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.

More of my awesomeness.

It's Saturday, and for the first time in about 3 months, I'm not at a convention. Ah. Ahhh...Let me savor this for awhile. A weekend to myself.

For continuity's sake, let me declare that the mattress is good. It makes the bed higher than we're used to, but I've been sleeping straight through, two nights in a row. This is helpful, because it allows my nightmares to actually reach their second and third acts. Normally, my awful dreams do a good job of introducing and defining characters and revealing trigger events, but I never establish conflict or reach a conclusion because I'm always forced to wakefulness by a dislocated shoulder or a spring in my ribcage. Because of this new mattress, last night I saved my family from the neighborhood plague of giant zombie bees and we lived happily ever after.

Zombie bees. Zombeez. A-ha. Trademarked and copyrighted, Ethan Van Sciver 2008.

Hunter and I mowed the front of the house this morning, (you'll recall that I mowed the back lawn two postings ago) but I got too close to some little brick formation that Sharis had created to protect our baby magnolia tree, and the lawnmower blades make a horrible anvil-striking noise and warped. Hunter was worried. "Dad, you can't smash bricks." I told him that I could, but our lawnmower didn't seem able to. I flipped it, and whacked it back into shape with a mallet. It started right up again, and all was well.

The mail brought us a Barbie doll that I'd ordered from Ebay. It comes with a dog that eats it's own fecal matter. You feed it these brown pellets, and it comes out the dog's rear end. And then you feed it the same pellets again. Whoever came up with this, this distorted Betsy Wetsy notion, is a genius. Hunter and I kept the dog, had a laugh, and then gave the god forsaken Barbie doll to the little girl next door. (The same one whose parents were under guard by the SS a few days ago.) She seemed pleased.

So far, that's been my day. Other than the fact that Ace, our Great Dane, knocked one of our new dishes off the counter with his enormous wagging tail. That was a lowlight. I'm thinking of getting some meat at Shane's Rib Shack later, and perhaps some ice cream. It's one of those hot summer days that requires meat and ice cream for completion. You're all welcome to come along.

In fact, thank you,

Ethan VS

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dear me. My back hurts this morning. This mattress is GONE in just a few short hours, replaced by a marvel of THE SPACE AGE that ought to help me sleep better. And thank goodness for that.

I ventured into my MYSPACE messages this morning, never a safe thing to do with a clear head, and got an angry message from a fan who looked a little like Penn Jillette. (Not uncommon, actually.) It was titled "Pittsburgh didn't kill it's wife", and I immediately knew what it was about. You see, as it's well known in the comix circle, the promoter of the major convention in Pittsburgh was recently convicted of having murdered his wife a decade or so ago. He remarried and thought he'd gotten away with it, but some recent evidence lead police right back to him, finally, and now he's been placed into the system.

I thought it'd be a good idea to avoid that particular convention until it finds itself under new management, but this fellow disagreed.

"Pittsburgh didn't kill its wife.

Pretty low, man.

the only people you're punishing are the fans. "

And he goes on and on about it. I wish I could not 'punish the fans' and still not support a murderer. It's a catch 22.

Anyhow, I decided our neighborhood needed a fascist element, so I bought a CSI prop (a corpse dummy) and dressed him in German military officer gear. I placed him in front of the window that over looks our next door neighbor's koi pond, because that's where they spend most of their time. Gardening, stuff like that. They must never feel that they aren't being watched by the Wehrmacht!!

She came over today and politely asked that we move the Nazi. She was creeped out by it. Jawohl!

Alright, the mattress is here. The guys they sent over lifted the boxspring, and it turns out we had slats all along. Now we've got more. Brrow, our cat, came hauling tail out from under the bed. She was traumatized that the dogs were allowed in my office last night. That's HER sanctuary.

Alright, I've got to deal with this mattress thing. I'm out!

Ethan VS

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's called THE RAMBO!!

