Can’t underline this enough. Sexiness isn’t bad in itself, but presenting it over and over and over as the primary—if not only—means of “empowerment” offered to female characters—and, by extension, female readers—is all kinds of bullshit.
Some time ago, I posted a list of blurbs I’d composed for a then-top-secret DVD.
The cat has, as they say, been out of the bag for some time, but I keep forgetting to post about it, because I’m flaky like that. So! If you are a nerd, and you like funny web series, and you particularly like funny web series from the folks who brought you twoof the best geek movies of all time (and if you’re anything of a tabletop gamer and haven’t seen the Gamers movies, please, go watch ‘em right the hell now), you should watch yourself some Journey Quest.
But if you want to know which of my list of blurbs made it on to the final—well, you’ll just have to buy the DVD.
The Invisible Girl Gets Her Eyes Checked (And Other More or Less Forced Metaphors)
I work as an editor, in a field where career advancement is inevitably accompanied by public visibility, at least within certain circles. It’s a delicate, frustrating connundrum: I believe deeply in the principle of editorial invisibility, which makes for an uncomfortable marriage with a job where the quality and range of my editorial work often ends up directly proportional to my visibility as an editor.
As an editor, my job is to curate and cultivate other people’s creations, without wresting away creative control or imposing my own voice or sensibilities. As a rule, I keep my name out of prose I’ve edited, unless by a writer’s (unsolicited) choice. But in comics—as in magazines, and anthologies—editorial credits are a stylistic convention, one I can’t cleanly dodge while working at a major publisher. Sometimes, that makes perfect sense: often, the work of a comics editor is far more hands-on than that of a prose editor; often, too, the editor ends up the public voice of a comic. On translated books, where editing often involves a fair lot of localization; on licensed or multiple-creator comics where comics editing looks much more like magazine or anthology editing; on series with editor-driven features like letter columns; editorial credits clearly belong. On single-creator comics, where the my role is more comparable to the work I would do on a prose novel, I’m less sanguine about seeing my name on the credits page—but there, again, tradition and house style reign supreme. I’m not that prominent an editor.
Some of the visibility of comics editors, I suspect, derives from the tradition of accessibility in comics. Unlike big New York publishing, comics publishing involves a lot of direct interaction—and the creation and maintenance of specific avenues for that interaction—with our audience, and so editors are more visible and more accessible, both as spokespeople for our projects and publishers, and as decision-makers within the industry, occupying a space somewhere between roadie, producer, and publicist.
And sometime in the last few months, I seem to have gone from almost wholly invisible (at least within a professional context) to Someone Who GetsInterviewed. It’s weird, and a bit flattering, and a bit uncomfortable, because part of what makes me (I think? I hope?) a good editor is that I work very hard to keep the work I do from becoming about me. There are editors who embrace or even chase the rock-star stuff, for whom professional success means becoming a brand, and that’s necessary and good. But I’m not one of them. I love my books, and I am happy and willing and able to advocatepublicly for them. I’m a geek, and that’s a fundamentally social identity: it’s all about sharing passions, finding and building points of intersection. But I don’t want it to be about me. I’m the stage manager, sometimes the director; you should be watching the star while I work my ropes in the wings.
It’s not the visibility that throws me. It’s the context: ending up spotlit for a job that, done right, means making sure you pay no attention to the girl behind the curtain.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Alan Shepard being tossed into space, we’re giving away a couple copies of his biography, Light This Candle, by Neal Thompson. Reblog or like this post to be entered to randomly win.
Most of them are pieces of cut up corrugated cardboard boxes I rescue from recycling bins. We go through a lot of cardboard and paper at my job; I try to reuse what I can and repurpose at least some of what can’t be salvaged whole.
Some of the postcards have a purpose. Many make up my half of ongoing semi-correspondence with one of my oldest friends; of those, most fall under the thematic umbrella of lies about astronauts. The ones with the most text, words tapered to fit a letter’s worth of sentiment onto twenty-four square inches (and that counting stamp, postmark, and address) go to a girl in Vermont. Others are a splayed miscellany. Last year, for a month or so, I drew animals: a tapir with a keg of brandy hanging from its neck; a sloth in a diving helmet. Typically, I use a lot of white-out and sharpies; some collage, but more often for color or texture than whole image. Very occasionally, watercolors, badly. Sometimes, wire or thread or bits of metal or buttons.
With one exception—a postcard collaged from fairly graphic tampon instructions, which I was concerned might be confiscated by an overzealous postal clerk—I never, ever document my postcards. I’ve considered it—these days, they’re the form most of my non-calligraphic visual art takes—but it seems counter to the entire point of postcards. After they’re stamped and addressed, they belong to the recipients, not to me. And I am a perfectionist; documenting mail art would fuel no end of regret, criticizing what’s too long gone and far away to fix.
I make postcards in waves; none for months, then a dozen in a week. Their scale fits nicely in the interstices of my invariably overwhelming life, hone a glut of correspondence to a streamlined point. Once in a while, I send a pre-made postcard, hacked or not; vintage postcards from someone else’s adventures. Letters, now and then; but mostly postcards.
In retrospect, I’m not sure whether what I wanted to be when I was a kid was an astronaut or a NASA historian who also got to fly in space. I loved the science, but I’m not sure I ever loved it as much as the symbolism. Food for thought.
What I actually grew up to become was an editor, firmly ensconced in metaphorical mission control, sneaking off on evenings and weekends for private excursions into freefall.
Does anyone else find Alan Bean’s portraits of himself and Pete Conrad being bros on the moon touching? There’s one I looked at where I felt a cry coming on because Al calls the painting “The Greatest Astronaut” (it’s Pete clicking his heels on the moon). Gosh, why haven’t I…
An exquisitely specific intersection of classic-comics homage and design geekery, Cornered collects recreations of the oft-ignored spot character illustrations from the upper left-hand corners of many comics covers. Some are direct reproductions; others, more oblique.