Comment on this post with ‘PUNY GOD’ and I’ll give you seven things I want you to talk about. They may make sense or they may be very random. Then post that list to your journal with your commentary. Other people can get lists from you and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.
So I accepted the challenge and got seven questions from her. Here's my answers:
01. How do you deal with negative reviews of your art or writing? Is there a secret to handing criticism?
No, no secret. And it's not that I have a thick skin, either. When it's something I'm passionate about, I can be just as devastated by negative crit as the next guy. EVERYBODY has doubts about their abilities, EVERYBODY dreads negative crit. Finding some way to cope with it is vital. Otherwise, you never create because you are just too afraid.
My way of dealing with it is perspective. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows is the biggest selling book in US history. 27 million copies were sold when it came out. Pretty awesome, right? Until you realize that there are 400 million people in the US. The biggest selling book in history was only read by 14% of the population.
As a result, I tend to view putting my writing out as, odds are, it won't go over very well. So when it goes over well with someone, it's a great feeling and relief. There are literally billions of people who won't like my work. All the Internet and comment threads and such do is make me aware they are out there. Otherwise, they would have this opinion and I wouldn't know. Basically, whistling past the graveyard. You can increase your odds of your stuff being liked by selectively targeting your reading audience, but it's no guarantee -- Whovians loved my Doctor Whooves fan comic, but MLP fans weren't thrilled with it. You don't control how people react to your work, and sometimes, all you can do is shrug. You do your best, and you keep in mind you are creating and getting the work done. If you do all you can to make a good story and it doesn't go over, you can take comfort in that you gave it your all, it just didn't click with them for some reason, and someone else out there will discover what you did and enjoy it.
There is some negative crit that I do ignore. The first time I ever had an industry pro review my work was a comic series I worked on. It was a retooled comic strip. Keep in mind, comic strips are different from comic books. They have their own vibe, their own art limitations, their own goals. I basically did the strip in comic book form. The editor was Cat Yronwood, an industry legend. She didn't read much of it, she started ripping it to shreds. She didn't get insulting like Simon Cowell, but there was nothing nothing nothing she liked. I walked away, and after the shock wore off, I thought, She doesn't get what I'm trying to do. She was reviewing it like a regular comic book. Of course, she would react that way. So I just sort of disregarded her negative crit because, well, the advice she was giving conflicted with the goals I sought.
Now, the know-it-alls who basically give crit that translates into, "This is how I would do it if I were writing and drawing it?" (You know, like the furries who hated Stress Puppy?) Their negative crit means nothing to me because their opinion is not of my work but an expression of their superiority. "I've got it figured out, you don't. Nyaaaaaah." I keep the more entertaining messages in that regard, but not only do I not let that affect me (filed under "No fucking clue"), but in the case of Stress Puppy, I turned their reaction into a running gag in the strip. In other words, I used their perceived superiority as a way to get cheap laughs, making my strip better. THAT'S revenge.
02. What's your favorite dessert?
Barring specialties like the chocolate eclair cake at Portillo's, cheesecake. I love cheesecake. Make it right, and I don't want strawberries or any of that crap on there. It's like booze -- you use extras to disguise the taste of the cheap stuff, the good stuff you drink straight. Do it right, and cheesecake is better than sex.
...well, better than sex with myself.
03. What are your thoughts about tattoos on women?
If they want 'em, let 'em have 'em. I don't care for tattoos in general (men and women), which I think is a result of my artistic sensibilities. As you've seen from my art, I like open space and clean lines -- I only fill in with blacks or other colors if I absolutely have to. For me, tattoos either interrupt the flow or are clutter. But, there's a big difference between, "I don't like something, I don't do it," and "I don't like something, YOU can't do it." Just like I don't like earrings, the vast majority of the public does, so if you want to be with people, Peter, you better get over it.
04. Everybody had a hidden, secret talent. What's yours? (And 'getting revenge' doesn't count! LOL!)
Well, technically, that was hidden from you until a few weeks ago. But, hey, it's your question, it's your rules.
I don't know what "hidden" talents I have since I'm generally pretty open about what I do. I know there's some I don't discuss often, mainly because they don't seem as "dynamic" to me as the writing and the drawing and such. So I'll just put out a few and you can choose which one is the best / coolest / rad / whatever.
1) My buddy Chester and I can do Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch perfectly. As in, down to the second (Live At City Center version). We know, because someone tested it. I do John Cleese's character. Surprised?
2) I can do improv comedy. I mean real improv. A lot of "improv" troops don't really do it. They take suggestions from the audience, but they have a predetermined way for their sketches to go and they only touch on the suggestions, they can't incorporate them, and there's no spontaneity. Result: they aren't funny or entertaining. Part of improv is, if someone does something to either move the scene in a better direction or just to screw with you, can you keep up? I do really well at that. I'm one of the few that you can plop me in a nearly blank scene and I'll come up with something to build on. During my post-college days, I was part of a troop that sometimes did guerrilla theater at mall food courts. Those were some fun days.
3) I used to be able to drink an entire pitcher of iced tea without using my hands. Grabbed the spout with my teeth and chugged. Good icebreaker at parties.
4) If you ask me nice at a swimming pool, I will do my Shamu The Whale routine where I jump out of the water and grab a hot dog with my teeth. Yeah, it looks silly and idiotic, but you can't get through life without looking silly and idiotic at least once in a while. Might as well have fun with it if it's going to happen.
05. You talk a lot about comics. Do you have a collection? What's your favorite series? [I feel stupid for not knowing this.]
Nah, don't feel stupid. Anyway, yes, I do have a collection. Not a huge one, and it's mostly indies or recent series (read that: I won't be using it for collateral for buying a yacht). My favorite will fluctuate based on how the series is doing or if it got canceled or what. I love the funny, so my favorites for a while were Liberty Meadows and Dork Tower. I love the current run on Deadpool because it is such a scream to read when the writers get going. And I hope I don't sound arrogant, but I do enjoy reading my own comics, especially Sound Waves. I am basically writing the things I would read if someone would just make them, so I guess it figures, but I'm aware of how snooty it sounds.
06. What are three TV shows that you think everybody should see at least one episode of?
Mystery Science Theater 3000, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, and Rocky And Bullwinkle. According to astrologers, Cancers are fascinated with history and have The History Channel constantly on. Not this puppy.
07. If you could listen to only one album for the rest of your life, what album would that be?
Inward Harmony by Marcey. I meditate to it. A lot of people don't like it (one guy described it as "Hearts In Space outtakes"). But the music has a secret. And if you figure out what the secret is...well, if that's the only music you'll have, it's the one you want. (I can't tell you what it is, you have to discover it. Well, assuming you want to keep listening to it in the first place.)