Monday, August 28, 2006

Kirby, creativity and careers

Entirely separate from my Kirby Day discussions, I had a conversation with my friend Emmett Montgomery about making art for a living. We're both friends, to one extent or another, with Alexis at Laughing Buddha Tattoo, who has been doing very well recently and is able to take a month long vacation to Europe.

We were discussing how both of us would like to be able to just pay our rent and survive in some art related field, rather than as we are. It's hardly a unique position, I know.

I noted that I'd be thrilled to just pay the rent making little direct-to-video movies and making them as good as I was able.

In fact, considering my creative proclivities, I've always set Stuart Gordon as the bar of success I'd like to achieve, occasionally getting things in film festivals and short runs in big cities, but generally pretty much things that seem direct-to-video to most mainstream viewers.

Because it is Jack Kirby Day, however, this got me to think of how nearly all of the great comic creators of the Golden and Silver Ages got screwed by publishers. I also briefly thought about what a remarkable streak of borderline hostility there is among groups of comic readers toward what they gave up and how incredibly strange that people can choose to sympathize with the big corporations that publish their favorite characters over the flesh and blood people who imagined them up out of the ether with their fertile brains and some elbow grease, but really that's a whole other posting.

I thought about how one day you're working a crap job, struggling to pay the rent and the next you're making something like a living by writing and/or drawing comic books. How long would it take you to figure out that someone else is making hundreds of times more off your work than you are? Some time after the glow of simply making a living at something you enjoy, where you create, where you feel good about what you've done with yourself wore off.

It's got to be a remarkably attractive trap and one that's easy to fall into.

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