Monday, July 1, 2019

Perpetual Man-Babyism


I have no style. I wear a t-shirt with my own face on it about twice a week. My other t-shirts are for food trucks that no longer exist. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "Maybe you should start dressing better on yours days off of work." That idea never materializes.

Comfort always takes precedence. I am comfortable with myself enough to admit I spend forty five minutes on the bathroom floor crying every morning about how uncomfortable I am at all times during the day.

Anyways, that's noise. Beginning fluff. Here's the real stuff.

Recently, I've been in a little bit of a funk. I haven't been able to finish anything. Can't finish movies without falling asleep, can't finish books, can't finish my own damn stories. I still have brief moments of electricity where I can pump stuff out quickly but afterwards, I'm exhausted and I just want to sit on the couch and scroll through social media making fun of everything.

It's no good.

But the first step of fixing a problem is identifying a problem.

There's this regular at my place of work. Quiet dude. Always reading. We trade recommendations, we rarely take each other up on our recommendations but our interactions are always pleasant. I told him I was having trouble finishing anything and he said to me, point blank, "You just gotta make the time."

I'm a brute-force type of learner. If I don't know something, I fuck with it aggressively until I make progress. I jump into the problem. I make the time for the problem. "You just gotta make the time." This sentence resonated with me.

I picked up the Michael Moorcock book I was loving but taking forever getting through and started reading. I sought the advice of my pals, Miguel and Zach. They know comics, they know graphic novels. They gave me a list. Let me tell you, I'm powering through things.

Mister Miracle by Tom King is an absolute masterpiece. It's about the struggles of making time for the things that pull you; your obligations and your duties. As a writer and a soon-to-be father, the book pulled me in immediately and wove an emotional fabric that was funny and satisfying panel after panel. The artwork is also top notch.

I've got Hoopla (you should get it if your library offers it) so I've also rented Vision by Tom King. It is also a great story that asks about humanity and family in ways that you don't expect a "superhero" comic to do.

But I've learned something here. I've learned that the popular concept of "superhero" is often condescending. I used to be one of those people. I am learning that a superhero is simply a medium to weave a narrative. Some narratives are just monster of the week slug fests. That's okay. Good guys win, bad guys lose. Some narratives dig deeper. Both types of narratives have value.

When I was a kid, I looked up to my oldest cousin. He was cool, knew everything, and had the best, meanest-spirited insults. I loved him. Still do, in fact. He was a phenomenal artist and he always drew one character more than any other: Spawn. I noticed Spawn is racing to #300 so I decided I'd pick a recent one up. #298. I used to love Spawn. It was the dark hero. It was the cool hero. Well, this shit is not good. I don't know if it's me or if it's Spawn but it is overwritten. The text bubbles are almost always exposition and telling the reader what is happening in the story rather than letting the art do any legwork. I'll probably look at #300 out of nostalgia.

The point is, I'm allowing myself to explore different mediums of narrative and I'm starting to immerse myself in reading again. It's not all comics and graphic novels but I'm glad I let go of my own arrogance to discover something. It's also paying off in my own creative work. The more you read, the more you write. And that's all I want to do, anyways.