Sunday, April 27, 2008

Indie Comic book creators: Crazy Motherfuckers.

In my day I have known a few indie comic book creators. Some of these guys (all of the comic book creators I’ve ever known were male) were sometimes brilliant, sometimes talented, sometimes stupid, and in almost every case (to quote myself) as crazy as a shark in a tub of blood.

Weirdly, the worst of these creator folk were virulently racist. Some of them didn’t even realize that they were (or are) virulently racist. Ask them, and they would likely tell you that they are quite fair-minded fellows with no racial or cultural prejudices whatsoever. But I’ve witnessed quite differently.

One of these kooks I used to visit often when I’d be in his town. We would discuss World War II history and have a good time. He was amusing and fun to hang around with. However, he mistook my interest in the European Theater of WWII for a certain sympathy for the Nazi regime and let slip some of his own thoughts. I was appalled and, he seeing the shock and horror on my face, quickly changed the subject. A few weeks later, talking to another comic artist who lived in the same city, I was informed that the very funny guy was, in fact, a closet Nazi with good friends involved in various racist groups. Of course I never went back to his house.

This guy had not known that my mom was half-Jewish and that I had nothing but pure hatred in my heart for racists in general and Nazis in particular.

Some time later another comic artist with whom I’d collaborated went to work with the closet case. When my sometime collaborator returned, he was packed to the gills with various racist and Nazi philosophies that he’d picked up while working there. Again, this guy didn’t know that my grandfather had been a Jew, that I loathed racism, and that I had no time for this shit.

When I ran comic book shops and comic book conventions I would have occasion to fly in various comic book artist/writers for autograph sessions. One of these guys would really take advantage of my status as host and would intentionally search out the most expensive things on the menu when we’d take him out to eat. Not that he particularly liked the most expensive thing on the menu, but he’d order them because they were the most expensive things on the menu. He would blab constantly. And, being a good host, I’d listen. (I quickly learned that most of these fellows really enjoyed listening to themselves talk.) Over the years I had him as a guest several times, and he was sometimes amusing, always expensive, but he seemed popular with the fans. Until, of course, his book’s sales plummeted. He was, perhaps not ignorantly, pals with the closet Nazi. In later years, this dude seemed to go completely insane and vent some of the most outrageous hatred toward the most powerless portion of this planet’s population. One reason I came to loathe Libertarians and all of their fellow travelers was because of this particular specimen of human filth.

In the past two years, having some time and money to expend on computers and broadband access to the Internet, I began to read the blog of one artist who’d always intrigued me. The guy’s work—both in collaboration with others, and on his own—was always sharp. So I started reading his almost-daily column. One day, reading it, he mentioned that “the clearest thinker he knew” was the comic creator I’d come to realize was one of the worst specimens of human filth I’ve yet to encounter. This should have warned me. When I pointed out to him on a later occasion that the opinion of an old “master” was not that good on a certain subject, due to the fact that the old “master” had run a sweatshop, he became quite indignant. Alas. Another crazy motherfucker.

So I’ve decided to steer clear of these crazy motherfuckers. They run the gamut of spineless liberals to hateful Libertarian racists (one of them, oddly, penning a pro-Jewish tract—as a kind of suck-up, sleight of hand, classic misdirection I suspect). I think I’ve had quite my fill of these hateful bastards. I can only hope the world caves in on them. The fact that they're all pals and buddies no longer mystifies me at all.

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