Tuesday, December 2, 2008

(Almost) Live, From New York

Courtesy of my buddy Mike Lynch, who blogged about it, here's a great "two-fer" YouTube video featuring the terrific Al Jaffee, whom I met at last year's Comic-Con in San Diego, and my editor, friend, and erstwhile house guest Charlie Kochman. It's strange: I know Charlie edits a lot of other books and handles a lot of other authors, but when I see something like this I somehow feel like he's two-timing me. Why he's not completely focused on me and my book every moment of the day is beyond me.

Anyway, in the video (which looks to have been recorded by an audience member at a recent bookstore appearance) Mr. Jaffee tells a great anecdote about how he came up with the "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" concept. Well worth 2 minutes 23 seconds.

My problem when I meet people like Mr. Jaffee at events like Comic-Con is that I'm never prepared. If I knew ahead of time I'd be introduced to an industry legend I'd look through some books, do a little homework, ready some insightful and incisive questions cutting to the heart of their work and creative process. With a bit of prep time, I could do a nice little interview. Instead I get about 0.3 seconds of warning and say stupid things they've heard from fanboys their entire careers. (I felt this especially when I met Jerry Robinson and didn't have the presence of mind to even mention his great book The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art, which was an absolute lifeline to me in my teenage years.)

Ah well. Mr. Jaffee (and Mr. Robinson) couldn't have been nicer to stupid-fanboy me anyway. That's another reason I love the old-school comics creators: I haven't met one yet with an ounce of arrogance or pretension. They seem genuinely grateful for the recognition and happy to acknowledge you as a peer even though you're not even close. Al Jaffee is one of the best.

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