January 21, 2009

Regarding the same sort of thing as last week


Nobody likes to hear “my [family member or acquaintance] thinks you’re special,” much less “…or at least did 20 years ago –ehhh, or would have, had he known you wrote the material the cartoon was based on” so I sought to take a different approach when I encountered Larry Hama (seen here not being seen). However, you also shouldn’t say “I downloaded a bunch of your comics for free off the internet a few days ago and didn’t read far enough to get to anything you’re probably proud of,” so all I was left with was fumbliness slightly more informed than usual. Agent Waffle claimed afterwards to have been similarly uncomfortable when she asked questions, despite being closer to human than I, so maybe it wasn’t totally my fault. It probably was, though.


In the early 1980s it was Hama’s task to write a comic book series about the recently reincarnated Gijoe line of little plastic people with guns. What I wanted to ask was how much creative control he had, with regard to what characters there were and which must be used. I wondered how much of it was “Ok this guy has a head made of metal and he wears a yellow snake around his neck and his name is Destro and he’s bad. He needs to be in the next issue.” There’s probably a bit of that in all paid work, but I think in most cases your tasks are determined by a comic or cartoon company rather than a little plastic gun guy company. I don’t remember what I asked but the response was “I wrote all the character biographies myself,” which I knew, and so would not have asked about, so it was probably something unintentionally skeptical whose syllables I spoke. My curiosity often smells like skepticism and in The Big Apple there isn’t always time for a blind taste test.

I saw that Hama was using a pencil to draw something. I believe it was Snake Eyes the silent ninja. I pointed to one of the displayed comic books and said something to the effect of “but you didn’t do the art in these, though, right?” Once again, what I had meant to say was “I think that’s neat that you draw stuff even though you’re generally known as a writer, and that you have kept with it despite being more often contracted to do the other. How well did you know Bernard Krigstein? I think he was neat.” What I actually said sounded closer to “you think you’re hot stuff at this table here when clearly you’re not good enough to actually do that for a living.” Not what I meant at all. Probably not true, either, but as far as finding something he himself drew that nobody else drew over and potentially did fancy stuff to, the internet is not cooperating right just now. It’s more work than I’ve ever had, I do know that.

I suppose it’s nice to reaffirm every once in a while that I can be just as much an unintentional ass quickly in person as after spending hours fussing over some irrevocable semi-permanent typed statement. I just wish I didn’t have to pay a $20 admission fee days in advance and take a train twice for the privilege.

Somehow it happened that in addition to an artist named Hannibal King who occasionally draws vampire comics, there is, evidently, a comic vampire or vampire adversary named Hannibal King who is much better known to the internet due to his more consistent vampire associations, though neither of them are known to fraternize with the Jungle Women who also fight those vampires. Anyway, one of the Hannibals was in attendance. I seemed to make a better impression on him. Likely, alas, because I had no idea who he was. I worry that being afraid of people I am familiar with may negatively affect my big star hobnobbing prospects.

I saw “Hannibal” written on most of the man’s artwork and it was a surprising amount of time before I realized that was his name and not a unifying brand, making my needless “do they ride elephants?” joke defy science by being revealed as worse even than it already was. At this point I encountered the rare, difficult decision between having him think I was too dumb to figure out his name or too dumb to assume he hasn’t been hearing elephant jokes since everyone forgot their cannibal jokes. I hope by now you know me well enough to presume whichever decision I made, it was the wrong one, and that while you may not agree with it, I hope you can agree that I was willing to make that wrong decision.

And so I was particularly perplexed when Mr. King purchased one of the pictures I was carrying around after the third or fourth time I passed his table and finally accumulated the gall to ask if he would look the lot of them over. Pity can work both ways, but I don’t like it any better. That just means pity’s a ho.
Hannibal requested a price and I suggested five dollars? Maybe? He claimed to not be carrying such a small denomination and offered forth a ten dollar unit. Yoink! A tenner! Now for a feast, ‘eh readers? Arf arf!
I fiddled about for a five to return but Hannibal said not to bother. Though bothering is what I do best, greed sometimes wins out. And so, I unfortunately accepted the $10. It was not as bad as the fifty I undeservedly took for a past item, but since that guy was there with his stuff at his own table I still felt like I should reciprocate somehow. I did not. But now I see that the charging rate for his commission work varies by greater amounts than I’ve ever gotten away with in total, so the guy may just have loads of cash lying around. The visitor after me the third time (but before me the fourth) had something drawn for himself and undoubtedly paid a heap more than I received. Bah, I bet I could’ve gotten thirteen!

Although now I remember that I carry around an envelope of prints I made at Staples and not actual drawings, much less in ink, because mine always need computer help and generally suffer from a Catwoman deficiency, besides, so I will continue reveling in single unit transfers for amounts I couldn’t buy a case of Eli Soda with. It is also good to know I’ll never have to worry about former customers making e-bay listings like this.

Ehhh, that is, unless you have information to the contrary.



3 Responses
  1. 1
    7:55 pm, January 22, 2009

    Scruples Man sez:

    Scruples!

  2. 2
    12:34 pm, January 23, 2009

    The lady from the 1997 ad for the NBC miniseries Scruples sez:

    I wanna be your mistress.

  3. 3
    8:55 pm, January 23, 2009

    Scruples Man sez:

    Join the queue.

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