Anyone heard the phrase "of the black persuasion" recently? Or ever?
That's James Hudnall. I don't think he likes me very much. Couldn't even be arsed to get my name right, in fact.
In his biography, he lists Alan Moore as an influence. Not Alan's politics, apparently.
Speaking of whom, Alan's co-creators on TOP TEN, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon, are interviewed/profiled in this week's City Pages. There's also a bit on the upcoming spinoffs, The 49ers and Smax the Barbarian:
These are the opening images of The 49ers, a graphic novel that is a prequel of sorts to a series called Top 10 (published by America's Best Comics). The original series was an industry favorite, winning an Eisner Award for "Best New Series," the comic industry's highest accolade. Not coincidentally, Top 10 was scripted by one of the most celebrated writers in the comics industry, Alan Moore.
This new miniseries, The 49ers, is set midway through the last century, in a universe where everybody boasts a superpower of one kind or another. Ha has filled each frame with characters from the era, some terribly obscure. In one frame, for example, stands Big Chief Wahoo. This 1936 creation of Allen Saunders debuted in a parody of Western comics, but eventually--almost inexplicably--transformed over the years into Steve Roper and Mike Nomad. (King Features still distributes this daily comic strip of international intrigue to about 50 newspapers, minus Big Chief Wahoo, of course, the times being what they are.) Chief Wahoo lives on in name as the embattled mascot of the Cleveland Indians, a wide-smiled, red-faced, feather-bearing caricature. But Saunders's Wahoo, who sported a beaten ten-gallon cowboy hat, a bandoleer, and pigtails, is long gone--except, of course, in Gene Ha's pencil drawing, superimposed upon a vaguely industrial American city in the 1940s, which is probably where he belongs.
Big Chief Wahoo is not the most interesting character in the frame, however. He is hidden in the background, barely visible in a crowd scene. Instead, the story follows around a tall, somewhat mysterious, handsome-visaged doughboy who looks something like a thin Ben Affleck. "Do you recognize him?" Ha asks.
Of course. The character is the likeness of Zander Cannon, who just now sits opposite Ha. Cannon, who is 29 years old, is also bespectacled, and he wears a blue Giant Robot T-shirt. It is Cannon's downtown Minneapolis office we are in (he shares it with fellow comic-book artist Vincent Stall). Ha often draws the images for his comic-book characters from live models, and for the shady main character in The 49ers, he has chosen Cannon, a sort of a tribute to the fact that the two collaborated on illustrating Top 10.
It's entirely too well-written a piece to be about comics, or to be appearing in City Pages, for that matter. Another sign of the End Times, I expect.
Speaking of which (I'll learn a new transitional technique one day, I swear), over at die puny humans, Warren passes on advice on, um,
1. Wash or wipe your hands clean with a moist towellette.
2. Adjust clothing. Pants should be pulled down in front a few inches. Skirts should be lifted. Underwear should be pulled down at the waistband or move the fabric at the crotch to one side.
3. Wipe your labia area clean.
4. Using either hand, make a V with your first and second finger and spread the inside of your labia minora. (the INNER lips) Beginners may want to try using the fingers from both hands for better control.
Never mind. He blames Sabina Ex Machina, but he's the one who. . . well, yes, I did the same thing, but it's a smaller excerpt. So there.
Ah me. Perhaps Mr. Hudnall is right when he claims, "Hawk should try out for the Olympics if they ever come up with a track and field game for running bullshit."
Mr. Hudnall's bibliography lists work on American localizations of manga for Viz, which work is the specialty of Toren Smith's company, Studio Proteus. Maybe something about that messes with your head.
Or they were fucked in the head to begin with. Gerard Jones, who may even live to see the end of Ranma ½ published in the States, still seems relatively sane. Tying this together, the book he did with Gene Ha, Oktane, is mentioned in passing in that City Pages article. And his essay, Getting Off The Merry-Go-Round (Before You Puke), is worth a look for all you potential writers out there, even if you do have to pull it from the Archive.
*If You Eat Shit, They'll Just Feed You More*
This is a basic rule of life in the workplace, not just in comics. The people who hire you - themselves only terrified low-level managers trying to ease the fears of their terrified mid-level bosses - will encourage you to play the game, pay your dues, be a team player, keep it quiet. Well, employers *never* reward you for "playing the game." It's just not the way people are. Mutual respect and professional conduct are virtues in any work situation, but you've got to push for what you know is best - best for your talents, best for *you* - from the minute you start, or no one will respect you. If you've got something they want, they won't fire you. If they do fire you, then all they wanted was a machine-cog anyway and you'd have been miserable there no matter what.
This is an easy place to get stuck if you're locked into the "dream job" mentality. I know a couple of editors, friends of mine, who convinced themselves that editing at one particular comics publisher or another was the only job they could ever stand to have. Once you feel like you can't quit, you start radiating helpless, passive, frightened vibes in every direction. Your bosses smell fear and start picking on you. You start throwing your own standards out the window, so what you're doing may be *safe*, but not *good*. Pretty soon you're alienating people who respected you. In place of joy or bliss, all you've got is relief when the heat shifts off you for a minute. I may be wrong, but my editor friends don't seem anywhere close to fulfilled, and I want better for them.
I said relatively sane, you know. The man does the English comics version of Dragon Ball, ferchrissakes. If he were truly sane, that would kill him.