Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wizardly Worlds, Pros & Cons...


I went Saturday to Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago. Parking ALONE in a hotel about half a mile away was $19.00 - ouch!

But I needed to get my geek fix, though I suspected God had some other plans as well.

I FINALLY Jack Herman, co-author of my favorite RPG of all time, Villains and Vigilantes and shook his hand. We geeked on what movies were good and what scenes we loved and I got to show him my portfolio for ANY art in the next edition of V&V. He signed my old adventures modules too - stuff that I have had for 30 years -GEEK!

I met Peter S. Beagle of The Last Unicorn fame - and he told me about his meeting with Jeff Bridges "a nice young man" - and how impressed he'd been with Loyd Bridges, his father, because of a emotional LIVE TV performance that was scandalous since, in character, Lloyd had actually cursed at the 'raging mob' in a Playhouse performance. [Got a bit too 'in character' as it were.]

I also met a dear Christian brother who working hard with Walter Koenig [ST:TOS's Chekov!] on a new comic called "Things to Come"! He had helped with the creation of Fiefdom of Angels and so I shared with him my story and vision for my novel about intergalactic knights, etc. We may be collaborating, but even if not, it was SO good to see him!

Are you getting tired of my exclamation marks?! It's the super-dialogue in me! ;)

I also got to meet Patrick Gleason and get him to sign my hard copies of Green Lantern Corps and thank him for an old blog comment. I kvetched about the design on the GL movie, but he liked my one remark: "Oa looked like Detroit after 500 years!....ehr...sorry..." "No, no - you're good. I'll remember that one!" [I apologized because sometimes we forget as Fans Who Have Opinions that these guys ARE working professionals who are trying to make a living.]

They have to follow directives and do things they may not like; and Patrick may very well have been friends or on a working basis with the art director - or may have just met the guy and liked him. I was unhappy with the movie's art direction and opened my mouth.

Not a wise idea.

Not if you want to serve, to help others.

You see a Pro wants to serve others; a Con wants to take. Take your time, your money, your efforts but in the end, produce nothing.

Pros are gracious. Cons are not. Do you see how I am slightly redefining these from abstractions into identities? "Pro" means you are FOR something, i.e. Pro-Life. CON means you are AGAINST something - and it is so negative, even in our common slang, we change stances to STAY on the "Pro" side. So someone for an abortion will not say they are "Con-Life", but "Pro-Choice."

I can only say in respect that God makes choices too. And He has, in the past, indeed chosen to use unwanted pregnancies to save other lives and change the world. Abortion is death; adoption is life. I will say no more.

As for becoming a Pro in the Comic Book SF/Fantasy field, I have come to realize it is about giving away your time and your energy working diligently to bring to life to imaginary worlds.

I met Bill Sienkiewicz, he of Electra Assassin fame and much more. Funny thing is, I REALLY liked him - though some of his work I did not think 'worked' in storytelling, he is truly a very radical and ground-breaking artist. I asked if I could get a picture, and he smiled, obviously having a grand time - and I had to say as others backed away for my shot, "Let me get a picture of a good-looking man!" Bill grinned big. "Bill, tell me if one shows up later, O.K.?"

His grin turned into laughter as his ear processed past the constant din of the crowd. "I got that! That was good!"

Then I met Larry Elmore and man, we chatted like two old Southern boys who remember the days of outhouses.

Now, my DAD was the one who instilled in me the harsh realities of being a Kentucky farmboy, and rural living, so THAT was my touchstone with Larry, not my own personal experience, mind you.

But Larry Elmore has been there and done that.

He told me stories about drawing with ONE pencil by candles that were in paper sacks [like Xmas luminaries] until the pencil was no more. He told me about sitting on the front porch and listening to folk stories and ghost stories out in the Kentucky woods before electricity had gotten within miles of his home. Or running water.

Dang, he'd LIVED almost a medieval life! "You can still see a lot of references in my work to those days," he said. I sure could, from log cabins to oil lamps!

But it was in such conditions he learned to create and imagine - and he could make and shape a world with a piece of charcoal from a fireplace because of it.

"That type of imagination is missing today from this generation," he lamented. He wasn't saying the kids had NO imagination, but we had made it commercialized and packaged and marketed - and it did not HAVE to be. I had to agree.

What a gentleman! I could have listened to him for hours. And all started because I said "Larry, I remember your first work - an ad for DragonLance in which you had PERFECTLY captured a winter sky. Man -it put me in that world!"

He understood. He loved doing that -bringing worlds to life. His joy showed in his craft.

And that's what a Pro does, folks. They can take you to a world that exists on in the mind and heart and make you want to stay there.

If we are to create, let's be Pros.

There are enough critics for all the Cons in the world.

Amen.

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