So I’ve been out of town for over a month now on the road. Finally got a bad cold, which sucks. Last night’s show & tonight’s are only thirty minutes apart, so staying at the same hotel & hopefully I’ll get a little work done. We’ll see what happens. Hard to concentrate & work with a fever.
Last Night’s Dreams:
I’m at a church service for the installation of a bishop. I always thought that such appointments were bullshit & the business of men. But as the man is being crowned & blessed the whole church is filled with an overwhelming feeling of power. Not human power filled with pride & envy & lust, but a heavenly one made of love & hope. I hope this man goes far so I can follow him to the gates of heaven if not just the ends of the earth.
I’m in the passenger seat of a car ascending into the clouds. I can’t believe I completely missed my own death. At least I seem to be headed in the right direction.
I wake up with my head at the foot of the bed. How did I get completely inverted without being woken up?
Not a lot going on. Today marks the third eight hour plus drive day in a row on the tour. Which makes me even more exhausted & cranky than normal. On the plus side I am getting some comic stuff done & last night I got to eat dinner with Nathan Amundson (Rivulets). I got in the finished pencils for a comic short I did for an anthology. I also got in the art for REH (though I can’t remember if I told that before in the blog). I got a couple comic orders over the internet today. Feel like there may have been a review around somewhere. Also I feel like I got a cold. One of the dudes in the van got sick & he’s taking antibiotics, but I’m allergic to them, so things might suck for that. Just got to wait & see.
Like a lot of folks I suppose, I was always aware of Archie because of the digest comics at the grocery store checkout, but never actually read any. As a kid I didn’t buy them because they seemed too “baby” & I was into dark &edgy stuff (or at least so I thought). When I was in my early 20s & had read up a bit on the history of comic books I almost bought an Archie at the grocery store, but my girlfriend of the time told me she read them as a kid & they sucked. I didn’t think about the Archie books again until Melissa Spence Gardner started drawing XO & kept telling me it was good & eventually I bought one for my niece & when I flipped through it, it was fine.
When they announced the Afterlife with Archie series I went around looking for it & somehow Evil of The Independents ended up scoring me a stack of 1970s Archie books for free. They really are pretty decent books. Way better than I anticipated. Yeah, they are kind of dumb teen hijinks stories & a lot of lame puns & gags, but it’s fun & easy to read & accessible in a way few comics are these days. I grabbed one of the modern books that tells two parallel stories of a 30-year-old Archie having marital troubles (one story married to Betty, the other story married to Veronica) which is a pretty brilliant concept. Archie is really great as a calming & palate-cleansing comic that some may find boring, but if you like teenage Mickey Rooney movies (I do) you really should check them out. A special shout out to Life with Archie #126 where Archie goes head to head with a criminal mastermind posing as a door-to-door salesman.
So one of the things this tour is really hitting me hard about is that I really don’t feel like I have a home anymore. It’s been two years now since my grandmother went into a coma & died in my arms. I really haven’t felt useful or important in general since then. It’s rough. All these other dudes I’m with are constantly on the phone with their loved ones back home & it’s hard not having a first call person when something good or bad happens in life. Meanwhile I’m watching this girl who’s been following the band around the country for two weeks go crazy (she was laid off & has some mental issues, allegedly my condition (Asperger’s); but I’m sure also a bit more (as there is with me)) & I’m wondering how many steps away from her crazy I am. If what I see in her is a reflection of myself, if more or less she’s what people see when they look at me. Because the situation is we all are kinda creeped out & annoyed at the situation & just want her to go away. & maybe that’s how people feel about me too. I really just want to lie in bed for a few days feeling sorry for myself & for better or worse touring does not allow that.
Last Night’s Dreams:
I have some photographs of cats up at an art gallery & the little note next to each one lists me as the content creator, but they are supposed to list me & each individual cat as co-creators of collaborative works.
I’m in the scene from Starblazers as Wildstar revealing that I have no one left on Earth that I care about when offered to call home & that I really don’t care one way or the other if I survive the mission or even if the entire human race is destroyed. I really don’t want to exist at all anymore.
I go to a small church that has 24 hour adoration. There’s two dudes there playing droney minimalist music on guitar & bass. The bass player looks like my friend Chris who has cancer & I start praying as hard as I can to let Chris’s cancer come into my body. Then I realize it isn’t Chris at all, but just a random stranger.
I wrote a few comics (XO & REH) & have been reading a ton of comics (mainly Archies, review coming soon). Still trying to figure out exactly how to actually get work done. Wrote a few little pieces about life on the road.
Last night I met a girl who reminded me of my ex-girlfriend so much that it was hard not to make out with her. She was taking shots of whiskey with shots of ginger ale as chasers. She told me she got fired from her job three days ago for sleeping with her boss & that now she was going to get a job as a limousine driver. She was such a fucking mess. I wanted to take her home & take care of her & fuck the shit out of her.
I’m woken up by my roommate’s ladyfriend talking in her sleep. She’s saying, “No, daddy, no. Please don’t touch me there.” The guy in bed with her is snoring away.
