Sean Maher's Quality Control

Sunday, March 26, 2006

He says parachutes are for girls.

Been an exciting weekend - my e-mail got gang-banged by a number of industry folks I'm really psyched to hear from - so I'm back now with full bore comics loving this week.

Last week? Well, everybody hits a few potholes in the road now and then, right? Don't worry about it.



I'm sick of it.

Look, I'm not saying patience isn't a virtue, but it's also a hair's breadth from sloth, that most uninteresting and vulgar of sins.

I can be a slothful guy. I don't like to clean up. I like to lay around on the couch with a beer when I get off work. I'll almost always take the hypotenuse route rather than going all the way around the corner.

But sometimes that ain't the thing to do or the way to do it, and it's important that I recognize when that is.

The Way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong.

You know the thing about waiting that's really burning my ass lately? The expectation that, if you wait long enough, somebody else will do it.

There's little in this life that is wise to expect from others. You've gotta take repsonsibility for your own shit, and everything is your own shit.

Take the Elk's Run guys. You might expect them to chill out on making the book until they announce a new publishing plan, right? You might think Speakeasy shitting its guts out all over the floor might throw a little halt into their game. You're dead fuckin' wrong. Josh Fialkov stood up right in the crowd, as I cheered him for at the time, and now we have a "production update" from editor Jason Rodriguez, who tells us "[artist Noel Tuazon] is finishing issue 8 right now, [colorist Scott] Keating’s coloring 7, Jaco should be finished lettering 6 tonight... and [Jason himself] sent off the lettering script for 7 tonight."

See, that's how to do it. You don't wait for your ship to come in. You build the damn ship yourself.

If you build it, they will come, as the feller says.

'Course, that's not always enough. As Hibbs pointed out last week, indie comics have to tow their own line and that means taking on the full gamut of publishing. This sparked what had promise to be an interesting conversation at MillarWorld, though that quickly devolved into self-pitying defeatism and jizz humor.

But that's a bit beside my point. I'm talking about waiting. About letting others pick up the slack for you. This applies to a wide variety of comics folk out there.

Then there are readers who wait for their shops to take care of them. "I went in the store and it wasn't there!" The Usual Response: "Oh, man, you must go to one of those shitty comics shops!" No, fuck that on both ends. You find out about a book you like, or you want to check out? Tell your retailer. Sure, I'm lucky - I live in a city with more great comics shops than I can handle, and at least two of them are aggressively ordering books from off the beaten path, books they think I might dig and would otherwise have missed. But even those guys have budgets to deal with when they order, and they can't read my mind. I'm in regular e-mail contact with my LCS whenever I find out about a project I don't want to miss. I'm taking the initiative. That's the only way to guarantee I'll get what I want, and I might just do some good for some other folks along the way.

See, you've gotta do this stuff yourself. Like Brian Ewing. Realizes the sales for Dan Slott's excellent The Thing series should be higher, starts a thread to tell everybody about it and even makes a new signature image to go with it. You don't wait for someone else to say it and then chime in with a "Yeah, me too!" You do this shit.

Then there's guys like me. I'm off and running, on this blog every day telling everyone I can about what's got me excited. Spreading the good word, shouting it from the mountain tops. Asking about that upcoming crime series from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips I'm so psyched for. Reviewing the books I don't see folks talking about because they might be a more challenging review than the new, reliably crappy X-Men or the almost unbearably reliable (and excellent) Fables. I'm tracking down previews of cool new projects, linking thither and yon, interviewing cool people when I can, and generally trying to be the most positive force I'm able to be in the comics community.

So what's my problem? I'm not just here to wag fingers at everyone, am I? I mean, if so, what an asshole. Who the hell do I think I am?

Well, I'll tell y'all a secret. Stop me if you've heard this one.

I want to be a writer.

No, I know I'm writing right now, that's not what I meant. I want to have a book out there with my name on it. I want to conquer project after project, digging in with an unsatiable appetite and just churning out the best shit anybody ever read.

But I'm not yet. And I won't allow myself to whine to you about it, because Jesus, if there's anybody on the earth I'm tired of hearing from and about, it's whining artists. I'm not sad for myself and I'm not trying to pitch you anything. My point is this:

I haven't written anything.

I'm waiting. Why? I don't know. God knows the opportunities are there. I'm working on just blasting through that wall. I'm trying to change. But it can be grueling, I know. Just like it's grueling to make comics with no guarantee they'll sell. Just like it's a pain in the ass to be sending your local retailer a message every time you want to buy a comic.

But it's gotta be done. The longer we wait, the older we get, and the proverb that with age comes wisdom is a misnomer: it's not age at all, but experience that makes us wise.

So do something.


After all, as another feller said,

it's simple: they just don't want
to do it,
or they can't do it,
otherwise they're feel a burning
itch from hell
they could not ignore
and "soon"
would turn quickly into


Wheew. Sorry for the rant. Had a bit of sand in my vagina, but it's all better now.

I've got a lot of great stuff to talk about this week, so keep your eyes peeled. It was a great weekend for me, complete with a day off from work (!!!), and I'm looking to really bring it out over the next few days.


  • At 9:54 AM, Blogger Jason said…

    Dude, editing indie comics is a form of waiting - so I've been waiting for the past two years.


    Because I want to publish books. And publishing books requires contacts. So I need to build contacts.

    Nothing wrong with waiting sometimes as long as you're preparing in the background.

  • At 10:19 AM, Blogger Sean Maher said…

    Homie, you are the LAST person I've ever heard of who waits.

    You work HOW many hours a day?

    Then came home and updated The Moose every day for a year with a big long story and a comics shoutout?

    AND edited Elk's Run and WToT?

    AND launched The Hive?

    AND started putting together your Super Secret Project (that sounds totally cool)?

    Some things take a while and require patience. I dig that, and folks who can hang on certainly deserve credit for their perserverence. But sitting there and watching the pot waiting for it to boil is ridiculous.

    S'all I meant.

  • At 11:22 AM, Blogger Jason said…

    That's true, but what I'm saying is - two years of editing, Moose, pimping, column writing and working behind the scenes and NOW, for the first time, I'm saying I want to publish.

    You're doing the same thing, you're no fool. You have the blog, the interviews - you do the super-charged pimping sometimes that people like. You know what you're doing, you're building your juice. That's not waiting, that's an investment.

  • At 1:58 PM, Blogger Sean Maher said…


  • At 5:05 PM, Blogger zilla said…

    great friggin' post sean. that's all.

  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger Sean Maher said…

    Thank you, brother Zilla. :)


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