Thursday, October 15, 2009
I forgot to mention in my Baltimore recap that I had the pleasure of meeting a very nice lady named Emily who is a friend of inker extraordinaire, Nathan Massengill. Nathan introduced us in the lobby of the hotel and she asked if she could stop by the booth the next day and have me do a sketch card for her.
I’m usually uncomfortable doing that sort of thing because I feel like it’s a bit of a bait and switch. As I mentioned, I was at least twice mistaken for Mike this time around and I don’t want people thinking they’re ordering Classic Coke and getting Big K Cola instead. I’m not yet over feeling like an imposter sitting in Mike’s spot. It still feels like I’m keeping his seat warm for him until he gets back. It’s not a pleasant feeling and I’d give anything for him to be sitting there.
Still, I’m pretty sure Emily knew what she was getting and it was free so I agreed. This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she’d sent me a scan of the card through my Facebook account. I think she wanted a Deadpool (She’s apparently as enamoured with Deadpool as I am of Nova or Rom.) but I didn’t have any reference and the Choopie I started wasn’t working out. I realized I felt like drawing the Hulk and just did that. She seemed happy with it so there you are.
Not to be a big downer today but there was one more thing that happened in Baltimore that’s been gnawing at me for a few days. A lady was walking by with her fella and he’d noticed our scholarship banner. As he made to move over, she put out a hand and stopped him. She said something and all I caught was “...and it’s not even the school he went to.” He said, “Oh!” and they walked off.
That really took the wind out of my sails.
I’ve covered this before but it bears repeating. A lot of people have asked me why we chose to start the scholarship fund at S.C.A.D and not have it at VCU or at the Kubert school. Or even a free-floating award. Those are valid questions and Suzanne and I discussed them at length and sought advice from many of Mike’s best friends before we settled on S.C.A.D. Here’s why.
S.C.A.D. has a sequential art curriculum with actual comics pros teaching and speaking there. Mike had connections with the school in that the chairman of the Sequential Art Department was a member of Artamus Studios for a while and they’d discussed Mike becoming an instructor. And they had the machinery in place to handle the legal and financial gobbledigook Suzanne and I didn’t want to have to deal with. By making S.C.A.D the fund’s “home”, we avoided having to hire lawyers and accountants that would leave the fund completely broke and, thus, pointless.
Why not VCU or Kubert? VCU is a great school and a huge presence in Richmond where I live. It’s growing by leaps and bounds and is a much different place than when Mike and I attended. But it still doesn’t have a sequential art curriculum and, in fact, Mike was actively discouraged from working in comics when he was there. I’m not holding a grudge. It’s just a fact. They have a great art program (which I attended) and I highly recommend them. Just not for comics. As for the Kubert School, I guess I thought they had enough going for them having a living legend at the top. I wish them nothing but good things and wish I could afford to attend classes there. (Well, maybe fifteen years ago.) I just felt S.C.A.D. was a better “fit.”
I also get the sense that some people think Suze and I are in this for the money. Yikes. I can’t stress enough that every single penny that we bring in through donations and the sale of Mike’s original artwork goes directly to S.C.A.D. Suzanne and I spend quite a bit of our own money in travel expenses to go to these shows. Marc and Shelton have been incredibly generous to us but we do incur costs that come out of our pockets. Sometimes it costs us almost as much to go to a convention as we take in. Then, why do it?
Because it gets the word out about the fund, it gives us a conduit through which to distribute Mike’s artwork (which, as much as I’d like to keep it all, I cannot) and it keeps us connected to Mike’s world a little. I miss my brother very much and getting to see his/our friends and talk to Mike’s fans makes him seem a little less...gone. If that makes sense.
But, most importantly, we do it to honor Mike. This fund was born during a tear-filled conversation between Suzanne and me in Mike’s driveway back in August of 2007. We wanted to do something to express how much we love him and miss him. Mike often expressed a desire to teach, to share what he’d learned with others. Unfortunately, he can’t do that now. So, hopefully, in some small way, we’re helping him achieve that goal. If there are folks out there that disagree with that but still would like to do something to express their appreciation of Mike and his work, then I wholeheartedly suggest giving to the ASPCA or the HERO Initiative.
Okay, next time, not so glum.
Posted by Matt Wieringo at 10:06 AM