That rant about people ignoring their reviews was not what I set out to write. But I thought I’d let it fly. Maybe I’ll circle back to what it was supposed to be later. But in the meantime, I thought it’s worth mentioning a few things I learned about my own work from reading reviews:
1. I’m Accidentally Racist Against Eastern Europeans! - The cumbersome title X-Men: Manifest Destiny: Nightcrawler - For many reasons, I developed multiple blind spots on my first full-length comic. But my favorite being that when I created a moment to Nightcrawler’s Frankensteinesque mob-with-pitchforks origin – I didn’t even think twice about having them carry torches. Which several people pointed out is such outdated technology, that even rural Czech families would have upgraded to flashlights. It NEVER even occurred to me as an option. Seriously.
2. Even People Shunned By God Don’t Want to See God Kicked Too Much! - Sodomites!!! - In the musical retelling of Sodom & Gomorrah, we took very few creative liberties. Faithfully retelling the story is pretty f**ked-up and hilarious. But if we were to make sense of all the self-contradiction and irrational judgement contained therein, we had to add an explanation from our sexually frustrated God. Actually, more of an apology. In a song by Mike Descoteaux that serves as a coup de gras* to a comedy that already played rough – The Lord ultimately confesses to everything from watching us have sex to having “raped a 13-year-old girl…named Mary”. I know, I know. While we fully knew what we were getting into, I was shocked that even of the GLBT publications in Chicago said that it might go too far. So if they’re saying that – a life of dark comedy has really blown out my understanding of people’s thresholds.
3. I Am Out of Touch With Today’s Youth! – Runaways (vol 3) #10 – While this story is a step toward smoothing out my rough edges in comics, I did make one mistake repeatedly. Fellow St. Ignatius alum Brian K. Vaughan created fantastic characters for this series and infused it with a pop culture awareness that felt real and current without being pandering. I had a lot of fun playing with that. One mistake though – I used my pop culture references. And even though culture redeemed my GI Joe joke as relevant again – NO 16 year-old knows Small Wonder.
4. In General, I Am Still Learning! - Amelia Earhart Jungle Princess – To be 80% less glib, I should start by saying that I am still amazed by the work everyone did on this play (the first for The New Colony). But the reviews completely disagreed over what was good and what was bungled about the play. In fact, they disagreed on what the show WAS. I expected a certain degree of that going in to what I, myself, referred to as an “action-adventure political dramedy.” I knew what I wanted people to get from it, but that was getting lost in translation. And once I realized that, I could see every misstep I made in the script. Thankfully, though, New Colony let me write for them again. And the results were much more successful.
But that’s part of it. If you want to believe the praise, you have to also believe the criticism.
*- Mon dieu! Nous parle français!-