Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Most Fascinating Blog ever

Here we are, suspended in the fuzzy hammock of time in between Christmas and New Year's Day, where I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be working or not. Will people be in the office this week, asking for pages? I'm not sure. Once Christmas is over, the tail end of the year should immediately rot and fall off. It's really boring, and I really want to get back to business-as-usual, which includes the daily routine of shuffling Hunter off to school and planning my work day. And New Year's is always a horrible experience for me psychically. It fills me with dread. The year is over, I can't do anymore in 2008, and I must move onwards. I don't know why this bothers me so much, but it's just not a happy time for me. And post-Christmas finances are always a worry, no matter how far we scale back. It's's cold and dull and my asthma acts up every time I inhale the air and I don't like it. Even now, as I breathe, there's a tiny but audible whistle in my throat, which goes away when I use my inhaler, but returns again whenever I go outside.

Sorry so bleak. I'll be better around March or April.

And very sorry I have written in so long. I got discouraged when I found this blog was linked to my Wikipedia entry, which means that comic fans can read it and are reading it. Which it wasn't intended for. And fellas, I love and appreciate you all, but this was meant to be for close friends and family. Dad says there's a way to block outsiders from access to this blog, and if anyone can instruct me, that'd be helpful.

So I enjoyed chatting with Noah a few minutes ago on the phone. He's been posting radio interviews and a very interesting video profile on himself on his blog. It's good to see his work beginning to get some recognition, and it's fantastic to see him grow into his skin as an artist. He really is good. And I'm not sure that means much coming from me, since I'll be proud of him no matter what, but I really mean it. I love what he's doing. He's got such a funny, insightful and sympathetic voice in his cartooning, and I hope it'll take him far.

One of the things we spoke about were the models of financial success that he's got to look at from his standpoint. Matt Groening would be number one. I'd love to see Noah devise recurring characters that could live outside of his pages in some way. Does he have the next The Simpsons inside of his brain somewhere? I wouldn't be at all surprised, and I admire his determination to make that a reality for himself. He does know of his potential. He knows he's got a lot to say and do. I think he can succeed.

I also enjoyed Josiah's Christmas memories, over on his blog. I'm surprised my awful "Have Yourself a Merry LITTLE Christmas" began with him and his bike. Frankly, I thought it was directed at Micah over some videogame system or other. I was a tyrant and a bully, and for that, I apologize. But it is still sort of funny. And yes, Josiah, I was aware that you WERE getting the bike. I found it hidden in the garage.

And you GOT your bike! I did not receive my Transformers OMEGA SUPREME action figure that transformed from a stupid looking grey and orange "futuristic city" into a stout and ridiculous looking grey and orange robot. This broke my heart and forever hardened my soul. Why couldn't I have a few Transformers? We lived next door to Jack, that little Marie Antoinette of awesome toys, who was so blessed with He-Man and Star Wars toys that he'd actually bury them in his backyard when he got bored with them. I exhumed a Lando Calrissian that he'd dismissed under the holly tree that our yards shared, and never told him. Jack was a strange little goblin of a child, but he had Castle Greyskull.

I digress. Though I made the week before Christmas tense for you with my stupid little song, Josiah, I want you to recall that when that same bike was stolen by "less fortunate" kidz from the Camden area, I was out until dark, scouring the streets and ready to dispense vigilante justice in order to retrieve it for you. I was still your big brother and tried to look out for you, on the odd moments that I wasn't torturing you. And I still would!

And this is as good a time and place as any to let you, and anyone else, know that we'll be in Phoenix at the end of January, at something called Phoenix Comicon. I'm hoping for a miniature family reunion there, for anyone still residing in AZ who'd like to catch up over dinner.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Last Time on "No Superheroes To See Here..."

Everyone must be deeply concerned about the state of Hunter's motorbike, since I left you all in suspense about the possible outcomes last time I wrote. Well, fear not, the Tractor Supply Warehouse he bought the thing from was happy to replace it with a slightly updated, candy-apple red painted one. His first one was defective, that's all. He's been cruising around the neighborhood ever since. And I know he's having a good time, because we communicate through Walkie Talkies while I'm working, and yesterday he put the thing in his pocket in such a way as to depress the "Transmit" button non-stop, and I could hear him going "Woooooooooooooooooooo!" over the sound of his engine throttling.

