March 2011


Some years ago – I can’t remember exactly when, but it was probably at least fifteen years ago, maybe more – I was in an airplane headed in to land in Chicago.  The approach path was long and low, and so we spent what seemed like a long time flying over the suburbs on our way in to O’Hare.  From that viewpoint, you could see every house, and every yard, and every fence and barbeque – cars in driveways, toys in backyards, that sort of thing.  There were hundreds of houses, and from where I was sitting, they all looked basically identical.

It made me think about the difference in perspective – if you were in one of those houses, you couldn’t really see the houses next door because of the fences, and even the view across the street would only give you a few.  And if you decided not to look out the window at all, then you could at least occasionally feel that you and your family were the only people in the world.  Certainly, the idea that there are probably hundreds of thousands of homes just in Chicago alone, millions across the country, and billions across the world that are fundamentally similar in their makeup and aspirations – well, it’s unthinkable.  Not only is it hard to cognitively process, you don’t WANT to process it.  When you think that there are that many people all striving for the same thing you’re striving for – money, success, possibly fame, their piece of the pie, essentially – it’s overwhelming.  Defeating, really.  To function in modern society, we have to buy into a sort of polite fiction which ignores all of that.

So, back to this flight – when I was up in the air with all of these houses spread before me, it became impossible to ignore the truth that there are SO MANY DREAMS in the world – and every single person dreaming those dreams thinks they’re achievable, at least on some level.  Obviously, they aren’t (in full, anyway), whether because of lack of drive, luck, talent or some combination thereof, but it’s still amazing to think about.  On the plane, my filter from all of those dreams disappeared for a minute or two, and the the experience was almost assaultive.  I could just about feel the weight of it, and the idea of trying anything at all seemed just ridiculous.  (And yes, I realize that this post is also a bit ridiculous.)  The sensation passed, but I’ve never forgotten it.

Anyway, that’s what cons are sort of like these days.  Dreams everywhere, and it’s overwhelming, inspiring and sad, all at once.

Oh, speaking of cons, see you in Chicago this weekend for C2E2 – table F7!

NOTE: I’ll update this post with information on where I’ll be signing at ECCC over the next few days.  Right now, it looks like you’ll probably be able to find me at the Image booth, the SLG booth, and possibly the Cellar Door table from time to time.  I’ll also be updating Twitter through @charlessoule if you follow me (and perhaps that’s an incentive if you don’t!)  UPDATE 1: I’ll be signing at the Image booth from 5-6 PM on Friday, and other times as they get locked down.

I’ll be flying out to Seattle tomorrow for the Emerald City Comicon – very excited.  I’ve only attended this con once before, two years ago, just after Strongman Vol. 1 was released.  I had a fantastic time, not just because I have some family in Seattle, but because this con (which I’ll call ECCC to save on a bit of typing) is one of those great conventions focused on comics as opposed to movies, video games or other pop culture distractions.  I mean, I like that stuff as much as the next guy, but I’m going to talk books, see other people’s books, network, etc. and having the focus on comics is nice.  It draws a great crowd, too.

This will be my first con since 27 was released, and I’m really looking forward to getting out in front of people who have read it, and introducing it to people who haven’t.  I’ll have copies of all four issues, too – while #4 hasn’t hit stores yet, and won’t until March 9, I got my comp copies in the mail yesterday.  It’s fun to read the series again all the way through, in the way it was intended.  I haven’t really done that for ages, and it’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten some of the details.

I’ll probably also have some material from Strongman 2 (and I have it on good authority that Allen Gladfelter, the artist for the book, should have the last page of pencils – page 148 – available for me to see at the con.)  I couldn’t be prouder of Strongman 2, honestly.  It’s one of the strongest things I’ve ever done, in my opinion, and the rest of the team is bringing their A games as well.  I’ll be seeing the guys from SLG this weekend as well, and I should have some information on the release date soon.  The book will be completely done within the next 30 days, I think, so it shouldn’t be too long.

Depending on how the weekend goes, I may be able to make some more announcements, but some of that may need to wait for C2E2 in a few weeks in Chicago.  Big month for cons for me!

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