May 01, 2008
I Gots Me Some Enthusiasm #1
In the debut of RBN's first regular column, Larry Young, the Chief Visionary, Creative Engine, and Marketing Guru for AiT/Planet Lar has got himself some enthusiasm, and isn't exactly shy about sharing it.
So, I gots me some enthusiasm.
I don't know how much time you spend on the message boards, but I used to spend days at a time mixing it up, trying to get my viewpoint out there, into the world. Getting the word out about our publishing projects, and interacting with the community, and whatnot. I gotta baby boy, now, and I have to say I'd rather play patty-cake with my little kid than argue with some disgruntled and fired ex-DC employee about whether or not The Rock would make a better Black Adam or a better Captain Marvel, like I would have, back in the old days.
Right now, I use the message boards to blow off a little steam. Yeah, sometimes I say "fuck" and "douchebag" a little too much, but I'm colorful, see? Lifetime of habit with the coarse word coupled with the pithy phrase to stymie the audience with the juxtaposition, yeah? Highbrow and lowbrow mixed together for effect.
Not everybody comes from the same place, or can use words in the same way, so I don't mix it up as often as I did, because the playing field isn't exactly level. I have no interest in dumbing-down for the LCD, and the LCD would probably take umbrage at being labelled "lowest-common-denominator" anyway. No need to make anybody mad.
So I've sort of accidentally purged negativity and antithesis from my daily life. I have stuff I gotta do for me, and I have stuff I gotta do for the business, and I have stuff I gotta do for the kid. That doesn't leave much time for being abrasive to the thin-skinned, you know? So with what's left of my free time, I use for the things for which I gots me some enthusiasm.
Here's a story: when I was nine, we moved to rural Vermont from suburban Dallas, and that's a pretty big cultural change. Even today, in the era of ebay and PS3 and free WiFi and jetpacks and moonbases and all, here, in the 21st Century, there are more cows than people in Vermont. But, jeez, back in 1973, man, rural Vermont was not exactly pop-culture-central. Beautiful country, don't get me wrong, and friendly folks and good history and fine cheese and whatnot, but not exactly a haven for the arts.
Up the street from where we lived was a general store; the kind of shop they had back then in that place. A shop where you could buy maple syrup if you were a tourist, but 45s if you were a local kid with a pocketful of quarters. Slippers and soup bowls; down jackets and channel locks. A place where the fish skinners were on a shelf right next to the souvenir salt shakers.
And, you know, a big fat rack of comics.
And I had just moved there with my family, and I didn't really know anyone, so I used to get my dad to buy me a bunch of comics so I could read 'em and entertain myself and maybe get a good-sized stack going again to trade with other kids like I did back in Texas. And we walked in to the general store one day, and up at the counter was a stack of comics. It was a pile of Avengers #119, and it took place in Rutland, Vermont, the main town right up the road.
I couldn't believe it.
I was a DC guy, back then, and I was used to Central City, and Metropolis, and Gotham, of course, and all the other fictional places. But a comic taking place in a real town? And not New York or Dallas or Cleveland or Boston or any of the other big cities I'd been to in my then-short life? But the town right up the road? With Iron Man and Cap and Thor? Yes, please; I shall be having some of that.
Now, comics is a small community, and I hope it doesn't surprise anyone that about ten years later, I was working for an orthodontist, whose receptionists' assistant used to date Alan Weiss, an artist pals with Tom Fagan, a Rutland-based writer and comics fan who drove the appearance of all these comics heroes in Rutland: In the early 1970's, the Rutland Halloween Parade was used as the setting of a number of comics, including Batman #237, Justice League of America #103, Freedom Fighters #6, Amazing Adventures #16, Avengers #119, Marvel Feature # 2, and The Mighty Thor #207, with Fagan himself featured as a character in a number of these stories.
Anyway; it was from Ronnie (the receptionists' assistant) that I first heard that these comics guys wouldn't just sit around and think up cool stories and draw 'em out, but they'd DRESS UP and ACT OUT the stories, to check verisimilitude and authenticity and whatnot. I gotta tell you, that shaped my view of comics, back then, in junior high in the middle of nowhere, Vermont.
And I guess that explains why I dress like this to go get groceries, on my motorcycle.
May 1, 2008 10:22 PM
and that, sir, is why you're publishing my next book.
Posted by: mellon at May 2, 2008 12:21 PM
I don't have a motorcycle, but I do have a video game:
Posted by: Tim Lehnerer at May 2, 2008 02:43 PM
You're so rad, Mr. Young. : )
Posted by: erin at May 2, 2008 04:20 PM
Mellon! You should see what I'm wearing NOW!
Tim! Holy crap, man; how've you been?
Erin! I would not presume to debate you!
Posted by: Larry Young at May 2, 2008 06:30 PM
Still a boring blowhard, I see.
Posted by: JoJo at May 2, 2008 10:20 PM
Funny you should ask, Larry. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a 3.88 GPA and a Film Studies degree on Sunday the 27th last month; in Michigan's job market I can look forward to telling people what kind of soup we have with this education or possibly stacking shelves at the local Kroger.
My current Glorious Five Year Plan involves taking whatever crapola job(s) I can get for a year to pay down some debts, applying to Bowling Green State University's pop culture M.A. program for the 2009 academic calendar and eventually either going for a doctorate in American cultural studies and teaching film or just teaching film with a Masters' Degree.
Posted by: Tim Lehnerer at May 2, 2008 10:43 PM
You should make a few, man.
Posted by: Larry Young at May 4, 2008 07:12 PM
I found the first grey hair in my beard and named it "My Student Film". I'd much rather comment than produce at this point.
Posted by: Tim Lehnerer at May 4, 2008 08:36 PM