Another Year of Thanks December 26, 2011 – Posted in: A Picture's Worth, Blog, Featured Columns

Howdy! Hope every one of you had a merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah week. Or whatever you celebrated that didn’t involve anything illegal.

As mentioned in last year’s final blog, every morning I write down three things for which I’m thankful. I keep a pad and pen next to the bed and write them upon waking, so I begin the day in a grateful mood. They range from the mundane to the profound, personal to public. So continuing in that spirit, I would like to make my 60th column a thankful one. Here are a half-dozen “picture’s worth”-related things for which I am very grateful:

 

1. Some great superhero/comic-book-related films and coverage. Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class, even Green Lantern and Cowboys & Aliens were all very enjoyable. Some just a mindless thrill-ride, others fitting tributes and impressive three-dimensional incarnations of previously two-dimensional characters (some more literally or figuratively than others). But all of them entertained me enough to forget the outside world, its pettiness and politics. And because of the successful ones, the world knows that comics are a great resource for some great entertainment (despite what stereotypical critic Owen “Glib-man” of Entertainment Weekly says). The Licensing Expo in Vegas, the San Diego Con and Long Beach Comic and Horror Con were well-attended events full of fun and overall good publicity for the industry. Fantasy films in general from Potter to Planet Of the Apes all were welcome. The Cap premiere in San Diego before the convention was something I won’t long forget!

 

My two favorite superhero/comics movies of the year. Cap, with despite what I initially thought was a dumb uniform, became my second or third favorite comic-book movie of all. Don’t listen to misguided, cynical and clueless contemporary critics who’ve forgotten the biggest war of the last century, or that good taste, patriotism and honor still exist.

 

2. The Commissions and Projects. The quantity could have been better, but the quality given to me by you and others who ordered art from this site or in person was a blessing. Not in monetary terms (trust me, it ain’t no way to make a living), but in terms of the imagination sparked and techniques inspired by what was given. Each new commission brings challenges along with inspiration and education. At the very least I learn more about a particular character and its fan. At most I discover new techniques, improve my skills and sometimes acquire newfound knowledge and/or respect for other creators and artists who have come before me. Can’t beat that! I only hope next year brings more. (And I hope the economy improves so you all make a lot more dough and can spend it on more commissions…circle of life, y’know!)

 

 

 

 

Various things from 2011 by yours truly, thanks to you, truly.

 

3. Beer Abby. I created Bru-Hed a gazillion years ago and first published his adventures in 1993 (half a gazillion years ago). The last full comic-book title with him as main character was last century. I’ve done a few published strips since, but putting out an advice column “written” by him here on Wednesday’s Heroes has been a blast-and-a-half! I get to emulate my comedic influences from the old National Lampoon magazine and elsewhere as well as get a lot of non-PC stuff off my breast and brain, while also giving some legitimate information and advice (well, sometimes). A great way to keep up the comedic chops and keep the character alive. Not sure how far it’ll continue next year, but it’s been a lot of fun so far. I just need more readers. Check it out, will ya? And if you think of ways I could make it better or increase the audience, suggest away.

 

 

4. Those industry creators who passed away this year. It’s been pretty brutal. Gene Colan, Mike Esposito, Dave Hoover, Jerry Robinson, Joe Simon, Eduardo Barreto, and others, all leaving us. And of course, Adrienne Colan, beloved wife of Gene and a friend of many. Also Jeff Jatras, an online friend and member of the Gene Colan Yahoo! Group over the last decade-plus. Some a lot earlier in life than others, but all too soon for me. I wanted them to live forever, dammit. (Or at least longer than I.) Many of them were folks whose work influenced and entertained me, made my childhood full of wonder and dreams. Two of them genuine friends, one of whose weekly phone calls were full of fascinating topics and inspiring quotes (miss you the most, Gene!) Others’s work I didn’t know anything about, and a small few did work I wasn’t a fan of; but all of them deserve a place in our history and hearts. The world needs a lot more art and creativity, even if it’s stuff I don’t like. Because nearly every artist is someone’s favorite and brings joy to them, inspiration and imagination. Who can’t use that?

 

 

 

Gene and Adrienne Colan, Jerry Robinson, Joe Simon (and Gene again). I miss all of them. Especially G & A!

 

5. Social networking and digital comics. Granted, I got a lot more work done before Facebook and LinkedIn. But I also had less people who knew me or my work. Plus, given the dozens of discussion topics that flood my email box each day from the many LinkedIn groups I belong to, I will never starve for material to blog about. (Or “about which to blog”, which proves that being grammatically correct doesn’t mean clearer communication. Hey, there’s another blog topic!) There’s a continuous debate about the future of “traditional” comics and digital comics and whether one will replace the other (note: it’s not either/or, just an “and”). Regardless of what side (if any) you’re on, digital comics have helped increase the market and reach of the comics medium and industry, and that in itself is a good thing. The publicity we now get is something only dreamed of just a decade-and-a-half ago!

 

6. Craig, Wednesday’s Heroes and YOU. it’s really difficult for a lazy, money-hungry smart-ass like me to maintain a regular schedule for something that’s free, but the rewards so far have outweighed the effort. That is due to three things: 1) The enthusiasm and passion for WH that emanates from the top of Craig’s head to the bottom of my inkwell, 2) the thrill of seeing all the great art posted by the other great artists here that serves to kick my art-ass and keeps me competitive, and 3) the cool people that frequent this site and the few who take the time to comment. I’ve friended some of you on one or more networking sites and had the pleasure of exchanging some emails, which always proves enjoyable. There are some really smart, nice and generous people who read this thing, and I appreciate you all. I hope to not only entertain, educate and enlighten you more next year, but to engage more of you in online conversation. Or at least make you want to voice your opinion here. Always feel free! If it’s inappropriate we’ll let you know. But so far everyone’s been quite cool. And I appreciate it.

 

Two of the geniuses behind this site. Take a bow, Craig and Dave!

 

Thanks, Craig! And thank YOU! You’re all on my “thankful list” for tomorrow.

 

Have a safe, happy, healthy and hilarious last week of 2011! Apparently the world won’t be around this time next year if the crazies are to be believed, so make this week your best yet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you next year,

Mike

P.S.: End the year on a high note and order a commission from Craig here. And we’ll both have something even more to be thankful for next year! (I’ll even devote a blog post to you and your commission.) Thanks!

 

 

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