Hunter just walked in to show me that he's outside melting his Communist Red Army men with a magnifying glass.

So what am I up to? Where do my current interests lie? I think I'll actually type out the stuff that is truly on my mind. It might alarm everyone, including me.

I Tivo "What's My Line" every day and watch them all in a bunch at the end of the week. The Game Show Network, for which I pay extra for this very reason, reruns this classic show in order of original broadcast at 3 AM. It was a weekly show, so I expect to get through the entire decade of the 1950's by the end of the year. Anyhow, what's great is that this morning's episode was from February 21st of 1956, and Fred Allen, (a regular panelist) died suddenly on March 16th. He looks fine at the moment, but in four days of rerun time....Fred Allen dies. I hope it still takes me by surprise.
Robert Taylor was the celebrity guest this morning. He was a strange looking man with a severe part in his hair. I've never seen any of his movies. I think he might have been a dangerous man in his personal life.

I'm collecting trading cards. I don't usually collect anything but DVDs, however, I like the X-Files, and while at San Diego Comic Con this year I bought a box of "X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE" cards. Just for the heck of it. Well, now I'm hooked. Each box comes with 24 packs, which contain 7 cards. Obviously, you get the whole base card set fairly quickly. But then there are CHASE CARDS! For each box, you get one autographed card (there are 9 cast member auto cards) and one "pieceworks" card. These are scraps of original wardrobe, pasted to a trading card. I've bought 5 boxes so far, and still don't have Scully or Mulder's autograph. But I do have two pieces of Mulder's jacket. I'm concerned that I find these missing cards. Very concerned.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I really haven't thought much about it. Sharis reminded me by setting up an elaborate gift for me that she's been working on for a month. I know what it is, because it's in our living room, difficult not to notice, and it's totally awesome. I think she talked about it in her blog, which is also available here on Google whatever the heck. She asked what kind of cake I wanted, and I didn't have an answer. Just cake, really. If it looks like a frog, that's fine, but I'm really not very particular about cake anymore. It's there for me to consume.

Also on my mind, 3 weeks from now I get an offer on paper about my future in this business I am in...must be vague about that. And I am actively working on FLASH.

Sharis got me all of these books about writing from the library. I'm reading a Syd Fields book about screenplay writing, but this is his second book. The first book he wrote was about structuring a screenplay, this one is about identifying problems with your screenplay. I'm reading the one about problems first, I guess, because the library didn't have the first one, which is widely considered to be indispensable to the writing trade. It's also responsible for a lot of cookie cutter screenplays that become awful Hollywood movies, but that doesn't have to be true in MY case, does it? Or does it? I would just like to learn and understand story structure better. It's worth pursuing.

Anyhow, I'm running out to run errands! Must go!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Suck.

I wish I knew something about motors and engines. Hunter opened a snow cone stand this summer in order to raise money to buy a gas powered motor bike. It's a tiny little yellow thing called a Street Bug, I think, and it looks like someone turned a lawnmower on it's side. But he loved it, wanted it, and even though I wasn't sure he should have it, we told him he could if he'd only earn the money to buy it. Problem solved? Nope! He promptly created a desirable product, set up a stand in front of the house, did his own signage, and earned $300 in a month. I couldn't be prouder.

And he rode that thing around the neighborhood like Peter Fonda. His friends were envious.

But then it stopped working. The motor, when idling, would suddenly choke out and make a grinding kind of a noise and quit. Transmission problem? I have no idea. But I've got to take the bike back to the dealer tomorrow and help mend it and Hunter's broken heart. I hope it can be fixed. He doesn't know it yet, but one of his fish is about to die too. This is a bad week to be having for a kid about to start the 4th grade in a few days.

This kid also needs glasses now, which we ordered today. He knows that anyone who calls him "Poindexter" or "Four Eyes" gets a sock in the mouth. Heh.

I pushed a young girl's car off the road today with Sharis. Traffic was horrible, and we were in a turn lane waiting for the light to change. When the car in front of us didn't move with the rest of the cars, we took notice of the driver, a very young mother (the infant was in the backseat), flustered by the situation. She tried to wave us around, but I was pulled up too close to her, and couldn't manage to get around her car.

