Friday, February 17, 2012

Comic Book Industry Ambitions

Talking with my wife…
Jenny has been burning the candle at both ends lately, and has been going to sleep early to try to make up for it. The other night, I tucked her into bed, with the intention to then go play Skyrim for a few hours.
Jenny: “This is nice. It feels like you’re tucking me into bed in your house in Whiterun, and then you’re going to go out and slay dragons and have adventures.”
Me: “You would HATE that, because it would mean my housecarl was sitting in the corner, watching you sleep. That’s creepy.“
Jenny: “It’s cool. I’d be like, ‘BITCH! Get me a sweet roll!’”
Been busy this month, and not just because I have been swapping out all of the time I normally reserve for sleep and food intake for hours logged in Skyrim. (I have been considering marrying my housecarl in Solitude, not because I love her, but because she has been sleeping on a pile of hay in my basement, and it makes me feel really guilty.) I’m doing research for a couple projects, and realizing that my research skills have totally atrophied since I was in college. I keep mentioning that I need to go to the library, and people look at me like I am out of my mind. “Uh, haven’t you ever heard of the INTERNET?” The truth is that I don’t quite TRUST the internet. You can always tell when someone has done all their research on Wikipedia. They end up writing a WWII epic where Captain America fights Chip Hitler.
(And now I kind of want to write a comic about Hitler’s slacker younger brother, Chip. He’s just as horrible as Adolf, but because he’s so lazy and unmotivated, nobody really cares.)
Anyway, if you’re a librarian, and there’s a fat guy wandering around you screaming “WHERE’S THE FUCKING MICROFICHE?”, that’s me. Sorry for the noise.
The next three months or so will see a bunch of new stuff from me. GrayHaven Comics will be releasing the Sci-Fi, Fairy Tale, and Silver Age themed issues of The Gathering, and I have stories in each of those volumes. Please check them out. I’m insanely proud of all three of those stories, and super-impressed with the artwork turned out by Chris Page, Leonardo Gonzalez, and Edward Whatley, respectively.
Also, I got the word that I will be anchoring GrayHaven’s table at this year’s MoCCA Fest with Gathering editors Doug Hahner and Erica Heflin. So come visit!
Comic Book Industry Ambitions
Not the obvious ones. Not “I want to write Spider-Man someday.”, or “Hey, DC, I have a killer idea for a Creeper mini.” (Although both of those are true.) I mean the less obvious stuff. The little things that let me know I’ve “made it”.
When I first formed a punk band, just after college, I set a handful of goals for myself. None of them were “Get a record deal and become a rich and famous rock star”. That was on my mind, of course, but that was the forest, and I wanted to focus on the trees. I wanted to make sure I didn’t get so obsessed with the big picture goal of “making it” that I didn’t enjoy what I had while I had it. On the list were things like;
·        Play a show at Toad’s Place.
·        Open for my favorite local band, Big Mistake.
·        Open for my OTHER favorite local band, Spring Heeled Jack, USA.
·        Play a show out of state.
·        Go on tour.
·        Get a hug from the lead singer of NYC ska band Metro Stylee.
·        Rock out in front of that girl I had a crush on in high school. (The one who would go on to date Chris Carabba.)
And you know what? I did all of those things. I never became a rich and famous rock star, but I did get to do all of those cool things that, to me, were part of the process of someday BECOMING a rich and famous rock star. And they were all AWESOME.
So with that in mind, I have, recently been composing a list of my Comic Book Industry Ambitions. The little stuff. The fun stuff. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to write Spider-Man. But maybe I can get some of these other things done.

COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY AMBITION #17: Ride a roller-coaster with Dan Slott.
I love Dan Slott. He just seems like the sweetest, most fun guy. And he’s kicking so much ass on Amazing Spider-Man that it’s on my pull list again after a five plus year absence. He also does the best impression of The Thing I have ever heard. Every time we see Dan Slott at a convention, my wife is overcome by the urge to give him a hug. That’s the kind of guy he is.
(On a side note, Dan Slott was the ONE guy from Marvel I saw in the audienceat last year’s stellar “Women Of Marvel” panel at NYCC. He’s a really good dude.)
I think it would be fun to ride a roller coaster with Dan Slott. Especially if, as we crest that first rise, he looks at me and says, “Uh-oh, Stretch-o! I think it’s Clobbering Time!”

COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY AMBITION #38: Touch Jason Aaron’s beard.
Everybody talks about Alan Moore’s beard. And yeah, it’s pretty great. The standard by which all comic book beards are judged. But Jason Aaron’s beard is special. I think it’s full of secrets and wonders. Also, I should mention that Wolverine and the X-Men is my favorite X-title in forever, and I say that as a huge X-geek, so that should tell you something.
 I should note that I would never TRY to touch Mr. Aaron's beard without prior, clearly expressed, non-equivocal permission. Because he looks like one of the dudes from Sons of Anarchy, and I have no doubt he could beat me up pretty badly.
Plus, there could be a leprechaun with a machinegun in there. Or a bear trap. Just too much potential for mayhem.  

COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY AMBITION #54: Do something good enough that Laura Hudson calls me “A Good Egg”
Laura Hudson is the very sharp, very cool Editor-in-Chief for Comics Alliance. She writes articles that make me think, and she takes an inordinate amount of shit from the fanboy community at large. I wrote a blog a while back about one of her more controversial articles, and how the end result for me was a reminder to be more careful when I was writing, and to try to do justice to the women in my life with the characters I create and portray. (Also, when I’m writing women, I try to imagine that if I do something creepy or fanboyish, Kelly Sue DeConnick will swat me on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.)
I really want, someday, to write a comic that makes Laura Hudson give me a thumbs-up. That’ll definitely tell me I’m doing something right.  

COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY AMBITION #73: Write, Direct, and Co-Produce "Indie Comics Roadtrip"I had the Comedians of Comedy documentary on as background noise while I worked the other day. And I started thinking how much fun it would be to get a posse of my favorite indie comics friends together and spend a year hitting every major con. Just get in a van with Pat Loika, Jef UK, Len Wallace, Amanda Rachels, Chris Page, and any other indie comic folks I could get to join in and make a documentary on the fucking thing.

It would mostly be hours of footage of us being stuck in traffic while I scream obscenities at other drivers, me trying to get Pat Loika to do his Lars Ulrich impression, and Chris Page and me doing our impressions of Amanda Rachels when she's not around to hear us and take revenge on our flabby, weak bodies with her hammer-like fists.
I'd watch that.

COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY AMBITION #85: Continue to grow the "Indie Comics Poop Text" mailing list

Over the past year or two, a bunch of my friends have invented, and participated, on-and-off, in the "poop text" game. Fairly simple rules. When you're making twosies, you text everyone on the list and let them know. My list has a bunch of my bestest buddies in the field of woefully obscure comics talent on it. Not mentioning any names, of course.

I'd like to see this list grow, and really get some bigger name creators on this. Jamie Rich WANTS to let me know when he's pooping. He's just afraid to admit it.

Follow me on Twitter @travisholyfield and look for the tag #comicindustryambitions for more of these, as they occur to me.
My poor mother saw that AMC was going to have a show called “Comic Book Men”. She also saw that it had something to do with Kevin Smith. And because she loves me more than I probably deserve, she called me up, all excited to tell me about it.
(Let me say this in no uncertain terms – My mom is AWESOME for things like this, and has been my entire life. She doesn’t share my interests, but she has always made a point of knowing enough about them to tune me into things she sees that relate. The poor woman went through the 80s knowing the secret identity of every single member of the X-Men. If there’s an Eisner award for awesome mothers to geeky children, I’d like to nominate her.)
I watched the first episode and… Yikes. Really guys? You couldn’t make it through the first episode without talking about which superheroine you’d most like to bang? Way to not perpetuate any stereotypes. I was left just feeling thoroughly “meh”. Not for me, sadly. But thanks for trying, mom.
(Also, the show is called “Comic Book Men”, but really should be called “Let’s Be Horrible to the Asian Kid”.)
There have been a handful of reviews for Volume 6 (Further Into the Abyss) of GrayHaven Comics’ Gathering anthology. And people have been really positive in their evaluations of the book in general, and my story, “Jack, Unblinking” in specific.
“…it is end story Jack, Unblinking by Travis M. Holyfield and Chris Page that leaves a lasting impression. A creepy and sad tale that is quite the twist on a well loved children's toy.”
You can check out some reviews here:

Hugs and kisses,