My friend Mike Peterson, whose Comic Strip of the Day blog provides some of the most thoughtful non-snarky comic strip criticism around, alerted me to this longish report by Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon about his trip to moderate a panel at the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in Vermont.
It's an interesting piece about something I don't have any experience with but am honestly a bit dubious about: schools dedicated to teaching people how to make comics. In my mind, the best way to make good comics is to learn a lot of stuff and have a lot of life experience that has nothing at all to do with comics and then tell stories about that. But that's a post for another time and I don't mean to disparage the sincere, hard-working people of CCS.
Mike sent me the link because one of the people on Tom's panel was my friend and editor Charlie Kochman. I laughed out loud (really!) at Tom's one-line observation that "Charlie Kochman is a note-taker" because I could just imagine him pulling out his well-worn paper notepad and scribbling intently with the pen he keeps clipped to the third buttonhole of his shirt. It's one of the qualities I admire about him. Also, I was at the New York Comic-Con the day Jeff Kinney brought Charlie his proposal for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and can vouch that it happened just as Charlie said.
Mike didn't know that I'm also casually familiar with another of the panelists, agent Bernadette Baker-Baughman. Bernadette and her former partner Gretchen introduced themselves in the early days of Mom's Cancer and for a while seemed to pop up everywhere. She exemplified the maxim that a big part of success is just showing up. At the time, Bernadette's small agency didn't have much reputation or a large client list, but she was there, she was interested, she was hustling--obviously looking for work, but in a friendly, low-key way that I appreciated. I remembered her and we've corresponded once or twice. I don't have an agent and haven't felt the need for one yet, but if I ever did she's one of a few people I'd call.
Anyway, Tom's CCS report is a nice read--a bit "inside baseball," as Mike told me, but worth a look if that's the kind of thing you might like to look at. Thanks, Mike and Tom.