Dependence Day

Less work and less alcohol than I was anticipating.

Had a bit to do early on, including some proofs from the printer. Other than that, the country seems to be completely shut down, so not too much action.

I fear for the remainder of the week.


So this is comics

Here we are, 18 minutes past the 9pm hour on a strange Tuesday night. Not strange because the night is strange, mind you, but strange because tomorrow is a holiday and I assume everyone will be taking the day off. Well, everyone but me, unless an emergency arises. It's not to say that I'll be at the office, or that I'll be locked on to a computer screen all day, but I'll still be tethered. The fact that I don't have the ability to send and receive e-mail on my phone is probably the greatest detriment to my social life. But then, if I wanted a social life I should have never gotten into comics.

More to the point, this is comics. It's a strange Tuesday night, and there's three of us here at the office right now. An artist is working on backgrounds, I'm lamenting the fact that there is no alcohol, and Chaz is putting together a Previews section. Previews is the bane of my existence. Nothing, save getting books out on time, is harder. Somehow getting together the 6-10 covers we need each month, usually 4 of which are old and done for months, never happens on time. We shoot for a date, and then immediately miss it. It's probably because we're playing catch up instead of getting ahead, so the time we could be using is left to troubleshoot what hasn't previously happened.

Text isn't something I mess with. Along with marketing (shout out to Frutti), we determine what's going to be on sale in a given month. Again, this is set months and months in advance, especially in terms of what trade paperbacks we'll be soliciting since that goes to bookstores as well, but invariably things are changing right up until the last minute. Move a trade up here to have it in time for X. We need that book to coincide with X. It's a light month, so let's move this up a little bit. Whatever the case may be, things happen. And I haven't even mentioned the arduous chore of writing scintillating text for each item on sale to make it palatable to retailers, consumers, and the industry in general. Maybe it's because I don't do the majority of the writing. Thanks, di Beppo.

And then there's the matter of getting pagination and page numbers. Because of the way our Previews section is set up - images on the interior, text on the outer edges, we can't just design the section as soon as we have art and text. So that's another piece in the puzzle.

So knowing full well that text is due by X date, art is due by X date, pagination will be determined by X date and anything else we may need to know. Somehow, this Tuesday night repeats over and over again, month after month, section after section. It's not to say we're unorganized. It's not to say we're not trying. It's just to say that no one smiles upon us during these days, and we're left to wonder if there is any point at all in existence.

Maybe that's being melodramatic, but that's kind of how Previews feels to me. It's like someone stabbing you repeatedly in the stomach with knives you've provided them and then asking if they can buy some of your books.

I don't know. It's 9:30, I'm hungry, and we're still working. This is a typical day in the life.


What an Editor Does - by Steve Wacker

Steve Wacker was kind enough to illustrate what it is we in the editing profession of comic booking do on a regular basis. It almost does the insanity justice.

Thanks, Steve.



by Stephen Wacekr

-Ask a friend to go to her computer and to start sending 250-350 e-mails to you.

-Mark each of them HIGH PRIORITY.

-Find 17-23 people, each of whom you need to make happy. Pretend they’re all under contract to you and ask them too call with very legitimate questions and concerns… many of which have to do with money so you feel even more pressured (If at least one of them only speaks another language…all the better!)

-As the e-mails are “ding”ing into your mailbox, spill coffee on your shirt (VERY IMPORTANT EDITORIAL RULE I LEARNED THE HARD WAY #459: Don’t put original art on your desk when there are any drinks around…or fountain pens…or me.)

-Next, have someone play an assistant editor who’s generally more on the ball than you are and ask them to compile a couple dozen questions that another department needs answered so they can work on a budget.

-Answer one e-mail while being spoken to.

-As more questions are asked by the assistant, answer the phone.

-Grab a pile of papers and pretend it’s 32 pages of the greatest super-hero in the world and you have 20 minutes to make sure there are no mistakes before it has to go to the Bullpen to be composited for the printer.

-Open an e-mail pointing to an internet thread asking for you to be fired.

-Ding, it’s another e-mail, you failure.

-Try to start reading a script.

-Read page one 14 times as various calls and e-mails keep “ding”ing.

