Thursday, November 21, 2013

Joe St. Pierre Knows How I Can Really Screw Up

I like to think of myself as a decent guy. But I guess everyone thinks of themselves that way.

To wit: I went out of my way to write “Joe St. Pierre Knows Why I Don’t Read Comics Anymore” to promote a comics project from Joe. And, along with that piece, I posted an image from David Lapham because I thought it was Joe’s. Why? Because it had Joe’s signature on it (he had autographed it) and that was the photo I found when I was rooting about looking for a cool image from Joe’s Valiant days.

Worse: I talked about Joe’s gorgeous Valiant work instead of telling you nice people about his Liberaider comic strip, which is, after all, where he is now.

Worse: My babbled depiction of Joe made him feel that I’d painted him as a sexist when Joe, in truth, is anything but. It wasn’t my intention. I was just goofing around about his long line of female groupies queuing up for an autograph. But what do I know about groupies? All of my readers have hairy legs.

Worse: When Joe brought all this to my attention, I got a little defensive. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.

And then I sat down and missed a real deadline because I had to make things right.

I’ve removed my earlier piece, now, which talked about why I can’t read comics anymore and how lovely the old comics smelled and how today’s comics don’t smell like anything and how they are printed on advertising brochure paper instead of decent pulp. I said some other things, too, that probably aren’t worth remembering. At least I can’t remember them.

And now I’ll append that I don’t do plugs anymore either because all it does is come back to bite you. If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you the scars.

But before I stop: Go read Joe St. Pierre’s Liberaider.
Clifford Meth thinks Joe St. Pierre is the cat's meow.
But he sure has a strange way of showing it.

At Last, An Alternate History of the Comics: The Truth

After a successful Kickstarter, I was hoping my book ComicBook Babylon—in the making for nearly a decade—would be here for the holidays. And I was right. Only it will be President's Day, not the festive gift-giving season. We’ll live with that. I imagine some people give gifts in February, too, even if it’s only a shovel.

ComicBook Babylon tells stories that I’ve kept to myself for many years. I’m finally comfortable imparting many of those stories now. Some of them I’m still uncomfortable with but I have a good lawyer. At least he tells me he’s a good lawyer. His name is Leo. I had a puppet named Leo once, too.

At 340 pages, ComicBook Babylon is like a multi-ring circus. You’ll find Stan Lee speaking very frankly about Jack Kirby, Alan Moore speaking very frankly about Hollywood, Frank Miller speaking very frank millerly about Marvel, and so forth. Okay, they may have occasionally spoken to others frankly, too, but my detailed stories regarding Dave Cockrum’s fight with Marvel—or, more accurately, mine and Neal Adams’s fight with Marvel on behalf of Dave Cockrum—is something you haven’t seen the whole truth about, until now. Neither have you read Bob Layton being this candid. Or Joe Kubert. Or Herb Trimpe. And what really happened to Gene Colan? And why did Harlan Ellison want to punch Jim Warren in the nose? And what happens when Barry Smith can't find his Windsor?

The book is late but it’s finally done. I was done months ago and now Michael Netzer—who illustrated exquisite portraits of his illustrious peers and designed the book—is done, too. This is a beautiful book, with covers by Dave Cockrum and Mike Pascale. I’m proud of what it says and how it says it.

Copies should be going out in late winter. If you ordered the book from the Kickstarter promotion, good for you. Aardwolf hasn’t made copies available yet on its website and won't until they are in hand. But my friends—both on Facebook and the real ones—can order my personal, “publisher copies” directly from me while supplies last. This is how I get paid, people. If you’ve enjoyed my work, please buy one.

As always, everything I do has a money-back guarantee. Imagine hospitals offering that. Talk about population control!

If you want a copy—signed, personalized, or otherwise—please send me a message or email so I can reserve one of mine and then mail me a check for $26.95 (which will cover postage). Let me know how I should sign it, if at all.

With thanks,

Clifford Meth

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Favour for Harlan

Harlan called this evening. “I need a small favor,” he said.

“Does it require a cattle prod or a midget?” I asked.

“Nothing like that.”

“Good. I had to go into hiding for seventeen months after the last small favor,” I said, “and I still haven’t picked all the burrs out of my hind quarters.”

“This one’s easy,” said H. “My book Ellison Wonderland is being brought back again by another publisher. The book first came out in 1962 but it follows me around. I’ve already written a 25,000-word foreword for the damn thing—it’s like a novella. And Straczynski did the afterword, which is an interview with me. But I got to thinking there’s something in that interview you did with me years ago—your ‘Tough questions for Tough Jews.’ Can I have that? I’d like to use it as a caesura.”

“That’s the favor?”

“You’ll keep your copyrights and I’ll get you a copy of the book.”

“Sold,” I said. “Now I’ve got one. I was cleaning out my closet and found a handful of comic books that you wrote. Can I send them to you to sign?”

“Sure,” said Harlan.  “Send them. You fucking ghoul.”

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dave Cockrum: Birthday Memories

Gone seven years now, my friend Dave would have been 70 today. I think of him often--how he helped me so generously when I was just starting out as a writer. He was everything a comic artist should be. My walls are festooned with his work; my children grew up reciting his creations by heart.

Favorite memories? There are too many. I think his was the time we were driving around and I picked a fight with a van-full of Kappa Douches at an ICON convention. Mine was when he and his wife Paty attended my seven-year-old's birthday party and he drew superheroes for all the kids. And then they took them home and colored them in.

I look forward to honoring my pal's memory early next year when Aardwolf Publishing publishes Dave's final, never-before-published issue of The Futurians.