Sharis got concerned and said, "We should see what's wrong and help her!"

I have to say, this thought didn't even occur to me, with traffic in the other three lanes congested and the temperature being 97 degrees. I mostly just wanted to get around her and go home. I was kind of ashamed of myself.

I put our minivan in Park with the Hazards and popped out into the street. Sharis was right behind me. Sharis introduced us, told her to put the car in neutral and steer through oncoming traffic towards the grassy area near Bank of America. Sharis acted like a traffic cop, with her arms out trying to hold back traffic while I pushed her Toyota to safety. Sharis saw a traffic accident a block ahead of us and ran to get a police officer while I zipped back to our minivan, with Hunter waiting inside, and drove it around the corner to the Bank, where we could see what further assistance we could provide for this family.

Apparently, she'd hoped the gas in her tank would go further than it did. She ran out of gas in the middle of traffic. "My husband is gonna beat me for this", she muttered, which alarmed Sharis and I. Her infant, who's name was Abby, was due at the doctor because she had a cold. We offered to give her a lift over to the doctor, which she accepted, and had a nice chat with her on the way over. It was kind of nice to be able to help someone like that, I have to say.

Sharis was very pleased, and told me many times how proud she was of me for helping, but I didn't like hearing it much. I wouldn't have done anything if she hadn't urged me to, and that is the kind of insight into oneself that isn't fun to realize. My angelic wife, will help anyone, anytime, without any thought about her own convenience or comfort. I want to be more like her.

And this little journal entry is the most appropriate thing yet written on "No Superheroes to See Here."


Friday, August 8, 2008

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Click on this box!
The plague has us! Our house is quarantined, and we're not having as much fun as usual. It's very sad. We all have the flu. Or maybe they're just severe colds, but whatever, I feel horrible. Sharis is in bed under the covers, occasionally waking to ask for a Tootsie roll. Hunter is grouchy. He's in his room putting little Lego motors on little Lego vehicles and grumbling. It's unpleasant, but it's what happens when convention season reaches it's crescendo. We end up meeting and touching so many people's hands (shiver!) that we invariably come home ill.

Last week was San Diego Comic Con. Sharis and I attended, Hunter went to stay with his grandmother, where he was treated to a nice fishing trip on a boat. He had peace and quiet. We had insanity, but a good kind of insanity. Here are some links and images to see and enjoy.

First, my writer and I announced our new DC project, Flash: Rebirth! Here's the promotional art by me:
(guess I'm breaking the "no superheroes" rule here...)

That went over pretty well. Here's an interview and fan discussion:
And then the Wordballon podcast interview:
And here's a glimpse of Sharis and I, working, at SDCC. "The Sights and Smells of SDCC" indeed!

So it was mostly work for me, but Sharis managed to get out and meet some celebrities!

Here's Sharis meeting Tori Amos!

Here's Sharis at the Eisner Awards with Gerard Way and Mrs. Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance. (My photography skills rule)

Here's Sharis with Jane Weidlin from the Go-Go's!

She also got pics of and with Samuel L. Jackson, the guys from Reno 911 and Method Man, but cutting and pasting on these blogs is very annoying, so I'll quit.

A splendid time was had by all. Sadly, I lost the Eisner award for best Penciler/Inker to Pia Guerra, who managed to create the wonderful Y, The Last Man series which ended this year. She deserved it. But I'll get mine next year! I'll settle for the 3 WIZARD FAN AWARDS I received for my work in 2007 instead.

So there's where the past month went. I'll try to write more frequently again.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Butterflies and Wasps

They're on my mind. I'm composing something tremendous, and about to take a drastic career step into something new, perhaps dangerous, but exciting. I enjoy what I do tremendously. DC Comics treats me like a king, I am paid well, and the end result of my work is it's own unique reward. I'm happy. But I can't control when ideas come. They show up in my brain and need to be written down, need to be shared, and need to be completed so that I can move on to something else.

