Monday, April 04, 2005

Days of Wine and Tinfoil

On Saturday I went to see comic book writer Geoff Johns at a comic book store appearance in Muncie, Indiana, my hometown. Pretty big news in the nerd community, as in this great flyover country it’s not like we stumble upon John Byrne having a moolatte down at the corner coffee shop or John Romita Jr. buying canned goods at the ma and pa grocery. The last person I recall seeing in the flesh was John Ostrander lo so many years ago, at the outset of his great SUICIDE SQUAD run. Later I sold this autographed #1 issue and a bunch of other great stuff at a comic book shop in Wisconsin for food money, and have regretted it ever since.

But, hard-core comic book trivia fans may ask, what about SUPERMAN and X-MEN scribe Steven T. Seagle, who was an adjunct faculty at Ball State University right across a narrow sidewalk from your own humble office? True, and we shared a comic book store, and I would be writing about our long-lasting friendship based on mutual interests right now if I had ever had the good luck to meet him. Perhaps this could have happened in a happier, parallel universe, where I am not, as pointed out many times before, actually the Bizarro John Dalton, slaving away in a basement office while Mr. Seagle writes iconic characters like this.

I’m not sure how great a comic book writer’s life is, though. Several years ago I went up to Wizard World Con in Chicago to participate in the Marvel Comics talent search. You could submit a fill-in issue idea for either WOLVERINE or THOR, and I had started thinking about the aforementioned Mr. Seagle’s run on the late, lamented ALPHA FLIGHT, and how the book ended rather abruptly with a character named “Box” still a prisoner of a cultish villain group called the Zodiac. I thought Box’s wife, Diamond Lil, might recruit Wolverine to go rescue her husband, and so I wrote about it.

I went to the Marvel booth and stood in a long, long, long line, as the guy at the head of it was giving careful critiques to people’s portfolios. When I finally got to the front with my handful of script pages the guy took the pages and threw them in a previously unseen overflowing grocery bag of scripts at his feet, muttering a simple “thanks.” And my mouth snapped shut mid-pitch and I took my free comics and left.

Some time later Frank Tieri launches the new WEAPON X book, and the first thing that happens is the gang goes and rescues Box. And so it goes.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

1 comment:

Bill Cunningham said...

Gee John, you're as big a geek as I thought!

Welcome to the club!

I will definitely have to bring my camera to San Diego...