Last Weekend: Brushes with Celebrity pt 2

Last Sunday, Bekah and I went to the House of Blues in Boston to see Rancid.RANCIDRancid is my favorite band. They have been forever. I have actually lost track of how many times I have seen them. Lots. A few years ago, when I was working in the first version of Rapid City and Bekah was coming out to visit me from Ashby, I hung around outside what was then called The Avalon hoping to talk to Rancid before they played that night. There were a few other people hanging around out there. Tim Armstrong came out to talk to us and sign stuff. I gave him an ashcan preview and told him that my comic was largely inspired by his music. He thought that was cool and put my name on "the list" to come and see the show that night. I had already seen them the night before with Bekah. That was the only time I saw them two nights in a row.

Anyway, back to last weekend. Bekah and I loved the show. I wasn't just talking when I said that my comics are inspired by their music. Every time I see them play I get a billion ideas crashing through my head. We waited near their bus in hopes of catching them after the show. I brought copies of Rapid City 1-4 to give to them. It was pretty exciting. There wee a few other people also waiting around while different crew members and stuff loaded out. We waited. A long time. Bekah said

"All I know it's 1 o'clock, and they ain't never showed up and... I watched a dozen people go home form work."

So, we went home. I had the next day, Monday, off of work. I went back down there. The show started around 6:30, so I got there around 5. And I stood there. In the sun, and the rain, and even in the hail. And I waited. I knew the buses. I knew the doors. I knew the time. So I waited and I watched.

I never saw Matt come or go either day. But I met him and shook his hand last year.

I saw Lars go by, but did not recognize him until he was already gone by.

I saw Tim go past once. Too quick. Again, back to the bus this time. A young girl called out to him and he very sincerely told her "Not now. After. After."

I knew that I couldn't wait until after. And the show had already started inside. Tim's band The Transplants would be taking the stage soon. Running out of time.

I positioned myself for the most best eye-lines between the bus and the stage door.

A few minutes later, Tim came off the bus and i called out to him. "Hey, Tim."

He stepped right over and I told him about how I had met him before and about the earlier comics. Then I showed him the books. He saw the comics, and that it was rainy, and he pulled us all (me, him, and his small entourage) under an awning so that they would not get wet. I showed him Kav and Micah's cover to issue 2 and said "That's Maxwell Murder!" I think he was impressed with that. He told someone else who was standing there, like he was proud of it...

That's Maxwell Murder!

I gave him the books and he said "I love comics."

And that was it. I gave the comics I made to the musician who inspired me to write them.

Maybe he read them. Maybe he didn't. Maybe they are being passed around the tour bus right now. Maybe not. Either way, I felt pretty cool.

Last Weekend: Brushes With Celebrity pt1

For a while now, I have been a fan of Marc Maron's WTF podcast.A few weeks ago, while on my way to the comic shop on a Wednesday after work, I was listening to the show when I heard the announcement that a there would be a live reading of Marc's book at the nearby Brattle Theater.

As the podcast was already a few weeks old, and the Brattle quite small, I assumed that tickets would be too expensive and fully sold out. But, the store selling them was practically on the way to the comic shop, so I stopped in and asked what was available. Turns out tickets were only 5 bucks, and there were exactly two left!

Marc has mentioned enjoying comics in the past, and the DIY way in which he used a podcast to carve his own place in the entertainment world, so I thought I would give him some copies of Rapid City. And some cookies. I asked Bekah to make a batch of cookies.

Jump ahead to last Friday. After work, I met Bekah down in Harvard Square. We hung around and then went over to see the show. I brought some comics, she brought some cookies.

The show was great. And afterwards, I gave Marc the comics and the cookies. He seemed very pleased to get both.

Then Bekah and I went to dinner.

I was awakened by the shocking report that "he threw away the cookies". What? "He threw away the cookies." She had read this...

So began a brief twitter war. It turns out, he actually meant the cookies that the hotel had left for him... and he ate and loved the cookies Bekah brought.

And all is well. I hope he liked the comics as well.

Appetite for Discussion

Last night, I went down to the offices of Dig Boston and was interviewed by Ashley Amber Bottoms on her Unregular Radio show Bottoms Up: Appetite for Discussion.AAB and Josh She asked me all about Rapid City and how it came to be. It was super fun. But one of the most exciting parts (for me) was near the end when we got a call from a guy who could not get the show to play on his computer and was trying to work out why. The caller and I talked about the comics that he likes for a few minutes before I realized who it was. It was Kav!

He and I have only worked online and have never actually talked before! So, that was our first auditory meeting!

On the way home, it occurred to me that there is an episode of DECOMPRESSED that Kav and I really like where Keiron Gillen talks to the creative team of Hawkeye. Hawkeye is a book that Kav and I really like. And on that episode... Matt Fraction and David Aja actually speak for the first time.

How cool is that?

Damaged Children vs Robot Zombies

I needed more bad guys for Rapid City. I am currently working on a story set in the scummy under-belly of the city. One villain ascends to power while another seeks revenge against him. Each of them are going to need to chew through a lot of bad guys. Funny. Writing that I just noticed something. When I wrote about good guys, they mostly fought other god guys. And now that I am writing about bad guys, they are mostly fighting other bad guys.

Anyway, I asked A. Kaviraj (my talented Rapid City artist) if he had any ideas for bad guys. He did. He sent me a whole list of great ideas for bad guys. Many of them were situational threats of the sort that are very often found in comics. Things like alien worms that eat brains (or other human parts) or a robotic "zombie" that rebuilds itself be cannibalizes whatever technology it can find.

(These ideas are not the actual ones he suggested, just my short hand for a TYPE of threat that often appears in comics.)

See, the worm is only a threat because it is not on its home planet where it is part of a happily functional eco-system. And the robo-zombie is only a threat because it needs parts. If you supplied those parts, he would just be a robot.

I looked my own cast of villains and wondered why it lacked this kind of threat.

I looked at what my characters had in common. And then it hit me.

My day job. I work in the educational unit of a facility for locked-up teenaged boys. The nature of my unit is such that none of my students are in for the first time. They are 16 and 17 year olds who have already committed a significant portion of their lives to crime and incarceration. Having been there for a few years, I know a lot of these kids pretty well. I have a good idea how a lot of them get there.

What did my bad guys have in common?

They were all severely damaged children who had grown into maladjusted and violent adults.... and they also happen to have powers.

They say write what you know.