Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Author (A Superhero Vignette)

Scene opens: I’m on my old red racing bike, hanging over the front and wrapped around the ram horn handlebars. The street I am riding on is old - gravel shoulder, cracks, faded lines that I can’t tell if they are yellow or white. Genius strikes. “The Author.” A superhero. With superpowers! But he’s just an ordinary guy to. It’s perfect! I can’t believe how awesome it oh Jesus don't let that forest green Jetta clip you as it zooms by WAY TOO FAST FOR A FUCKING SIDESTREET.

"The Author?"

"Yeah man," I say as I climb into the booth at the coffee shop. I set down my mug, it steams and smells a bit sharp - the brewer needs to be cleaned. So does this table. Ew. I thought it was brown wood, but it’s actually just dirty white formica.

"But what are his powers?"

This is Colin chirping in. Colin is a dick and has longish hair in the front that he always swoops to the side. He also wears black framed glasses and bright t-shirts that are blue or red - today he’s wearing purple - and have some hip minimalist design and a band name on them. And he's a bit heavy. Fuck that, he's fat. Round faced, always lurking, bead of sweat on his upper lip.

"I dunno," I shrug. That's a lie. I do know.

"Shit, that concept sucks. No one will buy it if you don't even know what his powers are."

"Okay, I do know what his powers are. Get this - he has a pen and and a notebook, and anything he writes in it comes true."

"What do you mean, like that he wins the lottery? Dude, that sucks."

I told you Colin was a dick.

"No, like, he could make a dragon appear if he wrote 'Then a dragon appeared.'" As I say "dragon appear" I stretch out my arms like I'm showing off how big a fish is. This is to illustrate the dragon - I am trying to show Colin I mean business.

"That's pretty powerful. What are his weaknesses?"

"Well, he's just a normal guy. And he's young, so inexperience. He can only manifest his powers through writing and he's hotheaded and impulsive."

"I still think it sucks," Colin says, and leans back in the booth. "I'm hungry, you want a cookie?"

I sip at my coffee. It tastes all right for how it smells - I think it’s African, but the brewers definitely need to be cleaned.

Colin stands up and walks to the counter to get a cookie. Missie - the short dark haired girl with pockmarked cheeks - is working the cash register. Colin leansup against the counter and smiles at her. I watch this over my right shoulder, but then turn back around and look out the big window to my left. Two cars drive by - a minivan and an SUV. Shit. He was right. The Author does suck. Back to the drawing board.

“Let’s work with this,” Colin says nibbling at a cookie. The crumbs fall onto his shirt. I hate him now. “Is it a magical notebook? Is the pen magical? How does this work?”

“No, it’s his power. He can use any notebook and any pen. It just fucking manifests, I dunno.”

Colin bites his lip and looks down at the table. He looks back up at me.

“This is workable. But have you ever thought about going the indie route?”

I look back to him. His round fat face. His fucking fat piggie wiggie oink oink fat face. His beady eyes, his fucking thick lips and that goddamn sweat bead mustache.

“What do you mean?”

“Well...”

The fat fuck almost spits when he talks. I can almost smell the ham on him.

“Shit dude, you always try to go the superhero route. You think you’re goddamn Alan Moore. But you’re not Alan Moore. You’re fucking Oscar Moody, a creative writing dropout from a major university who cries himself to sleep at night because he can’t fucking write a book. Why don’t you write a comic about that? Do nonfiction - it’s all anybody wants to read these days anyway. Remember James Frey? Everyone read the shit out of that book until they found out like a fourth of it was made up. And you can use your imagination in this goddamned comic anyway. Why not pretend that YOU’RE The Author? You probably do in real life anyway.”

I hate him. But fuck, he’s got a point. And he’s my illustrator, so if he doesn’t sign on - I’ve got nothing. And then I realize. It’s genius. He’s brilliant. I love him. I love his double chin. I love the rolls of fat poking through his too tight t-shirt. I pull out my notebook and I begin to scribble. Colin takes another bite of his cookie and looks back to the counter. Missie bobs her head side to side to the music. Her hair is pulled back into two short spikey pigtails. I take notes. A star is born. Genius strikes.




This should be noted: I’m a horrible drawer. I cannot draw. I have taken many drawing classes in high school and it should be known that I got A’s in those classes. But those classes were about trying. Not being good at drawing. My sketchbook looks horrible. Page after page is scratched out boxes arranged haphazardly with stick figures and every fourth page or so there’s an egg shaped head and two blots made by a sharpie for eyes. I am a terrible drawer. And that’s the hardest part. As a comic book artist, you create a portfolio. You have a big folder full of all the shit you’ve drawn. You show this to people and they give you jobs that pay you monies. When you write comic books, in order for someone to want to give you monies they want to see a book you’ve written. But if you don’t have anything published, you can’t show them a book that you’ve written and then they won’t give you monies adn you can’t keep doing this because no on is giving you monies.

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