-If things are going right in this simulation, you will get interrupted by a…let’s call him Schom Krevoort who will remind you of a meeting in 10 minutes to discuss a very important spreadsheet.

-Read page one again. It’s a great page one.

-Make wish for a future filled with one page comics.

-Leave for meeting with list of three major things that must be done today, so other people can do their jobs.

-Don’t forget to call British talent early. They’re 5 hours ahead.

-Receive final proof of issue going to press right now.

-Find glaring error in it.

-Weep like Warren Ellis at a pub with no Wi-Fi.

-Wonder if you’re any good at this job in the first place.

-Be told “you could act like a man” Don Corleone style by Tom…I mean Schom.

-Artist just called. You forgot to send paper, ya idiot.

-Blame assistant.

-Read that page one again…dip into one panel of page two.

Get asked by a comic news site to answer 457 questions, most of which assume you’re a dullard to start.

-Spend 5-10 minutes discussing old comic story you liked with the 34 people you share an office with.

Have an awesome conversation with artist or writer you’ve admired for years. Learn something new about your Editor-in-Chief when he was breaking in.

-Remember why you love this job.

-Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.

-Notice you misspelled your own name up at the top of this. Good editing, creep.

No, Seriously.

I'm not a well man.

That's not to say I'm sick. I was a bit sick last week, coughing up stuff, but I'm mostly clear of that and am now of sound body and mind. There's no alcohol or drugs coursing through this bloodstream. And yet, something is wrong with me.

My full-time gig takes up a lot of time. There's the fact that on an average day I wake up between 7 and 8, and from that point on barring a run or passing out in the shower, I'm checking e-mail pretty much constantly for the next 12-15 hours. All while fielding phone calls, pulling out my hair trying to juggle blown schedules, requests for umpteen different things, proofing, yelling at people who say they've uploaded when the files clearly aren't there, bugging people for scripts, reading scripts, making notes, planning the future, talking to my bosses, taking meetings and more. These are just a few of the many things I, as an editor, do on the day-to-day tip.

Then there's the freelance stuff I'm already set to do. I wrapped my one-shot a couple weeks back, but I still have my OGN that became a mini that added an issue bringing the total up to 5. I've written almost two issues. Issue two is in flux, but then after that I should proceed steadily toward the finish line ably abetted by my co-writer, David.

Then there's the thing I'm putting together to pitch with Troy. We're meeting only about once a week when one of us isn't out of town, but the goal is to have that thing totally pitchable and probably be under way with script by the end of July. We're not pitching at SDCC per se, but having it ready by then would definitely not be a bad thing.

But here's where I'm sick in the head. Last week I had an idea. I should write a screenplay, I thought. Yeah, and I should do it by my birthday or, failing that, by the end of August. So on top of my ridiculous schedule, my freelance commitments, my project with Troy, balancing a social life and exercising, I'm going to find time in my day to write a feature-length screenplay in the next 60 days. Well, less than that considering July 2 is almost spent.

And to drive the point home, I'm not coming at this with an idea from the green folder. I haven't pulled anything out of the file on my writing e-mail. I haven't even thought of an idea, sparked to it, and been off to the races. I am very much, out of my ass, trying to write something with a sub-60 day time limit and have it done. Now, I'm not talking about a final draft. I'm talking about a first draft. A version I'm happy with could be months or years away. But I need to accomplish something, and I need to make sure I'm writing every day.

So far the longest script I've written happened across two nights and somehow managed to get up to about 47 pages. Sadly, I can't confirm this, nor can I confirm how bad it is, because I can't seem to find the damn thing anywhere. I'll look through some old hard drives when I'm done here. Anyhow, that was during my sophomore year of college. A little over a year ago, I finished school. I decided the next thing I was going to do was write a TV pilot. Well, I managed to get Pilot Season off the ground at TC, but no such luck on my own endeavors. I have an idea, I even have some early notes somewhere, but ostensibly I've done nothing.

So here I sit, a month and a half from another birthday, with nothing more under my belt that I can really and truly hang my hat on. So it's time to suck it up and be a man. Or at least make the most of my free time. What little time that is.

Anyone has any ideas for what I should write about... Please feel free to share.