Okay, shut up now, George Bush.
An interesting week for podcasts I think. I didn’t participate in this week’s Ink Panthers Show, instead Alex grilled Honorary Third Host, Tony Consiglio about his comics and career. We rarely mention Tony’s comics on the podcast, so this was a nice opportunity to shine a light on his work. I cannot recommend his book “ONE HUNDRED AND TEN PERCENT” highly enough. If you don’t yet own it, you can get it for cheap via that link.
I might be projecting here, but I think there’s an element of the Alex/Tony chat that acknowledges a point in a comics career where you might not be the most successful, but you might be having the most fun. Tony talks about his prolific minicomics period in the late 90′s, when it was all about making new comics and hitting as many conventions as you could.
I have a similar period of my own career which I look back on with as much wistful fondness. I may never have sold a lot of comics, and I didn’t know anybody in the room, but I was having a blast – setting up tables with my friends, and thinking about how we could do things differently and better next time. It’s a curious thing, if you stick around a comics career long enough, there’s going to be different periods and phases that you move along into, some better and more exciting than others.
It’s possible I’m experiencing my own waves of nostalgia. I’ve been packing up the apartment in preparation for our upcoming move, and have spent some time combing old bookshelves and boxes of old sketchbooks and artwork. Amusingly, I did have one thought in mind, which was to make sure I have no random stashes of vintage skin-mags in some forgotten box somewhere that I don’t want my daughter accidentally discovering one day, but I’m now wondering if I should burn some of my old sketchbooks and early minicomics. There’s stuff in some of those which is far more embarrassing to me than some old dogeared copy of Playboy. I don’t know, we’ll see…
I also posted a new episode of TCJ Talkies this week, a conversation with Craig Thompson, he of Blankets and Habibi fame. We cover some of the expected ground, (and interviewing someone who has been interviewed so much recently was a little intimidating) but I think also get into some more interesting and provocative topics. I refer somewhat to the recent critical discussion of Orientalism in Habibi, parts of which troubled me.
Admittedly, it’s one of those arguments where I certainly may not have the tools to properly engage in. It’s not an area that I’m especially well versed in, and I completely concede away all authority on the subject. But, there was one criticique that jumped out at me, which was the suggestion that the character of the evil Sultan was one of many lazy Arab stereotypes. He’s villainous, ruthless, childish, irredeemable, and lives a damnable life of luxury safe within his castle walls while the population outside lives in filth and squalor.
Craig talked about former US President George W. Bush actually being the inspiration for this character. We talk about it a bit. I get a little more hawkish in my suggestion that hey, you know what, despicable characters like this do actually seem to exist in the Middle East. Craig agrees, that maybe Gaddaffi is an excellent example. I agree too, but then keep pressing the issue, I worry to the point Craig gets slightly uncomfortable, then there’s a pause, and then it’s time to switch topics.
I don’t know though, I don’t think the concept of a fattened and well-off ruling class surrounded by the pitiable squalid masses is an especially American concept. Seems to me, it’s a global sickness… But, I also do think it’s maybe socially easier to (rightfully) critique the catastrophic ineptitude of George Bush than to start ranting about what the Syrian government is doing to it’s people. Maybe?
Don’t worry though, the whole conversation isn’t heavy like this. We talk about our different religious backgrounds, discuss certain concepts of Heaven, and then talk frankly about what’s happening to our once-hunky man-chests now that we’re entering middle-age.