Full Disclosure.

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I was on a panel about Comics and Graphic Novels at Villanova University, that lovely establishment of higher learning that I’m attending for my Master’s.

For the past two months, I’ve been involved in putting it together, organizing it, deciding on questions, contacting participants, et cetera. It’s been my baby. It hasn’t distracted a terrible lot from my schoolwork, so I’ve been able to handle it simultaneously (along with the other projects I’ve been working on). And to see it come together was… awesome. The crowd had great questions, the panelists (Jon Maberry, Matt Phelan, and Mary-Beth Simmons, director of Villanova’s Writing Center) had great answers, and it’ll all be on YouTube in a few days.

The project I mentioned, which is currently making the rounds with friends and trusted associates, is best described as part Don Quixote, part Hunter S. Thompson, part Highlander. I mentioned it in the course of the panel, and briefly went into a discussion of it as a synthesis of elements that had always struck a chord with me; after SPX, I was cleaning my apartment, and my mind was occupied with news about Terry Gilliam’s latest project, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”, as I was reading an old piece I’d written during the summer in a very Gonzo, stream-of-consciousness fantastical style.

In one moment, I was thinking about vague similarities between Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Don Quixote – mostly, how you have the main characters, Don Quixote and Raoul Duke, who are uniform in their pursuit of an impossibility (in Quixote’s case, glory and the chimerical Dulcinea; in Duke’s case, The American Dream, and Real Truth), of similar description (both slim, gangly, awkward figures), and their erstwhile companions, Sancho Panza and Dr. Gonzo – both overweight, but where Panza has little benefit of learning on his side, both have a strong, aggressive sensibility of right and wrong.

I thought about that, and then, somehow, my mind inserted the Highlander movies, and it all fit together bizarrely well. One could say it was a kind of “eureka!” moment, but it was probably because I’d been listening to “Princes of the Universe” way too many times to be considered healthy. In any case, that was the genesis of it.

As mentioned, Self Made Villains might be in stasis for a bit. It all depends; part of me feels like I’m not capable of doing justice to it yet, and that there are still elements I’m missing. A couple of them came together over the course of this past semester – some directly from my class readings, wouldn’t you know – but I won’t know what’s missing until I find it. In the meantime (as in, waiting for more critiques to come in), I’ll be working on a six-issue arc of a noir-ish idea I had in my head. Something tells me that when it’s done, I’ll be ready for Self Made Villains.

“We come in peace…” is definitely going into deep freeze, at least for a few years. I’m not ready to write a novel yet, but furthermore, it’s a bad time to write a vampire story. Even one about a bald, donut-loving, lazy son of a bitch who gets shot into space.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be trying to put up a fun project I’ve been doing with a letterer I met on Digital Webbing. We’ve been going through blank “preview” pages that were released to the public on Comic Book Resources, and coming up with new stories and dialogue for them, albeit limited to however many pages we could find (3 in the case of “Nomad: Girl without a World”, 7 for “Doctor Voodoo”, 6 for the Free Comic Book Day “Avengers”). I think we did a fairly good job.

All the best,
Brian

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