29 September 2008

Occasional Superheroine reads Shannon's mincomics.

Valerie D'Orazio has posted some nice comments about my minicomics. Valerie said, "What I think is so important about books like yours is that they *are* real. They come from a real place. And as such, they have more of the ability to touch other people's lives than a whole stack of the latest offerings from the Diamond catalog." You can read the rest of the note at Occasional Superheroine. Thanks Val!

Here is the complete letter:

Hi Shannon,

Thanks so much for dropping me this note; your words are encouraging, and give me a lot to think about.

I wanted to also apologize for taking so long to sit down an read your mini-comics until now. I appreciated very much the fact that you took the time to send them to me. To be frank, the last several months -- oh heck, I would say ever since MoCCA Art Fest in the Spring -- have been really really crazy for me. I put too much on my plate, and I also was developing concerns and questions regarding my blog and my role in comics.

I had seen hostility to my blog radically increase -- though I still had a lot of readers and fans. But the hostility got to the point where I was receiving not only death threats but had people I hardly knew obsessively follow my blog and tear it apart on a regular basis on other forums. It got really tired, and took up too much of my time. Coupled with that was an increasing pressure to be more mainstream, to "network," to angle myself in a certain way. Marvel never asked me to do that, for which I am grateful. But the pressure was there from certain places, including simply myself.

And I just burned out from all of it.

I believe life is short -- even if you are relatively long-lived, life is still short. All we really have is our integrity, and our ability to touch other people's lives for the better. We touch other people's lives by being true. We can never touch lives by being fake, or using false sentiment. The problem I have with some mainstream comics is that the writers are either just mechanically providing want the readers want (or editorial dictate demands), or they are so overworked that even with the very best of intentions, some of their books by necessity get phoned in. What gets produced are books that don't make people think, that simply retread the same tropes over and over again.

What I think is so important about books like yours is that they *are* real. They come from a real place. And as such, they have more of the ability to touch other people's lives than a whole stack of the latest offerings from the Diamond catalog.

To an extent, I think the comic companies realize this whole thing about *realness*. They want to achieve again that rawness that Frank Miller had on Daredevil and Alan Moore had on Watchmen. But look what happened to these two artists, after 25+ years in this industry. They both ended up hating passionately mainstream comics. One continued to take their paychecks and piss all over their properties in spite, and one retreated in disgust. I think both endings are sad. I don't think they were necessary, but I understand where they came from.

It's only realness that will redeem and prolong this industry. Yes, the backlist provided by Miller and Moore is lucrative. But what are the new classics -- you know, *real* classics, not the "instant" classics that are proclaimed from comic book covers. "The Dark Knight," to an extent, was *real*. But the inevitable clones of "Dark Knight," both in the movies and on the comic stands, will probably not be. Will we see the stands clogged with this sort of stuff? Will this be another situation like in the 1990s, where there was so much prefab soulless stuff?

That's why it's important that you continue to create your comics. Not just for your own satisfaction and well-being, but because without that spark that comic creators like you provide -- hundreds of you, from your homes, from the hearth of your own deepest creative intentions -- this industry would become inbred, banal, and ultimately irrelevant.

Again, thanks so much for reading the blog, and for sending me the mini-comics. I read all of them during lunch, and enjoyed them very much


Best,

Val
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