Kind of a random title this time around. I was thinking about sitting in our next door neighbor's backyard with Andy Haddon (mentioned briefly in our last entry) and Pat O'Connor. Someone else was probably there, but I can't remember who it would be. John Ciafranni? I don't know. But together, they were up to no good. I thought they were kind of troubled kids. Not my regular crowd.

I was sitting on a stoop watching them doing something stupid with fire, and they had one of those big old 1980's Run DMC type boom boxes, which was playing a filthy sounding song about doing something called "the Rambo". It sounded like butts might be involved.

And this all has nothing to do with the fact that I watched RAMBO last night. Sharis was asking to see this movie called "WRISTCUTTERS", which is a comedy about people who commit suicide and then have afterlife adventures. Sounded okay, but as long as she was open to watching something about people getting hurt (which is what all movies should be about) it might be a good time to get her to watch RAMBO with me.

Dad was more of a John Rambo fan than I ever was. One thing I always loved about him was his rapture, his sheer JOY, at watching vigilantes pump bullets into communists, nazis and other ne'er-do-wells. He would laugh that laugh of his, and declare that it was "awesome". He loved Clint Eastwood. "Clint the Flint." None of this was really my thing, but I watched Rambo 2 or 3 with him, just to enjoy being with him when he was in this sort of mood. It was kind of sweet somehow, and also, it was interesting to see Dad in the midst of his dichotomy: He was either a Christlike Man of Peace or he was Audie Murphy. It depended on the day.

So I watched RAMBO last night with Sharis, (it was really quite a good movie) and thought about my dad. I wish he lived closer, because we would have popped some corn or ordered up pizzas (steaks are still out of the question, I'm pretty sure) and watched John Rambo blow the living heck out of the ruthless Burmese military. It would have been an ideal father/son moment.

Yesterday, I almost bought a new truck on a whim. I came very, very close to getting one of these GMC Yukon XLs. It had leather seats, a sun roof, and it was beautiful. As I said in last blog, I've been touring a lot this year, and thought I deserved a treat. But we've only had this Buick Terraza for less than a year now, and it suits our needs. Cooler heads prevailed. Next year I will do it. Sharis is under the impression that gas prices will get way out of control in the next couple of years, and that we should both be riding motorcycles instead. $8.00 a gallon, she fears. No more Art Bell for her.

I've got to mow the lawn in a bit. We've got blue-tailed skinks in our backyard and mowing the lawn exposes them. They look shocked for a moment, like you've yanked open the curtain during their shower, and then they slither into little holes. They're beautiful, cobalt blue and much larger than the kind of lizards and salamanders I'd see in Orlando. Hunter would like to catch one and keep it in his room, but he's settling for having his fishtank reassembled, which is the other thing I've got to do today. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned, which is my job, and then Sharis is going to do all of the filtration stuff that she learned to do when she worked at a pet shop.

And then we've got to go to Home Depot and buy some oak slats to use as framework in our bed for our new mattress set. We got one of those comfort foam space age whatevers that comform to your body and don't disturb your partner when you toss and turn. Which, considering the amount of caffeine I take each day in order to concentrate on drawing little green aliens, I tend to do a lot. We've got a regular spring mattress and box spring now, which rests on the lip of our bed frame. Apparently, this new mattress set will sag in the middle without these hardwood slats. So off we go.

It's fascinating, isn't it, the things I have to say when I'm not talking about superhero comics? I'm a very interesting person in real life.

Thanks to everyone who posted replies...I can't believe how quickly you all found my blog. I thought I'd have to send notice to Jenna or Josiah, and have the address circulated that way, but blammo! Everyone found it at once! :)

Off to start my day.

I Solemnly Remain

Ethan VS

Monday, June 2, 2008

To start with...

