Monday, June 12, 2006

I Wish I Was Taller

Not by a lot, mind you...but a few inches wouldn't be bad. Then again, I'm sure everyone who isn't tall enough to play pro ball wouldn't mind a little boost. But I've got no control over that. Isn't in the cards--though I will never forget my grandmother telling be to just go over to the jungle gym and hang from a high bar for a bit. This was the same grandmother who tried to tie one end of a string to my loose tooth and the other end to a door...and then slam that door. Not much for letting things take their own course, my grandma.

As for things I do have control over...I wish I could draw. Always have. When I was a kid, I thought I could. I'd draw dinosaurs and lightsabers and birds of prey and the Flying Pheonix from G-Force (or Battle of the Planets, depending on what shitty local TV station it was on). When I got older, I would take my favorite comic panels and blow them up to fill a huge piece of oaktag paper and make my own Wolverine posters. And I thought I was halfway decent at it, until I met people who really knew what they were doing, like my friend Roger.

Roger could just draw, in a way that I couldn't. He went to the School of Visual Arts in NYC for advertising design. He hated it. He wanted to be a screenwriter, and put his ad portfolio away, even though he could've made a perfectly plummy life for himself as an art director. I always respected him for that, but at the same time I always envied the fact that he could sit down with a pencil and paper and make something cool.

But I've never wanted to be able to draw as much as I do now that I'm "working" in comics. Because for as much as we're in an writer-ascendant phase in comics, it's still a writer-artist's medium. Comics can be a collaborative medium...but it doesn't have to be. In no other form of visual mass media can a piece of work be the product of one person and not suffer for it. (Hell, books are the only mass media period you can do by yourself. Guitar- or piano-based singer-songwriters need not apply. Everything sounds better with drums.)

The potential for one-man-bandness in comics is somewhat unique...and while I'm completely digging seeing the wonders that a good artist can do with our words, I can't help but think that it wasn't quite meant to be this way. One man (or woman) with an idea and the skill to realize that idea: there's something primal about that and some of the great artists--in the larger, artiste sense--did it that way. Eisner, Miller, Crumb, Otomo. (Of course, the list of ground-quaking writers or artists is just as long, but you get my point.)

So, I wish I could draw...just to know what it's like not to have to fear nuance getting lost in translation, or power drained by signal degradation. Plus, artists get the chicks.

1 comment:

Bill Cunningham said...

I wish I were a few inches bigger, er... 'taller.'