Lately I’m battling insomnia & narcolepsy in equal measures. I can’t sleep more than two hours at night, but it’s hard to stay awake for four hours without slipping into a five minute deep sleep. It’s making reality seem thin. Like I can push through it or manipulate it through the same methods I use to manipulate my dreams. I feel like I’m never fully conscious. I need something to change. I need to get out of this place I’m in that keeps chasing me from city to city & state to state.
I’m at some kind of music festival that just feels like a conference because it’s almost all performers with very few people actually in attendance. It’s all in a hotel & instead of wristbands, they give all the performers studded leather belts, but the belts are so cheap they might not even last through the three days of the festival. Alan Sparhawk is playing his solo guitar dronescape stuff, but he’s using all borrowed equipment & though the notes & ideas are there, the tone just isn’t quite right.
I’m on tour at a show in Texas. I ask a friend of min at the show how things are going & he tells me, “Not good. My girl’s become a junkie. I’m hoping she comes to this show so I can kidnap her & put her into rehab.”
I’m driving in the middle of nowhere (possibly southeastern Georgia) when the hybrid battery completely dies leaving me stranded in whatever forest it is that I’m in.
So not a lot to say. I finally got a chance to type in some reviews for Nostalgia Equals Distortion & Finally Checking It Out that have been sitting in my little notebook that lives in my pocket. So those are up in the entries before this one.
Been reading some more Robert E Howard biographical material & I have a couple new stories for him that are popping into my mind for REH. I’ll probably get first drafts done in a day or two.
I got a draft done for another issue of XO. I’ve gotten so far ahead of Melissa at this point that it’s silly. I’m thinking about doing something releasing some XO stories as books of poetry or something. Which would be kind of funny. I’m not even sure they would work in that way, because part of what makes XO work is the cartooniness of the art adding levity. With just the words it might be too bleak even for me.
Last Night’s Dream:
I’m going to see my son’s new album release show at the symphony’s concert hall; but it is sold out, so I end up sitting in the lobby listening through a doorway. Stranger than that it’s sold out is that all the material is orchestral spy music with lyrics from the perspective of The Bionic Man listing the parts of his body that have been replaced.
Growing up I never had fruit pies. Generally speaking whatever food I got was what my mom had in the house & the only pre-made snack thing I remember being in the house was Twinkies. But when I took my first big road trip after high school with a couple friends, I ended up having these as gas station snacks/meals. A few years later when I started touring with Lycia as a merchandiser these became a staple of my diet, mainly because of King of the Hill jokes. I’ve very rarely gotten fruit pies at home, but the last time I got one it was as a treat for my grandmother. Her brain function had already decayed enough that her fine motor skills weren’t super great. She picked it up, clenching it in her small fist, with the filling shooting out between her fingers & making a mess. Then she didn’t want to let me help her eat it or clean up her hands. So now, that’s what I associate with fruit pies; which is a real mix of joy & sadness – basically a raw emotional roller coaster that I should probably avoid.
So the other day Tara from Lycia made a joke on my Facebook about fruit pies & told me I should get one & I did. Aside from the whole weird emotional stuff, the fruit pie was actually pretty gross. It was sickly sweet & tasted nothing like the lemon pictured on the wrapper. It’s a food I need to leave in the fond memory department. Nostalgia equals distortion.
So I guess it’s worth mentioning that the only way I find out about comics is Gutter Trash. Both Jason & Eric dug this book, so when I saw it in a discount bin on tour, I figured it was worth checking out.
This comic is pretty great. Single issues work as individual units as well as building to a bigger plot. The basic premise is a guy who can sense the history of things he eats & is hired by the government to eat pieces of corpses & such. There’s a larger plot not completed in this book about the government outlawing chicken & meat being on the black market. I hear the series is finite, so I might pick the whole thing up soonish. This is a really good book with a great mix of fun, action, conspiracy, & comedy.
So I found this comic in a dollar bin & bought it relatively as an investment comic since Star-Lord is supposed to be in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I remember picking up the next issue of Marvel Spotlight at a flea market as a kid because it had a cool cover, but I have nearly no memory of it. In fact, the thing that put Star-Lord on my radar was the dudes on Gutter Trash reviewing a recent reprint of the stories. Anyway, this story is a fine & fun sci-fi epic. It covers Star-Lord’s origin as a powered hero as well as his conception & material participation in his father’s death. It’s a little bit Golden Age as far as pouring in way too much plot, but I’d say it’s worth at least five bucks.
Growing up Dreadstar might have been the first non-mainstream comic I bought. It was put out by Marvel (under the Epic banner) so it was available at newsstands & it was about a revolutionary war in outer space so it filled some of the void left in my heart from the recent death of the Star Wars franchise. Because of reprints & used comic bins, I eventually got the whole series with the exception of The Price which always seemed to go for $5 or more.
On tour there was a comic shop next to a club in New Orleans & I found The Price in their dollar bin. I haven’t read Dreadstar in the 25 or so years since it came out & I was surprised how much I remembered about the characters, but most of them don’t even appear in this book at all & this actually works well as a stand alone issue. The art in hear is pretty great; it’s all watercolors by Starlin. The story surprisingly isn’t sci-fi at all, but mainly a wizard tale about what there would have to be for you to sacrifice your life, your soul, & your loved ones. It’s pretty solid & makes me want to at least re-read the Dreadstar stuff by Starlin (I think the first 40 issues) & maybe the whole series.