Sunday, November 18, 2007

Writing Again

When I first started this blog, I mentioned a writing project I was working on. SINGULARITY was something I'd been kicking around for going on 17 years. There were several reasons I hadn't done anything with it. (Besides the fact that I never do anything with anything.) I wasn't confident I could pull off the drawing part myself, I didn't know how to get it published, I'm a horrible procrastinator...but the worst part was that, over the years, I kept seeing parts of the story turn up in movies and TV shows like SPIDER-MAN 2 and SUPERMAN RETURNS. A major, major plot point even turned up in Erik Larsen's wonderful NOVA relaunch a while back. Each time this would happen, I'd tweak my plot a little to avoid the similarities. But it was the show HEROES last year that drove me to drop the story altogether. (SPOILER WARNING!) The brother character flies into the sky to avoid blowing up New York at the end of the season and then turns up alive at the beginning of this season with no memory of who he is but amazed at all these crazy powers he has. When I saw that, I threw my hands up and said, "I give up." It makes me sad because SINGULARITY was the favorite of my little "projects" and the one I really wanted to get published somehow. It was also my most personal because the main character is basically me. Well, me if I had majored in Quantum Physics in college instead of Filmmaking. So, it was with a heavy heart that I set SINGULARITY aside, probably for good.

However, in early August, my spirits were lifted. I was up on the roof of my gazebo and I was thinking of some of the books I'd been reading and some of the movies from my childhood that had come out on DVD and I started thinking it would be neat to do something geared toward kids. Most of my stuff is adult-oriented (no, not XXX) and kind of grim and melodramatic. But I've never done anything that was just fun. And I've never done horror. So, as I was sitting up there, hammering away, a story idea started forming in my head. Excited, I planned to run it by a friend or two, to see if they'd heard of anything similar (I'm gunshy now) but I never got the chance. When Mike passed away, all desire to write or draw anything ever again just went poof. Lately, out of desperation to think about something, anything else, I've gone back to working out the story in my head again. It's been very helpful. Since, with any luck, I DO plan to do something with this, I can't reveal anything about the story but I can show you this:



Unlike most of the sketches I do at work, I did think this one through ahead of time. This is one of the main characters in the, as yet, unnamed story. I've been doodling a lot, working late at night, trying to refine this guy's look. I'm still a ways off but I think I'm getting the feel for him.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. If we don't hear from each other again before Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful holiday. It's no secret how much this holiday has meant to my family over the last 10 or 12 years and I guess you all know how tough it's going to be this year. I'm not sure how we'll handle it, but I suppose we'll figure something out. Despite all that's happened this year, I really do have a lot to be thankful for. I've got a lot of great friends and I've made quite a few more since August. I've got a beautiful wife and we're crazy about each other. And we have good jobs, a warm house and families that love us. So, have a nice one, folks and we'll try to do the same.

Later

15 comments:

todd said...

matt~

oh, so good to hear you talking like this, brother! i can tell by the way you're "talking" that you are coming back again--and, sad though it might be, it sometimes takes these devastating, traumatic events that shut us down for a while to re-charge us above and beyond where qwe were before! you'd told me a little bit about it before, but i can't wait to see what you're doing with this! and that guy...creepy...

and that phenomena of reading things that are "a little like" or "somewhat similar" or ("FUCK!") "exactly like" your story and your ideas happen all the time. ALL THE TIME! i think, though, that, after the intial frustration of it, to a truly creative and imaginative person--like yourself--it should become a challenge, an opportunity, to take that idea and do something biggger and better and beyond...(also, the reading and viewing public seems to have a shorter and shorter memory these days and probably didn't see that other guy do such a crappy job with that awesome idea anyway. you go and do it right! : )

sorry to go on; i'm really talking to myself as much as anybody...

can't wait to see more of "singularity", done the right way...by you!

todd

McGill said...

Man, Todd has a way for saying the right stuff...have you read his interviews of late?
I hear ya, Matt!
Tis time to doodey or get off the pot (sorry, curving my potty mouth-but I was a sailor for my defense)...
This is why I enjoy reading your blog, alot of courage in these walls...
I'm dusting off a story of my own, tweaking it, and ironing out the pencils...then going looking for an inker...
Like it or not, you have been a big inspiration in this direction...thank you...

renecarol said...

