Are We Having Fun Yet?

November 3, 2010

This past weekend saw the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, and while I enjoyed it tremendously, what really struck me enough to blog about was the post-rally press conference with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Listen to Stewart’s description of “the hardest thing to pull off” and if you have time, go on to part two and listen to how many times the word “joy” comes up.

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
Press Conference – The Hardest Thing to Pull Off
Rally to Restore Sainty and/or Fear The Daily Show The Colbert Report

(Link to Press Conference for those who cannot see the embedded video.)

Bob Fosse used to say “Without Joy, the work is meaningless.” Anyone who is familiar with the man’s work knows he didn’t mean happy-happy joy-joy, carousel horses and candyfloss. Fosse’s work was dark enough to satisfy the lost generation of comics readers that came of age under Miller, but it never left you feeling you needed a shower. Because of that Joy. However dark it got, the work came from the good place. It came from that higher, spiritual thing inside all human beings that artists use to connect with something greater when they create. It did not come from a damaged soul trying to make up for its deficiencies. That shit never lasts. It can make a splash for a moment, but then it fades because it lacks that indefinable Quality, that mystic thing that endures. Whatever that thing is, it comes from the part of us that is better, not worse. It comes from what makes us alive. It comes from what makes it GOOD to be alive. It comes from Joy.

So today’s big question for the 4-color comic crowd – the ones still reading DC’s monthly output but more importantly to the ones writing and drawing them – is this: Are you having fun yet?

I would like to draw attention to two Bat-groups who certainly are:

Batman: The Brave and the Bold have not only embraced the lip twitch, they have committed Pink Batman, Singing Joker, and Bat-Mite riffing on Mxyzlptk. What’s more, they make it work. Something most of us would have thought impossible, because Batman is such serious fucking business. But no, time after time, week after week, these guys have lifted the layers and layers of dark and gritty godawfulness that have been accumulating since the first crisis, and they have restored that magical joy-thing inside all characters and stories that endure.

Club Batman. This is a group in Spain which is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a series of Bat-art expositions that will simply blow your mind. From Aparo to Breyfogle, these guys know how to relish what’s good, how to savor and celebrate the character they love. In short, they know how to be fans and rather than fanboys. Feliz Aniversario, Club Batman. Here’s to 20 more years.

And me? Well, I’ll be honest, there’s more frustration than joy when I can’t eek out a blog entry. I resist the idea of blurting out a list of stuff that’s going on if I can’t make it interesting, and making it interesting takes a fair amount of time away from getting the stuff DONE. It’s like the Captain Obvious observation that if you’re constantly tweeting and updating your Facebook profile, you’re not actually doing anything except tweeting and updating your Facebook profile. So this will be brief, and if it’s not that interesting, that is the reason why.

Ebooks are now available for the individual tales up through Book 4, as well as newer higher quality pdfs for those readers who prefer the feel of actual paper in their fingers. The compilations—both ebooks and pdfs—are up on the website for Books 1 and 2. 3 and 4 will be along soon. They’re in the pipeline, I just need a few hours sans interruptions. Heh. Heheh. HAHAHHAHAHAAAA! Now that’s comedy. (Seriously though, maybe this weekend.)

Chapter 4 of the latest tale,  Electron 29, is also nearly ready for release. About 98% there, I’d say. Also waiting patiently for its turn at a ride on the unicorn (read: an hour of my uninterrupted, undistracted freetime).

In the meantime, there is a new spinoff to enjoy. Random Equinox has begun Don’t Fear the Z, examining the events of Don’t Fear the Joker from the POV of our favorite band of ex-henchmen lair-builders.

In SL, I’ve begun interviews for a virtual assistant and some voice talent, which in the long run should mean more free time to focus on the writing, but short term… woof, not so much.

So that’s the Cat-Tales catch-up. There are 2 or 3 things/people I’m waiting for in order for other things to move forward. In the meantime, I’d like to borrow a cup of Joy if anyone can spare it.

Chris Dee

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