7.03.2007

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.

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