Right after Mike died an online friend emailed me to ask how I was doing. After a few emails had passed and he said "the good thing is we are emailing again." I don't think anyone could've said anything worse to me. I was like I just lost my best friend and I would trade any friend I ever make for the rest of my life to have him back. A couple days after that I got to meet you at Mike's funeral. I too am thankful for the people that I've gotten to know better these last few months.
I hope you and Suzanne have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mike would want you to enjoy your Thanksgiving and be thankful for how lucky you are to have each other.
And I agree with Todd -- I'm sure you will come up with something amazing and better. Just have some faith in your talent.

Craig Zablo said...

Sounds like you're inspired again. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Leaf said...

Ol' Drac looks just like a buddy of mine from college. Though Quinn wasn't that pasty...

Keep up the good fight, Mafus. Similarities are everywhere. What matters is your story is better and from what you've told your new one is a winnah. It's got legs and plenty o' potential. Now don't sit on it and get that puppy out before someone else comes up with a similar idea. Hell, I'm kicking myself for sitting on NOWERE for so long. Now Kirkman's got a werewolf story. Rassin' frassin'...

LIlah and her entourage still plan on joining you, Kodiak Squeeze and your 'rents Friday afternoon. Be prepared for nose prints on your glass display case.

emilio said...

Matt-
That drawing looks great.

I'm glad you're thinking about writing again and I like the idea of it being something fun that the kids can enjoy.
I'll be looking forward to it.

Yeah, that Todd guy sure has a way with words (he must be a writer or something)LOL.

Parker said...

Todd's right about being bombarded with stuff that's similar to your own concepts, it's nigh maddening. But think about the way even movie studios don't let it stop them from putting out something insanely similar to the other property, even with the massive spotlight aimed at them. Simply by being in a different medium, you won't get that kind of scrutiny, and more importantly it's all in the way you tell it. I try to focus on putting things in that play to the strengths of a comic book, and that seems to differentiate things quite a bit. And really, you're the only one who will even be bothered by the similarities, the readers will just enjoy your story on its own merits.

Heywood Jablomie said...

Matt-

I agree with what everyone else here has said-at some point, everything will seem like someone else did it, BUT it's the way you take it and make it your own that matters. I've always sat on things all my life, and there's a LOT I want to do and write, but life and work just keep getting in the way. I have a project of my own I'm looking to dust off and try to work on again, and this time I'm just going to take it and run. And I'm not sure about anyone else, but most of my writing always came from an emotional point of some sort, so maybe working off of some of the things you've been feeling since Mike passed, and putting it into a project will not only help you get it done, but also help you heal. So to hell with everyone out there who has the same ideas, do it and make yourself feel great in the process!!

And as tough as your Thanksgiving will be for you and yours, have a great one and know that Mike will always be with you guys!!

Matt Wieringo said...

Thanks, Heywood. (And everybody.) As I've been thinking about the project, it's been getting bigger and bigger in scope. May need to scale it back a little to fit in with the mood I want to set and the "themes" I want to cover. The events of the last couple of months have definitely colored that a little. I can't lie.

One piece of advice I got once from Mike's friend Carlton when I was working on one of his books (after Mike stopped) has always stuck with me. I couldn't get motivated and was whining about it. Carlton told me, "The best way to get something done is to just do it. Just shut up about it, sit down...and DO IT." I think he was a little cross with me but I took it to heart and cranked out the book. It hasn't always worked for me but sometimes I hear those words in my head when I need it most and it's really come in handy.

todd said...

see, matt!

even the reknowned JEFF PARKER says that this happens all the time! and his comment about comics being a different medium is so true!
how many of us have to kick your ass to get you to see how talented your are...?!
dammit!

love,
todd

McGill said...

We could always kick other peoples asses to see make him see it that way as well...;)

Brian said...

Matt,

I really like the idea of a horror story for younger readers as I always appreciated that type of thing when I was a kid. Sounds like it has your creative juices flowing so you should run with it.

As Todd once told me when I was talking about a story idea, "You will write this." Best advice I ever got because it made me believe in myself and opened me up for an opportunity down the road. So even if this one doesn't work out, though I think it will, just sit down and start writing. Good things will happen.

Matt Wieringo said...

Heh. Knowing Todd is like being friends with Yoda. "There is no try."

Warren said...

I'm a little behind here, but I'm glad you're writing again. I love the character art and look forward to seeing the finished work!

As far as being in the process of writing something, only to discover that someone has already published something similar, well... I'm pretty sure that if you picked a random novel/graphic novel/movie script from the past year and stripped it down to its bare bones, you'd probably find a Shakespeare story at its core.

Brian said...

And when you strip down that Shakespearian work, you'll find a greek comedy or tragedy.