the next 6 months that employers were not interested in hiring a 50-year-old illustrator. I soon became an instructor of graphic design for Chubb Institute and also a substitute teacher (I have am masters degree, but you only need an associates degree to sub in New Jersey.) I still teach college - via Zoom - and find it rewarding, event though I'll be 69 soon. The next dry spell, you might consider teaching or subbing. For subbing, the kids would be THRILLED to meet a real honest-to-God comics writer - especially for Black Lightning. Just a suggestion.ReplyDelete