Colin's Comment

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ah, where have I been…

Well, lets see… damn apples… I’ve glued everything I’m planning to glue onto armoured car zeppelin thingie and painted the base colour, dark green… I would’ve preferred a different colour (My other model for Jim Ramsey was also dark green) but the evidence is clear, green is the colour of Russian armoured cars (and airplanes for that matter) in the Civil War. Oh sure, I hear you say, it’s made up so you can do anything you want! Paint it lavender with pock-a-dots! That’s not how I do things my friend, I strive for realism! With the model grounded in fact it makes the weirdness stand out that much more vividly, as opposed to something which has no connection to reality. Besides, it’s more challenging, more fun and I have an excuse to read more!

I had a couple of “black days”. I have them occasionally… it’s sorta like a sick day. Sometimes when the state of denial I need just to get out of bed in the morning breaks down and I am left unprotected to face my fear, self-loathing and doubt. I should quite this pointless struggle and get a shitjob that gives me a steady pay cheque. I’m not dissing people who work, I’ve just known too many talented cartoonists who get a job “that won’t affect their art” and are never heard from again. Who the hell would hire me anyway? I’ve never had a proper job, done lots of volunteering, but nothing I get paid for. When I started out I accepted poverty as the price of doing my art and it hasn’t bothered me much. I’ll admit it’s getting harder as I grow older and the money and recognition I’d like and in my more grandiose moments think I might actually deserve to have remain elusive. But I’m not ready to quit, not just yet…

So I spent Sunday curled up on the couch trying to suppress my thoughts by watching stupid football and sleeping. Football helps me relax, an obnoxious, bizarre, militarised ritual… how can people take it so seriously? I just wanted to be alone to stare into the black abyss of my future, all very adolescent I know but I do not judge myself by my darkest, self-pitying moments (I know I’ve got it good, really) but by how quickly I can get back up on my feet. Felt much better on Monday…

I walked downtown in a rare period of dry (it’s been monsoon season in Vancouver). I passed a big mound of earth at a construction site, it’s black plastic tarp was loose at one end so the plastic undulated, roared and snapped furiously in the stiff wind. It was a beautiful sight, standing watching it felt like I was about to be swallowed by an gigantic black beast. I was going to meet my mum, Leslie (the bro) and his friend/nemesis Derren at the VCC for cooking student dinner. We were going to the theatre tonight, UBC student theatre, a play based on Douglas Coupland’s book “Life after God“. I was early, as usual, so I went into McLeod’s Books (nothing more serene to me than a bookstore) and who should I run into but Douglas Coupland! I knew Doug from high school art class, the Emily Carr and after but I hadn’t seen him in ages. To further the Dickensian theme of coincidence he told me he was just thinking about me, had a project he wanted me to contribute something too. Drawings of British and American soldiers War of 1812! Since I’d studied the conflict for my war games I can pretty much draw a British Napoleonic soldier in my sleep, the American I’d have to be at least drowsy. The play I thought was okay, the acting was quite good but I did wonder if they needed quite as much interpretive dance and full frontal nudity… I’m not a real prude but it does get distracting, never knowing when the actors might start whipping off their clothes at any moment. I had read “Life After God“, awhile ago now (it’s one of my favourite Coupland books), and there were bits I hadn’t recalled from the book. Doug’s work has so much of home for me . Not just Canada or Vancouver, but West Vancouver, where we all grew up scarcely aware of how lucky we were to be where we were in a troubled world. No matter where you come from, teen angst is going to get ya! We sat in front of my friends Gudrun and Mark from the new Vancouver Review, another coincidence! Leslie found a $10 bill on the floor on the floor of the VCC cafeteria so we were all happy!

Mum crashed at my place and kept me up most of the night with her snoring… she could snore for Canadian Olympic snoring team, she could. I was up early, making breakfast. We bussed downtown so she could pick up a theatre ticket half price, School for Scandal, even at half price it was beyond my budget. We went to see “The Last King of Scotland” which is worth seeing if only for the riveting performance of Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin Dada, awesome and frightening. Idi Amin has a special place in my memory growing up. When I was a kid I knew about Stalin and Hitler but Idi Amin, he was a mad dictator I could watch on TV… he was real, contemporary, not a piece of history but alive in my time. The “Beatles” of madman tyrants. I knew kids in high school, Asian’s, who had fled to Canada after Amin expelled them all from Uganda. My brother in laws family, Scots, were dispossessed of their tea plantation and were forced to leave Uganda. Idi Amin killed something like 300,000 Ugandans. He was ousted in 1979 but passed away in 2003 I think it was, in exile in Saudi Arabia. I just wished that the film had more of Forest Whitaker’s Amin and less of the fictional Scottish protagonist. “Hotel Rwanda” proved you don’t need a white face to sell a movie about Africa. Has anyone made a “happy” film about Africa? “The God’s Must Be Crazy” I suppose…

We went to Hon’s in Chinatown for noodles and I then saw mum off on the bus… walked home. There was a signed copy of Louis Riel in the mail from Chester Brown, a contributors copy as I had helped Chester with his uniform reference, the envelope was in shreds but the book perfectly intact. The cat had something nasty matting her fur so I gave her a good combing. I’m listening to Joe Jackson right now, “Summer in the City”, my stinging eyes tell me my lack of sleep is catching up on me…

On Wednesday I bussed out to UBC. I’d been asked to drop by the UBC Rare Books section to sell them my comics for their collection and to bring everything! So I did, including old New Reality’s and more recent Drippytown comics I’m in. They bought everything I brought, it seems I’m an invaluable source for Vancouver comics history and as Vancouver is so much a part of my work anyway they couldn’t resist! Cheque’s in the mail… sigh… but still I’m honoured they asked me and that future scholars will have a record of my work and others. My father was a professor of history at UBC, I know the academic mind and how it works. I feel sorry for scholars of small press comics, the limited print runs, non-existent records, constant reprints, the anarchic free for all which is the very essence of small press publishing! Speaking of scholars, John bell’s book on Canadian comics history is now available:

“Dundurn Press of Toronto will be publishing my history of Canadian comics this fall. Entitled Invaders from the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic-Book Universe, the book will feature a cover by Dave Cooper and a foreword by Seth. In addition to a main historical narrative, Invaders will include two in-depth studies, one on Canadian superheroes and the other on Chester Brown.”

I can’t wait to see it, apparently there’s a photo of Chester Brown and I taken by David Boswell in his studio in 1993. I’m going to try to get John Bell back on the radio for an interview on Inkstuds, the interview we did with John Bell on Onomatopoeia was a lot of fun!

Welp, gotta go, I’m painting a unit of Kingsford Miniature Samuria that will hopefully be published in a set of war game rules, very nice figures…

5 Comments:

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5:12 PM, Anonymous GX said...

It's never easy. You hang in there!

 
At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep the faith, brother. You get so much done, you make the rest of us look like bloated chimps filled with marsh gas. I envy your prodigious back catalog and skill with the brush and pen. If you have the occasional black mood, don't let it affect policy, just let it slide by. You ARE worthy.
--MC

 
At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! :)

 
At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not going to be original this time, so all I am going to say that your blog rocks, sad that I don't have suck a writing skills

 

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