I've decided it might be helpful if I create a journalistic kind of blog, something for public consumption, but not PUBLIC consumption. It's for family, friends, pets and household pests, not for comic book fans. This is my idea going forward. I guess it's a way to reconnect with some lost family, if possible, and maybe some old friends. Sometimes I feel like I'm two different people, because comics have made me kind of famous, and it's hard to let down the facade and just be a regular guy. I never quite know when and where it's appropriate.

This is very upsetting: I was bidding on a hat that belonged to Alfred Hitchcock, and it just got away from me. Someone swooped in and took it for $1 more just as time was running out. I had it all planned too, to get a life mask of Hitchcock to rest it on, and use it as a display. It would have been sweet.

Anyhow, I lost that one, but I'm going to try to win a coat from Orson Welles' wardrobe here. At least I can be sure it'll fit me. I'll probably wear it, too!

It's Monday night here, and I just returned from Wizard World Philadelphia. It's a comic book convention. A brand of conventions, actually, that sort of tour across the country. For some reason, I got it into my head that I should do a lot of touring this year, and so I just said, "Yes" to every convention offer that came my way. My calendar quickly filled up, and now my weekends are no longer my own. But this one was particularly worthwhile, because Philadelphia is practically home to me. I grew up right over the bridge, in Merchantville, New Jersey.

I'd been to the Wizard World Philly show before, in 2005. Quite a few old acquaintances from school and my neighborhood showed up, a few that said they knew me but I didn't really remember them. I hoped it would happen again, that I'd be able to see some old neighborhood buddies or something, and sure enough, one of my best friends from childhood came to see me.

Lino lived three houses down, and was a few years older than me. His little brother, Vincent, was my age, and a good friend as well. They had cool stuff, like airplane models, Casio keyboards, Nintendo, and Dungeons and Dragons games. (I didn't really have stuff like that.) Lino sort of became like a big brother, explaining stuff about girls to me, teaching me how to draw "Warlock" from the New Mutants, and instructing me on how to make weapons from ordinary household items. I thought he was the coolest.

Haven't seen him for years.

He came to the convention with his two very young sons, (one who looked exactly like Vincent) and it was marvelous to see him again. I was tired, kind of rushed around by the demands of the convention and fans, but I took some time to catch up and share some memories. Frankly, it made the whole occasion worthwhile. He's in Cherry Hill now, a computer programmer and he and his friend Andy (who lived two doors down the other direction) married sisters and are now brothers. Pretty cool stuff.

It made me kind of sentimental, and I started to think about how I missed a recent family reunion. I know, albeit academically, that I was a depressed teenager. I don't know why now, because my life has been wonderful since, giving me nearly everything I've ever wanted from it. Even now, thinking back, I can only recall having a lot of family around, dating some very pretty girls, and getting a lot of encouragement about my drawing. I thought then that it might be chemical, but I don't think it was, because it's gone now. I think I am angry about some things, though, because I can't control and protect everyone that I care about, and it's very frustrating to me. It's better, I have supposed, to raise boundaries and work at my own little family instead. I can't fix things.

Still, I miss my brothers. I miss Josiah, and wish I could live next door to him and his wife and children. We'd be great friends. Have barbecues and see movies. I've been getting to know Noah, who has been touched with genius. I can properly diagnose that, at least. I know it when I see it. I considered putting him in my house, because I love this guy so much. He's like an alternate reality version of me. I don't know or understand Micah and Jonah, and wish I did.

And I miss my sisters, who, other than Jenna, I haven't really talked to in years. Hannah makes extraordinary looking cakes. That Van Sciver art gene manifests itself in nifty ways. Abby married a soldier, and I'd really like to get to know that guy. Amanda has a child who is days older than Hunter. This kid should get to meet his gaggle of cousins.

I think it's time to try to make some inroads back. Blaze the trail. If everyone else has interconnecting blogs, it's a good start, and here's mine.

I am going to watch a very dumb comedy movie with my wife now. Something about White Castle.

Until next time, I am very completely

Ethan VS