Marc Alan Fishman: Life Is A Pitch
This past weekend, the Unshaven Comics crew split our duties (heh heh). Kyle traveled to Cincinnati, where he single handedly crushed records, and declared himself Lord of the Sale. Matt and I (along with our pretty, and amazing, and totally-not-looking-over-my-shoulder-as-I-write-this wives) returned to Charm City for the Baltimore Comic Con. Again we took in the sites, the fine food, and the amazing fans. But of all the new memories made on this sojourn across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland… it was the impromptu brainstorming session that will stick out as the best part of the trip.
As our wives listened to their iPods, or slept, Matt and I did what we always do. We talked extensively about the Bears, about toys, about movies we loved… and then we started brainstorming about The Samurnauts. I know, I know. I talk about them a lot. But you know what? I love my creations with Unshaven Comics. One of the honest-to-Rao best moments of my weekend was hearing Mike Gold say to another publisher “I really love what those guys (Unshaven) are doing.” And the best part? I didn’t even have to bribe Mike to say it. I know as we’re all “co-workers” or whatever here on ComicMix, but facts are facts. Mike Gold’s résumé in comics,= and his discerning tastes are that of legend. And to be given a nod of approval from an editor like that? Well, it made my beard tingle. But I digress.
So, somewhere between Ohio and Pennsylvania, Matt and I turned the radio down, and started spit-balling. “You know we should do?” “What?” “Take that joke commission of Lucador Samuranuts and actually, you know, do it.” What proceeded after that, was several hundred miles worth of ideation. From a single jokey-dare to a fully fleshed out idea complete with Aztec gods, nomadic kung-fu monkey masters, and a five-on-five tag team tornado match to save the world. The best part? We weren’t done.
“Well, that’s cool. But you know what we could never do… Disconauts. Like… The Samurnauts of the 70’s.” “Yeah, I know. But like… if we did…. maybe they’d each have their own vehicle.” “Yeah, and those vehicles would be like M.A.S.K., right?” And so on, and so forth. Suffice to say, by the time we reached Baltimore, we’d created two completely new mini-series ready to be outlined, sketched, and built.
I related this all to Mike at our goodbye dinner where Mike and I dominated the conversation of our four top, letting Marc Hempel and my wife smile and eat their crab. No sooner did I finish telling him about our Luchadornauts did a smile creep across his face. And as he’s prone to do, he launched into a story of his own. He related to me the time he and John Ostrander took a walk around a lake close to his house, and came up with the pitch for Wasteland. And it was there, in a beautiful restaurant in the suburbs of Baltimore, with a crab cake the size of my face plated before me… did I find that first true connection with Mike Gold that did not relate specifically to good BBQ or amazing conversation. Here was a guy who with his good friend, found a camaraderie not just in opinions and shared experiences… but in an idea and creativity.
Since we were kids, Matt and I founded our friendship on just that. The spark of creation more than anything else… binds us as brothers-from-other-mothers. And just like icing on a cake, cream filling in an Oreo, or crab cakes bound with bits of smaller crab (bless you, Baltimore), Kyle joined our menagerie and completed our circle. We creators of sequential fiction are a curious sort. And my generation – the one bred by toy commercials and Nintendo – was onslaught by our elders to never have to be creative again. Why create when TV, comics, toys, movies, and then the truly evil Internet, is right there awaiting your procrastination. But there, on the road surrounded by small mountains, rest stops, and snoring wives… I was reminded of who I am, and why I do what I do.
SUNDAY: John Ostrander
MONDAY: Mindy Newell