Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ketchup, No Fries: Update for the weekend:

Hey, Jacob, thanks for the flippant followup! Glad to have met your Pop, and sorry I misheard/misunderstand his Popology. Talk to you on Tuesday, sans alliteration.

Work proceeds on my new website. I've pulled together a ton of art, a gallery of photos (and a short bio to accompany them), and have broken it out into sections that I hope some of you will find engaging. These will include: a massive bibliography, illustrated (comin' soon, Bob!); page-and-panel breakdowns of my approaches to storytelling, page design, etc. in my comics work; archival pages on Taboo (revised and expanded from the site material), 1963, Tyrant, and many individual stories, from script to finishes; film, DVD, book, and comics reviews; archives of the unpublished text pieces that were completed and typeset for Tyrant, 1963, and SpiderBaby Comix; and much, much more.

Some of this is being prepared for my students at CCS, too, so consider yourself privileged once it's all in reach. More soon!

I'm presently juggling five writing projects, and it's been great fun to shift gears between each of 'em over the past couple of weeks, amid much other work and hubbub.

Two are scripts (nope, I'm not telling), which is the first non-CCS comics work I've tackled in years. These follow on the heels of a script I completed in the late spring that led directly to this gig; after I wrap up these two, there are two more to go, and I'm looking forward to one of those most of all. It's been a pleasure stepping back into the visual storytelling stream and doing more than just wading around a while. It's impacting on my dreams, too, which is always a good sign.

Two are short stories, one of which I've had perking for over a decade, the other a more recent conceit that is taking shape nicely. The former got a real shot-in-the-arm recently thanks to dumb luck (stumbling upon the scrap of historical information I'd been seeking for at least eight years that will lend the tale the necessary grounding in fact to work) and the efforts of my friend Randy Stradley, who visited and dined at one of the locations that figure in the story. The second of the duo is set about fifteen miles from my home, and has come together quite nicely. Neither story has, as yet, really caught fire in my imagination the way, say, "Jigsaw" (my story in Hellboy: Odd Jobs) did, but that will come.

Now, with fiction, my approach to writing is pretty close to my preferred approach to my comics work, whether working from a script (as I did in the Swamp Thing daze) or organically on my solo work (e.g., Tyrant). That is, I usually have a very clear beginning point and goalpost -- I most often literally write my opening paragraphs and my concluding paragraphs in a few hours -- and then work from both ends inward, toward the core. The endings are inevitably extensively rewritten and the opening paragraphs reshaped, but it gives me a firm enough bottle to pour my mind into for the process.

This methodology has worked well for me over the years, allowing me to find the meat of the story en route to fleshing out everything between the opening gate and finish line. It's hell in production-line terms, particularly in collaborative ventures -- a matter I'll discuss more fully in a future post -- but it's the way to go as far as I'm concerned when it's I alone I have to satisfy. I suspect this all grew out of the transmutation I went through as a teenager and in my early twenties, fueled specifically by the best of Nicolas Roeg's films (Performance, Walkabout, Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Eureka, etc.), but it also allows me to ensure a grace and structural complexity I simply have never achieved working in a strictly linear, start-to-finish, mode.

Anyhoot, the other writing project has been a sample chapter I'm hard at work on for what I hope to be my first published novel. I have an agent (at last), we've agreed on the first project(s) to be shopped around, and the sample chapter is the critical component I'm presently hammering my way through. Wish me luck!

There's also the completion of the book series S.R. Bissette's Blur, which has tallied out to four books in total. The earliest labor was completed last month -- the rescue of digital files, restoration of those lost, and chronological compilation -- and now I'm steeped in the necessary fact-checking and source-footnoting. It's all time-consuming, but must be done.

Once completed, Blur will archive my complete two-year+ 1999-2001 stint writing weekly "Video Views" columns for local newspapers, stem to stern. I've also taken care to include the definitive draft of each review, some of which saw print in Tim and Donna Lucas's Video Watchdog magazine, others never saw print in their full form. All in all, it's a massive project nearly completed, and I've also been working on the cover art this past week.

It'll all be out from Black Coat Press in 2005-2006 -- more news to follow, once there's more to tell.

Finally, there's a huge Deadman painting on my board which has been (sigh) literally seven years in the making. Some of you wonder why I no longer do online sketching? This is why. The man waiting for this painting has been waiting a loooooooooooooong time, and after this is done, I have four other patient people in line, two of which have also waited almost seven years.

They don't call me Glacier Bissette for nuthin'. Though I eventually arrive at periods of pleasure in the making of the art, it just isn't like it was for me -- there's little 'high' in the drawing these days. I much prefer writing, which flows without effort. But that's a can of worms I'll get into in some depth another day...

Have a great weekend, see you in the funnies...