As of tomorrow, I'll mark the end of my first official week in my new position since we were technically closed last week, even though a few of us spent the whole week working (and really, when do I not?). It's been trying and satisfying and I'm realizing one can never have too many pens, sticky notes, or enough time. I'm trying to squeeze every hour out of every day, and in the end I have to learn to just step back and be an alcoholic. Not turn to drink, but to accept the things I cannot change.
Holidays are a funny time for artists. The rest of the world has holidays off, so why shouldn't they? As a person I absolutely believe that they should. And for some, the holidays are the normal ones (X-mas Eve and proper, New Year's Eve and proper), but for others they extend for weeks or even months. The problem is, this is comics. Comics, for better or worse, despite physical improbabilities and impossibilities are a monthly business. One month you pick up issue X of a comic, and the next issue Y. The letter columns used to say "See you in 30!" They don't say it anymore. Largely because the vast majority have eschewed letters columns in favor of editorial or advertising content, and also because it's hard to say. The level of quality needed to elevate books beyond adequate or hack is possessed by quite a few artists, but only a tiny fraction can kick ass and take names without ever missing a beat or having the quality suffer. Working for a company founded by a legendary artists that has produced many soon-to-be legendary artists and other modern masters, it's hard to ask the talent to balance the speed (commerce) with the artistic vision they have. It gets done, but without months of prep, it's often not done monthly.
Part of my headache for the past 36 hours or so has been taking a look at the schedule. It's been a bit like an old cartoon where a character is in a small boat and a tiny leak springs. He puts his finger or a bucket or some other item over the hole and congratulates himself. Only to be struck by another stream of water. Again and again our intrepid hero finds a way to plug each hole, but more and more spring up. It's always the case with editing, but I'm without any sort of safety net right now. It's a crucial time for a number of things, and I'm doing everything I can to stopgap and plan ahead and mend. It's taking a mental toll if not a physical one (Hey, it's 11pm and I'm still awake. That's a victory). But I know at the end of the day, there's only so much I can do. I can't do what I ask my artists could do. I have to rely on them to come through, to have faith that the schedules we shoot for will be met, and find creative solutions when they're not. I'm experimenting with more and more ways to do things. I'm looking for better calendar and spreadsheet options to manage my days. I'm doing a lot of things more than once as I get my bearings.
And through it all I struggle with the same problems. Lack of talent, lack of reliable talent, lack of affordable talent, disgruntled talent, too much talent at the wrong times, etc. I could kid myself and say that I can find a way to get out of the hole forever. But it's not possible. There's always something. Call it Murphy's Law or SSDD. I like my job. Right now I wouldn't trade it for any alternative. I'll find a way to make things better, and in the future I'll have even more ways to deal with each thing that goes wrong. Right now I'm still figuring it all out.
And speaking of taking weeks off, I really need to get back to my OGN. I've seen about five pages of it so far, but I really need to get all my revised scripts done and approved. I still haven't even written a first draft of the ending. Yeesh. This coming from the guy who bitches about unreliable talent. At least my artist isn't waiting on me, right?
Alright, I'm going to hop on ComicSpace and deny a bunch of people I've never met. Then I'm going to read a pitch. Then I'm going to sleep. But not before I check my e-mail one last time...