Hi, I'm Ethan Van Sciver, and this is Ethan Van Sciver's YTINM 2. I'm using initials now, implying familiarity and hipness, which suddenly makes me doubly glad that I chose to title my column Your Time Is Now Mine instead of my initial impulse, which was Get Away, Youse. You already feel at home here, right? Are you comfortable, ready to have the culture reflected back at you by a witty, erudite and urbane Bennett Cerf type? Ah yes. And yet, this column, and I your host, are homey as a front porch rocker and smart as a new Spring bonnet.
It's this rare and broad appeal that apparently made last week's column the FIFTH most popular item on Newsarama. And fifth isn't bad, considering that the number one spot was occupied by a frightening article about President-Elect Obama's lack of Secret Service protection. Apparently, a large green man with a fin on his head can circle a corner at a party and find Barrack alone and vulnerable, ready to be engaged in conversation about the future of the United States of America, while a lot of prosperous looking social-climbers in the background gab with more interesting people about more interesting things. Keith Olbermann would have something to say about this, surely, if he knew. But Newsarama gets all the good scoops. Stay tuned.
ITEM: When I was 19 years old, I decided to skip the obligatory Mormon missionary route in favor of drawing a comic book about a robot frog. This shocked and perplexed my friends and some of my family, especially my older sister who thought my one-pager Cyberfrog strips were tasteless and crude. This crushed my soul, but I persisted. I worked at an airbrush cart in the mall during the day, and drew comics at night, eventually finding a publisher called Hall Of Heroes in Elkhart, Indiana who volunteered to publish my little character and find it distribution through Diamond. I took copies of Cyberfrog #1 to a large convention in Philadelphia and showed it to everyone, even pestering Fantastic Four artist Paul Ryan to contribute a pin up. I took Greyhound buses back and forth from Philadelphia to Elkhart to hang out and draw with Trent Kaniuga and Matt Martin, who were also being published by HOH. We ate Kentucky Fried Chicken and drew pages, inking the other's pencils, and talking about Todd McFarlane. We traveled long distances to do in-store signings where only two people would show up, and they'd both be for Matt. We did appearances at the County Fair, selling our comics in stables in between livestock.
This period didn't last long. It didn't last long enough, I mean. It was a fantastic time in my life, where my enthusiasm far outreached my abilities, but I was learning. And I was learning with two terrific artists, and friends. And I think we all felt like the sky was the limit, that this comic book industry held a future for us. Everything seemed possible, and it was incredibly fun.
I know that there are quite a few people reading this who are just getting started in comics now. Artists and writers who have their own visions and ideas, and who may lack the resources just yet to do comics full time. I'm excited for you. It's all possible, and you can do it. Because I did. And even now, as I am privileged to work on some of the most exciting projects at the greatest comic book company in the world, it's amazing to think that a dozen or so years ago, I was drawing those silly Cyberfrong strips on typing paper with Bic pens for my friends.
Others may not tell you this, but I will. If you have the talent and the drive, there's room for you. PLENTY of room. And it's every bit as rewarding a career as you suspect.
Now….feel free to relate all of this to my brother Noah, an autobiographical cartoonist, who is bitching on his blog about how depressing the climb to the top is for him! Leave him messages of support, or tell him to shut up. Either is good. http://nvansciver.wordpress.com/
ITEM: I dreamt the following last night, and demand an explanation that doesn't involve castration anxiety and/or Oedipus.
I was at a breakfast buffet at the old Roy Rogers fried chicken restaurant that I used to work at when I was 14. (It's located within the Cherry Hill Mall, Cherry Hill, NJ) I wasn't buying chicken, however, I was purchasing a bowl of soggy Raisin Bran, something I am not likely to show interest in while awake. I was surrounded by comic book fans in large puffy football jackets who were grabbing at my arm and telling me that John Romita Jr. was "talkin' smack", and that I should go and fight him. I became interested in fighting John Romita Jr. at their urging, despite the fact that I also wanted to eat breakfast, and open the tiny cereal boxes on my tray that contained Transformers toys. But the peer pressure was enormous, and I knew that I'd have to let this crowd drag me towards JRjr, someone who in waking life I've never met, nor do I have any opinion of outside of the fact that he drew the first X-Men comic I ever read. (And loved. Uncanny X-Men #202…Sentinels in the snow…awesome.)
As I marched out of the Roy Rogers and towards the Macy's, where I was meant to believe the angry Jr. Romita was waiting for me, I remembered that he was kind of a big guy, and would most likely beat the living hell out of me. But I kept going anyhow, preferring to have the hell beaten out of me than to go back to my soggy Raisin Bran and Transformers cereal box inserts. And then I woke up with an erection.
ITEM: The box that packages The Flintstones: The Complete Serie" smells really bad, but I can't stop sniffing it. It's a toxic, chemically plastic odor that makes me think of that episode of the Twilight Zone where a mannequin came to life, but forgot she was a mannequin. I think she probably smelled like this. I'd really like to think that.
ITEM: I hate to bring this up, because it really isn't relevant to the conversation I'm typing to myself, but I'm really sick of bored Foley artists attaching awful, torturous feline shrieks to scenes in movies and television shows whenever a nice kitty cat surprises someone. Cats don't really make noises like that for no good reason. Usually you have to step on their tails. But these Foley artists….they need something to do, I guess. And how did they compile a soundcard of cat noises like that, anyhow?
ITEM: Guns 'N Roses new album Chinese Democracy came out finally, I guess. And I know, I know, it's not really Guns 'N Roses, it's Axl Rose and a bunch of new guys. But I ITuned the single and have to admit, I really love it. Axl sounds great, like Rock and Roll royalty who we can't believe went missing for so long. Now where's MC Hammer? Not much of a fan of G 'N R in the 80's, I decided to go back and give a listen to what I'd been ignoring with a BEST OF collection.
And it went from brilliant (Welcome to the Jungle) to awful (Yesterdays) as these things do. Prudently, I grade it a solid C+, the plus being a bonus for the Ricky Gervais noise that Axl makes during the opening of Sympathy for the Devil. Because of Chinese Democracy, Guns 'N Roses now have two good songs.
ITEM: I shared a cab to the airport with Jonathan Frakes Sunday night and learned from him that he is married to Laura from General Hospital. My first impulse was to cry, but then I thought better and laughed. I know she'd want it that way.
ITEM: Here's a soundtrack offering for your holiday weekend! Have this with your turkey. Joseph Spence performs "Santa Claus is Coming To Town." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk5ufApUArQ
ITEM: My two favorite Christmas ornaments like each other as much as I like them. See?
And there you go! That's everything that was in my brain this week. Now it's in yours! You may have your time back again. And don't forget to leave a message or a recommend below! Next week I'll answer some questions within the column, if any are asked. Until then,
I beg to remain,
Ethan Van Sciver