Friday, August 26, 2005
My Friend Barry
Barry and I go a long way, we met at one of those jobs I told you about, we were both young and full of dreams and determination, trying to make it in the art world, although we came from 2 vastly different worlds, our plans were pretty much the same. We both worked for this lunatic greek embroiderer for a brief period of time. I was already a production artist on my way out when Barry showed up with his kick-ass portfolio, I thought to myself "What in god's name is a fine artist like Barry doing in this dump?", as it turned out he was also a bit of a "guerrillero" he took the job just to learn the computer and move on to bigger and better things, which he did.
James (our boss) was one of the early adopters of the Mac, way before Photoshop was invented; James was, and still is, the most lovable snake oil salesman, one of those guys who's always at the verge of making it big, we all have met a "James" at least once in our lives, always with the "get rich quick scheme".
Barry has the sickest, wittiest sense of humor, we got along great at James' place, comparing notes and making fun of our wacky employer. I owe Barry my first job in the garment industry, he brought me over to "Freeze", the rest is history.
We recently re-united at the San Diego Con, after many years. The following is an email Barry sent to me yesterday regarding my "superhero comics bashing", I'm sharing it here with his permission, enclosed is my expanded and embellished response.
You can see more of Barry's beautiful work at BarryOrkin.com
.......Hope all is well.
Oh by the way...
Don't rag on superheroes! Rag on crappy artists and crappy comic books some more--that's ok. Superheroes may not be your cup of tea, but they had a purpose at their inception and did some good when talented and well intentioned people created them. I haven't read many superhero books recently, but the original superhero books helped cultivate a moral code in youngsters. They often helped raise interest in industry and science. They were food for the imagination just like any other form of literature, though admittedly not as valuable as books. For poor kids, they were a cheap way to escape their daily problems for awhile.
They also often provided a valuable glimpse into popular beliefs and attitudes of the everyday citizens--when they were created thoughtfully.
Never mind that ambiguously gay shit...
They seem a little silly, but they're not that much different than ancient myths, in which gods and beings with special knowledge and abilities move through the world and make decisions that inform the listener/reader.
If you rag on Superheroes, you rag on the Aztec myths...
YOU SELF HATING BASTARD! Well, ok the Aztec thing is a stretch.
Anyway, in general I agree with that whole entry, and of course, it's a free country, so by all means, say whatever the fuck you want. I just wanted to mention that not all the superhero stuff is crap, just most of it. But don't be surprised if I show up at your door one day wearing a red cape and a Batman g-string around my groin, while holding a robin g-string in my hand waiting to be worn by Mr. Deep Fried Candy himself.
LOL!!!! A very thoughtful, lucid and intelligent load of crap! heh, heh!!! just kidding, great response!
The points you make do have merit and I agree with what you say entirely but....
....You've got me all wrong, I rag on superhero comics as a whole, not on the individual characters -as gay as they are. These are not the same superhero comics of yore, my friend, this is merde for profit, have you visited a comic book store lately? ...zaaaaaahkly!
Maybe superheroes helped babysit lots of kids, whose parents were too busy to teach them real-life values and provide them with the love and moral guidance they were craving, but unfortunately there was a side effect to all those wonderful things, they've also helped create a new breed of human being: The Fucking Fanboy! or as Mike Manley likes to call them: The Babymen, The individuals who worship cartoon characters above everything else, and who -because of their extreme fanaticism- have lost all notion of reality.
The ones who have no meaningful interaction with their fellow human beings and take the cheap way to escape their daily problems, because they can't deal with "real daily problems" such as relationships. The ones whose views on women and human sexuality are as juvenile and twisted, as their fixation with internet porn and the internet porn tracing, which makes up for most of the airbrushed "superheroine" depictions of today's corporate comics. The ones who collect for the sake of collecting, the ones who take this shit so seriously, who become blinded by their unhealthy obsession with both, the comic characters and their creators, that even a hint of an opinion, other than their own, hurls them into uncontrollable fits of rage, lunging at anyone who disagrees with them or with their objects of worship, real or imagined.
The superhero as we knew it, is dead, period. As a "thrill-seeking", "entertain me now!" society, we have no more use for him, maybe he will return as the champion of morality and the American Way sometime in the future but for now let's observe a minute of silence, as we mourn the death of Superman....for just the 256th fucking time. Each new "spidey" (general term, I am not referring to Spideyman in particular) is meaner and more "bad-ass" than the previous, -in fact, it rivals the villain in attitude and design- and as such, more marketable to an increasingly misinformed youth, it promotes greedy consumerism and gluttony, it encourages revenge and brutality, it fuels nearsightedness, isolation and alienation. Where are the values?!
Man!, the drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes of the Vertigo books are more likable, much more appealing and less annoying (unfortunately they are also poorly drawn) There's even a fool out there who would probably send a goon to rough me up because I use the term "Spidey" when referring to "The incredible Spiderman", now, how fucking immature is that? Oh shit! . . . . I fucked up again, . . did I say "incredible"?.. .forgive me, I meant "Amazing". Oh well, goodbye cruel world!
And I haven't mentioned how fucking horribly drawn and garishly colored most of these things are, or even how miserable most of the artists who work on these super books are, Ahá! surprised, aren't you? you're thinking "Why would anybody who draws superheroes be unhappy?" TRUST ME, a lot of them are, they're basketcases, I know plenty myself, hmmm...or maybe they just like to complain a lot, but I doubt it. What do you think is going to happen to them after they're done drawing Superdick Adventures? .....nothing! that's right, they don't own the characters, they have chosen to ignore or put aside their own ideas for stories and original characters in favor of the glamourous superhero shit, and one day they'll regret this, because once the next flavor of the month arrives, the superhero ride is over, you'll see them at the conventions peddling the pages they spent so much effort on, back in their heyday for a fistful of dollars (that was nice!) and even as cheap as they'd sell them, nobody would want to buy them.
Crack whores are treated better by their pimps, at least they get part of their earnings and some level of protection, the comic artist is one of the most exploited, mistreated and poorly compensated human beings, considering the insane workload, extreme deadlines and the stupid mind games of scumbag art directors and soul-sucking editors. You only hear and see the superstar hacks and photo tracers making the big bucks and living the rock star life, but the majority toil in near obscurity hoping to break even at the conventions and hating most of the crap they're forced to put up with. "Corporate Profit" over conscience, what else is news.
I don't hate comics, quite the contrary, I'm not bitter because I haven't been offered a job in comics, I've had a few decent offers, which I've respectfully turned down because they're not what I want to do, sequential work it's not my thing and I'm a firm believer in choice; my bitterness comes from the fact that I love the medium and I hate to see it become a joke, (maybe too late for that) there are plenty of talented people creating great comics, I've made friends with a lot of these guys and girls, they are hurting because there's no support, they are hurting because they have integrity and they want to do things their own way, they refuse to bend over and be fucked by DC/Marvel and whatever opportunistic motherfucker is out there waiting to cash in on their original thoughts by bastardizing it all in the name of licensing. It's sad to watch these amazing artists and writers get ignored while these superhero hacks continue to flood the market with their Photoshop vomit.
This is my last rant on the subject of superhero comix, these tirades are getting old, I haven't said anything new and I'll have nothing new to say in the future, nothing is going to change, it may be entertaining to you but I have plenty of girls to draw. I'll let Don Simpson intellectualize these issues, it doesn't look like he's busy drawing comics these days and he's plenty bitter.