Earning Stripes

by capelesst

obviously, this is the Stripemaster, and the £ sign indicates time invested. obviously.

obviously, this is the Stripemaster, and the £ sign indicates time invested. obviously.

In the course of preparing NTK #4 (Monday night, hold on to your parts of secure purchase!) I read this article, then this one. I also read this post on The Comics Reporter at the beginning of the night, and just realised it probably influenced me too. (I’m going to digress briefly, but I’ll explain those links if clicking through is a hassle right now)

This blog wasn’t conceived as a comics blog. It was conceived as a flinging of stuff at the Source Wall of the internet to see what resonated, what stuck, and what just dribbled slowly downward, leaving a sticky trail that over time would crust and smell, attracting flies, not many flies, just the dumb flies who couldn’t hang out at regular fly hangouts because the other flies didn’t like ’em). I have always written, and years ago conceived of writing fiction as a career/vocation/ambition/protein-shake hallucination (they happen). So this blog was meant to be story try-outs, and they’ll get in there (along with the review of Chris Wright’s “Blacklung” I keep meaning to attempt because I loved it), but spending so much time reading and looking at comics stuff (for NTK but also for my OCD), I’ve accepted that when it takes up this much brainspace its going to need a greater outlet than one weekly linkblog. I don’t know what step of Comics Lovers Anonymous’ program that is. Call it 1.

Back to the point.

The first post on Comics Reporter (the third link) is a light-hearted weekly contribution request, this week on the Print vs. Digital theme, and contains this quote:

“With The Onset Of On-Line Comics, Print Comics Are Now Obsolete In A Way They Weren’t Before, Which Gives Them A Doomed, Romantic Quality I Can’t Resist”

Notice the statement of fact. “Comics Are Now Obsolete” would be a selective quote, but faithful to the text. “A Doomed, Romantic Quality I Can’t Resist” is such a universally relatable concept, and kind of set the tone for the night.

The first link takes you to a great CBR post on 6 comics that constitute essential reading for Daredevil fans. I’ve read half the recommendations, which is better than I usually score, and though I disagree with a couple of those being included, it reminded me of how much I do not know and have not read, even about characters I like. The second link takes you to a post about a member of the previous generation of comics creators who is having money problems (tied, as they often are, to housing and health problems).

I almost don’t want to explain the feeling those three links combined gives me, maybe you feel it a little already. Every field of endeavour has a history, a rich evolutionary sequence that can never be entirely charted. Every human looks at the future and sees uncertainty (on/to crazily disparate scales and degrees). I also believe every person fears growing old on some level, and my fears of growing old are much more to do with the attendant financial insecurity than wrinkles or shrinkage.

But every now and again the mists before you, the disintegrating vastness behind you, it creates a kind of two-pronged vertigo. So much to learn from before, so much to do for tomorrow…

And ultimately all you can hope for from any of it is the love you have for that endeavour, and the joy it brings you.

So I say we just enjoy it. And don’t sweat the stripes.