But this one has been rattling around in my head for ten years or so, incomplete, but with a few very strong pieces in place. It's my own concept, unlike anything that exists now anywhere, derivative of nothing. It's a ray of positivity, it's about hope and love and remaining pure and a little naive in the face of negativity and evil. A few times, I came close to pursuing it, premature though it was. The characters have names, the locations and situations are there, clear as a bell, but some other questions needed answering, so I put it back down, again and again.

Then something very strange happened. My wife and I had an experience in the temple that directly, and I mean DIRECTLY addressed this half-finished idea. As if to say, "This is what you are to do, and do it NOW." We both knew it then, and though we aren't to discuss it, we both know it now.

Over the past two weeks, the missing pieces have been given to me in dreams, and I understand and have completed the story. I know what it all means, I know what I'm meant to say, and I know why I need to do it. In addition to the creative aspects of this situation, the means by which to do it have also arrived, loudly and plainly. I was worried that a personal project like this would cost my family it's security, that money would be an issue. I shouldn't have worried.

A year and a half from now, it's time to go!

(I probably sound completely crazy, being vague like this. But this is how creativity works. And it's euphoria.)

-Ethan VS

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More of this diary.

It's Saturday, and this week went by too quickly. I'm not sure what I accomplished. A few drawings? I got a new grill, because I want to stand outside in an apron and cook meat. It was delivered yesterday, but all I did was place the propane tank inside and look at it. I'll try figure it out later.

But that's what life seems to be. Meeting deadlines when possible, making appointments and keeping them, the family wanting and needing things and buying them, spending as much quality time with Sharis and Hunter as I can, and trying to stay imaginative. It's all going very fast, and I can't be the only one who notices. I got some news about a friend's failing health, and it's worried me a little, because it is true: We only get a short amount of time here on Earth, and it's very precious. Things need to be accomplished, people need to know you love them, and life needs to be lived to the greatest possible result. Oh wait... Sharis just asked me to help bring her a ladder. I'll be back in a sec...

...Done. She's replacing the wooden fan blades in the living room with white ones.

Anyhow, I'm trying to do that. Sharis and I had a long talk about what marriage is supposed to be. We're getting along very well, especially lately, and I think I've learned a few things. Because our time together is ultimately very short, we should both be concerned with making the lives of the people we love as wonderful as possible. To criticize less, to help fulfill more dreams, to try to be a happy, encouraging and positive force in each other's lives. She wants to be a cowgirl, it turns out. She wants to break horses, ride them, wear a cowboy hat. This is not what I want to do, at all. But it makes her so happy, and it's not such a big chore to come to the barn and hang out now and then, and try to learn as much about it as I can. I'm trying to be less self-centered, and it's so hard because I am so awesome, but I'm trying.

Speaking of awesome, Hunter graduated the third grade on the A/B honor roll, and was awarded the Bob Farr Hope Award. (I'm not sure what that is. I thought it was about Bob Hope, but "Farr" wasn't Bob Hope's middle name.) It came with a medal and a certificate, which he wore all day. He's an outstanding kid, what can I tell you? He was hoping to also win the Excellence in Mathematics Award, but was edged out by ONE kid. We'll get 'em next year.

He's thriving here in Charlotte. The block is full of kids his own age, and they all cruise up and down the sidewalks on these little motor scooters. I think he's a natural leader, which is another thing he got from his mother. That and a talent and interest in math. I wasn't a leader, nor was I very good at math. But I'm proud of him. He gives me a lot to be proud of.

Tomorrow is church, and we're going to try to go. I haven't been in a few months, and it's painful. I need to take the sacrement! And people are kind to me there. They have mercy on my poor rotten soul, which I appreciate immensely. I haven't been going because it's convention season, and I'm away on weekends. The bishop advised that I find a church building in each city I visit, and that sounded good when he said it. Practically, however, every hour of my convention weekend is accounted for, with 4 hours per night allowed for sleep. There isn't time, there isn't a way. I could have gone last week, because I was home, but I slept through it. I can see the disappointment on the faces of my LDS neighbors when I, a pillar of the community, do not attend regularly. I will fix that tomorrow.

I hope everyone's well! I must draw Batman sitting on a chair in the batcave now.

Truly yours,
Ethan VS

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"What's missing from Ch ch ?"

"I is!"

Chi-Chi's Mexican Restaurants. Hepatitis-free since 2004.