Friday, March 12, 2010

If pride is a deadly sin, consider me a deadly sinner.

Once again, I'm doing what The Collective tells me to do and writing about things that I am proud of. Buckle up, suckers!

I'm proud of the screenplay that I wrote in college. I set out to write this movie that my friends and I were going to make. It was an action/comedy/parody/funtime about a guy called Rex Driver. My friend Jason (of Buyer Beware Comics) was going to play 'I live by no one's rules but my own' loose cannon Rex Driver, and I was going to play his begrudging partner, the earnest FBI man, Agent Mark Chase. It was going to be spectacular, and it would spawn a series of spin-off movies, a TV show, several comic anthologies, and action figures (of course). I wrote the screenplay during the summer between my last two semesters of college, first as part of a screenwriting class and then just to finish it. Nothing has ever come of it - I've contemplated revising it and turning it into a graphic novel, but haven't gotten to that yet - but I am extremely proud of the 130 pages that I wrote, and of the fact that I finished it, unlike the dozens (hundreds?) of other things that I've started and never finished.

I'm proud of how much I've grown in the past ten years. I think of how I was at the end of high school and it appalls me. And I thought that was normal! What was I even doing? I was spiraling downward into oblivion is what I was doing, and I knew it at the time but I couldn't get out. And then something changed. I don't even know what it was. It's like I was a car on ice, spinning wildly, and then the ice thinned and my tires found traction again, and I don't know how but I am so glad that they did. My life is better now than it has ever been for a lot of reasons. I've been able to learn from my mistakes without regretting their existence, which I'm wildly proud of. So yeah. Sorry if it got heavy for a minute there. I'll follow up with some lightness, don't worry.

The thing I am the most proud of, I think, is the amount of useless comic book trivia I know. I know, that may not seem like something to be proud of, but do you have any idea how many comics I've read? The number is very, very high. I've been reading them since I was 6, and I've got a lot of trivia stored up in my brain. When my comic book nerd friends have questions about stuff, they ask me about it. I was once able to identify an issue of Uncanny X-Men based on a vague description of what was on the cover. Conversely, when I worked at Mavericks (my local comic store!), the aforementioned Jason and I would play a game where he would pick a random Batman or Superman comic out of a box (it had to be a post-1986 issue, as that's the stuff I grew up on) and he would give me the issue number, and I would describe, from memory, what was on the cover. My ability to do this has extended to Flash comics, and now reaches back into the '50s. Go ahead, look one up and rattle off the issue number. I might be a little rusty, but I'll give it a go. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but...well, I'm proud of my vast nerd knowledge. Some people may call it a sickness. I call it fucking awesome.

That's just a few things I'm proud of. I'll try to think of more. Oh, and I'm proud of my kick-ass toy collection, too.

(I'll pretty much take any opportunity to post pictures of my toys.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On The Land Before Time

When I was in preschool, The Land Before Time was THE SHIT. It was, if memory serves, the biggest movie that had ever come out ever, at least to my five-year-old mind. The thing was, I didn't really have all that much interest in it.

Until all of my friends started talking about it. They talked about how amazing it was. They described all of the characters, and I didn't get it when the girls in my class kept saying "Yep yep yep!" They were all scared of Sharptooth, but that just made him the coolest of all of them (we were boys, after all). And most of all, whenever I told them I hadn't seen it, they implored me to see it.

I caved. I suddenly really wanted to see it. You have to remember that this was 1988, a year before Tim Burton's Batman was released and I learned what it was like to really, truly want to see a movie. As far as 5-year-old me was concerned, The Land Before Time must surely be the be-all and end-all of movies, and I knew this because all of my friends had told me so. I begged my parents to take me. Begged. And they wouldn't have it. Which, of course, meant that I would just beg even more and even more incessantly.

Then, one Saturday, they had a surprise planned for me. They were going to take me to see The Land Before Time. A joyful day for Joe, right? Well, not really, at that point. For some reason, I didn't want to see it anymore. I think, looking back on it, that the peer pressure that had made me want to see it to begin with had worn off. So when my parents told me that they were taking me to see it, I cried - cried - with not wanting to see it.

Boy, did I get in trouble that day.

Twenty-two years later, Jennie and I watched The Land Before Time. She was shocked that I'd never seen it, and I was pretty excited. And it was a decent, if not really, really short, movie. But I'll never be able to think of that movie without first thinking of what a total brat I was as a five-year-old. I can only imagine - and probably apologize for - how I was for Batman.