Monday, February 28, 2011
It’s been put off for a while, many other things got in the way, but here I’ll finally be able to show you the final All The Best Comics Have Daddy Issues column. Ever. I know, you’ll be sad, but it must be done. I’m going to answer the questions I put forward to others, it’s only fair. Hit the jump to get my final thoughts on comics and fatherhood.
Fatherhood and Comics – Mutually Exclusive or Exclusively Mutual?
1. How has being a father affected your comic buying/reading habits?
It hasn’t changed what I read, and I’m not sure that it will just yet. But it has changed the way I buy them as my time for purchasing has to fit into his schedule. I usually take him in to the shop with me, which is kind of fun; he likes the car ride and looking at the shelves – to be fair, he likes looking at most things.
However, the reading part has changed significantly since having this glorious addition to our home. He’s too big to be able to walk and read with, unless it’s on the phone as he sleeps. I find myself partaking in the odd digital sale because I know sometimes I have a good 20 minutes of him sleeping on me and it’s the best and most unobtrusive way to fight the boredom. I will sometimes read the books to him but mostly I’m just playing with him or reading other books to him. If I want to read my comics, I don’t get all weekend to lie about on the couch and enjoy the sensation. I have to make my own time, which means most comics are read in the early morning or late at night. My family operates between the hours of about 7am and 8pm. If I get up at 5am and stay up until about 10pm that means I get a few hours each day to read comics and write as well. I don’t mind getting less sleep because it’s for a good cause but I can see the definite and clear change to how things used to work.
2. How has being a father affected your comic writing habits?
Mostly, as mentioned above, being a father has affected my writing because of the time constraints now placed on my days. I haven’t hit a wall where I’m starting to write stories directly referencing my fatherhood – but I’m sure I’ll get there one day. I’ve written a novel all about relationships inspired by my relationships so it only makes sense I’ll eventually write something fatherhood based.
In many ways, being a father and managing time have inspired me to take my writing to the next level – and having a supportive wife also helps with all this. I’ve been writing here for over a year now, and I’ve had gigs with Gestalt Mash and CBR for nearly half a year, as well. On top of that I have an essay appearing in Shot In The Face: A Savage Journey To The Heart of Transmetropolitan, and I’m working with a well known artist on pitching a comic miniseries, and also organising a secret book deal with a publisher that I can’t talk about just yet. There is plenty to do and I do it because some of it provides for my family and because with such a supportive home base I believe I can do it.
The best writing exercise I have though, and it fits right into my father schedule easily, is thoughtballoons. For those who don’t know, thoughtballoons is a comic writing venture I started with some other intrepid souls where we pick a character each week and then each write a one page script using that character. I find writing one page of script a week a task I can manage and sometimes I talk through the process with my little man, which can be a fun and interesting conversation – especially as he’s obviously too young to speak.
3. If you could only give your child one comic run to read, what would it be?
Obviously, the answer of this question is predicated on the fact my son is old enough to read and then actually wants a comic in front of him. I’m certainly not going to force it down his gills. But if he comes to me wanting to try something, which one would I give him?
My mind keeps coming back to Fantastic Four. Imagine a young kid reading Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman. There are good child characters that feel pretty damn real. There is a heck of a lot of fun, excitement, sadness, and plenty of well written and smart pages. This run is the sort of thing that opens a kid up to all sorts of new things. I think I’d give him this run, to start with.
My first real comics were the old EC horror comics so I wonder if my kid will start with The Walking Dead…?
4. What comic is best to read to prepare you for fatherhood?
Man, this has to be Daytripper. Not only does it get you to reflect on your own life but it makes you ponder what is to come and then it focuses on the big and important stuff. This book is honestly a game changer, you will not be the same person after reading it.
Unless my motivations are completely different and I want to motivate my son into a life of crime fighting, then I just have to read superhero books and die. Once I’m dead, I’ll provide eternal inspiration, right?
5. Who do you think the best father in comics is?
Ugh, not really much to choose from here. Uncle Ben doesn’t cut it for me because I’m looking for an actual father, not a stand in. I want the best blood relation.
Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead comes to mind because he’s just so damned determined to get it right. I’m not saying he succeeds, but he does put Carl, his son, above and beyond everyone and everything else in his life. That’s admirable. I can completely relate to that. If the difference between his danger and his safety was putting a hatchet in your head I wouldn't hesitate for a second.
6. Which comic character would you most want to be your child?
Man, what a fanlad question. Imagine being Matt Murdock’s parent, the birds and bees talk would be on a constant loop. But if I had to father one child from comics it would be Damian Wayne. Man, that would be all kinds of fun. He’s smart, and a smart ass, so your work would be cut out for you but it would be a blast. Imagine taking him out for his first beer…crazy.
7. Any father/comics nuggets of wisdom you’d like to impart?
It’s all meant to be fun. Seriously. Whether it’s some goon in spandex trying to work out whom he loves – or it’s reading comics (ba-bum-cha, that’s a joke kids), it should all be fun. If reading comics isn’t fun then stop it. If being a father isn’t fun, well…unlucky, that’s one daily pull list you can’t unsubscribe from but if you bring fun, to both realms, then you’ll get so much fun out of it.
Thank you for playing, and thank you all for reading these over the last half a year, or so.
It’s been emotional.