As some of you may know, I've been reading comics since I was 5 or 6 years old and--except for a brief period in college when I needed as much beer money as possible--I've never stopped. And my earliest favorites were Marvel comics. So having this dream come true is a very special moment for me as, not only a professional, but as a fan. Not many people get to work in a field that's also been a passionate hobby and I consider myself truly blessed.
Many comic fans ask at conventions "how" I got into the business and "how" I've gotten my work published. Obviously anyone creating comics has to have some level of talent--okay, a few have gotten in that make you scratch your head, but 99.9% of the people creating comics have real talent. So, you've got to have talent to get into the business. But, more importantly, you've got to work your ass off and have endless amounts of Perseverance. You can't give up. And believe me, I've wanted to many, many times...but only for the very briefest of moments.
My family and many of my friends have no idea what I do. I hear the wisecracks all the time about "not having a job" or sometimes they clarify that assinine statement by adding "real" before "job" for the adrenaline inducing "not having a real job" statement that they apparently have no idea just how insulting that statement is. I've pretty much given up trying to defend my vocation to them or how hard I actually work a long, long time ago.
Whatever. Let them think what they want to. Their insensitivity only serves to fuel my drive.
I read something Frank Miller once wrote about the "curse" we have being artists/creators. He hit it on the head when he said, "You can't turn it off!" "You can't make it stop!" referring to the creative juices constantly flowing through your head. And it's true. I find myself so overwhelmed sometimes by ideas flooding my mind that I can't focus on other things. I can't sleep. I never sleep. The ideas won't let me. The "job" never stops.
I don't "punch a clock" and I think because of that some people just can't process what I do as an actual job. Whatever. I guarantee you that I put in more hours per week working --both the actual physical act of putting pencil (or brush) to paper and the constant thinking part--than 90% of the people out there working the so-called "real jobs." And I work erratic hours. This also, apparently, for some, also means I don't have a "real job" because certainly one must work the same exact structured "9 to 5" to actually be working a "real job." I think it says so in the bible.
Yeah, I sleep till 9 o'clock most mornings and start work around 10 am. Sometimes I'll even take a 2 hour lunch. Or take an hour or two midday to play with my daughter. Or go see a matinee. Yep, kind of nice to make my own hours...work when I want to...But I also find myself up and working well past midnight many nights. And almost every weekend. And when I'm trying to sleep. So who gives a crud if the standard "8 hours a day, 40 hours a week" of work is spread out in an erratic manner. Or, as is more often the case--is definitely MY CASE!--the standard "40 hours a week" is more like 60. I'm working 60 hours a week so please pardon me if I don't conform to the standard sleep cycles mandated by you, the "real workers" out there (BTW, that was laced with bitter sarcasm in case you didn't notice).
Perseverance. Not only to get into the "doors" at the publishers, but to put up with the sheep out there who have no clue as to what you're trying to accomplish.
I have persevered my friends. I have stuck it out. I've got the "curse" Frank Miller wrote so eloquently about but, more importantly, I am one stubborn s.o.b. who just will not give in and let the dream die. And why would I? Why SHOULD I? If you're afraid to chase your dreams you might as well stop living all together. Maybe the doubters, the sheep don't dream? Or maybe they don't like seeing others chase their dreams because they gave up on their own so long ago? If the dreamers succeed that means the dreamers were right and the doubter sheep were wrong. Much easier for the doubter sheep to give up and simply ridicule the dreamers.
Perseverance. I'm a dreamer and I'm never giving up my dreams. And I'll be damned if I'll ever let the doubter sheep be right!
So this Wednesday will be very special indeed. Not only because it's going to make the little boy I was dream's come true, but also because it's personal validation for me for never giving up and never giving in. I was right the doubter sheep were wrong.
And you know what?...since I don't have a "real job," and I don't have to "punch a clock," I think I'm gonna take this Wednesday off and just read my comics.