4 A.M, the streets are thick with the undead and I’ve got a Star Trek Voyager marathon going on Netflix. Janeway’s in love with a hologram and it’s maybe one of the saddest, most pathetic episodes of this show yet. Also, I’ve just completed scanning the first three issues of JTHM original pages.
There won’t be too many things of note during just the scanning phase, mostly things I notice about the actual physical pages themselves, weird doodles I find on the edges or even the backsides of the pages. The real fun, or horror, will probably be when I go into the actual files for cleanup and corrections as, contrary to what people might think, I don’t really read my stuff very much after I’ve completed it. I don’t actually know the last time I read an issue of JTHM. I actually don’t even have copies of the issues myself!
That brings me to one of the first, and strongest reactions I’ve had to just even glancing at the pages while scanning them: Almost all of the actual writing in the book feels a little foreign to me. It’s not because I deny ever having written the stuff, but it’s just that I really don’t swim around in the books after finishing them. So while people make references to stuff, quote characters and allude to situations in the book, I don’t always know what the hell they’re talking about, or I’ll recognize it but have no real response to it beyond acknowledging that yes, I did indeed write that. It’s nothing less than awesome that people quote my crap at all, but I think I would not be true to myself if I didn’t tell them to shut the fuck up and then taze them in their balls and or labia.
That scenario plays itself out much more often with Invader ZIM references, but it’s the same thing. Rikki Simons has every right to want to murder me for writing the Doom Song.
It’s not a new thought, and like I said, it was one I revisited quite a bit once ZIM was a thing, but looking through these JTHM pages, I’m reminded of when i first started having them thanks to things like the Meanwhile where Devi’s date shits his pants.
Even Johnny himself, on that Twitter account I made for him, makes almost no reference to anything he did or said in the comics. It’d become the thing of fanfic, using bits and pieces of old corpses to construct something “new” out of an old mess.
Another thing I was reminded of is how obvious it is that I had never done a comic book before, not a real one. The way some of the pages are formatted and taped together is pretty hilarious to me now.
Almost every page was done on Bristol paper, but there was no real consistency to the size of paper I used. Some pages were drawn to scale, some were on 11″x14″ paper while others were on 14″x17″ sheets. Fortunately I’ve quite a big scanner (that’s right, ladies), so it’s no problem dealing with them now, but I’m not entirely sure just why I used such large paper.
For the first few issues, anything with gray tones in it was generally done with markers, and it shows, with the darker areas apparent from where the marker strokes went back over themselves. What I had forgotten was that I wasn’t actually using markers directly on the original ink work. I think I originally started that way, but quickly saw that the markers were dragging the black ink away, creating a nasty smudge effect. Seems I would finish inking a page, and then make photocopies of them. Kinkos Copies was a huge part of my life while working on those first comics, almost to the point of being a nightly ritual. I would finish a page, drive to Kinko’s around 2 or 3 in the morning, and print out a couple of copies, some sized down to the actual comic book scale just so I could marvel at how it would eventually look in people’s fat hands. I actually had a friend who worked there, so it was half visit, half getting in actual social interaction.
From there, I would shade the copies, sometimes the scaled down ones, sometimes the full sized ones. The full sized ones I would cute apart, panel by panel, shade them, and glue them to the backs of the original pages. I must have that that was very clever because the first few Meanwhiles were done that way.
Another common stop on my post page circuit was a stop to the grocery store where I’d often just park and weep in the parking lot, wondering if my life would always be that awesome.
Eventually the tears would stop, the sobbing would relax to just a few snotty hitches, and I’d drive back home and likely watch horror movies and play some sweet, sweet Sega Genesis.