The Art of Will Conrad: The Cherry on my Office Sundae
In my home office, that I primarily use for writing, I have been trying to surround myself with things that I enjoy (obviously) as well as inspire me and get me excited creatively.
At the center of my desk is a replica of LeMarchand’s box, better known as Pinhead’s Hellraiser box, and I have many other autographed Clive Barker pieces smattered about.
Also on my walls are several autographed sketches and inkings from various comic book artists I’ve collected over the years, two of my favorites are from John Romita JR, and Ron Garney. I also have a unique photograph of a Stormtrooper drinking beer in the Cantina Bar on Tatooine from the http://www.thesecretlifeoftoys.com.
However, there was a giant space right above my desk. For about 1 year I waited and searched for just the right piece and finally I found it in the art of Will Conrad (many examples of which can be found at http://www.willconradart.com).
I won’t get into MR. Conrad’s bio other than to say I love his stuff and I finally found what I was looking for in Wolverine Origins #38 page 13, a 1/2 page splash of Wolverine stabbing his son Daken. Cool stuff. I had it framed with the actual comic cover and page. It came out pretty nice.
Meeting Larry Hama (and many other amazing talents)
It’s always a pleasure when you meet someone your a fan of, or admire, and they turn out to be a geniuinely great person. Many creative people that are successful can be arrogant and treat you like a bother when you take the time to meet them.
I won’t mention the individuals who have been less than receptive over the years, but I can mention those I admire who have been quite accommodating and inspiring.
Clive Barker was extremely nice. He took a lot of time to answer all my questions and seemed more than pleased that I was a fan. He also signed a ton of material I had with me, as well as promotional material he had with him. He was very down to earth.
Neil Gaiman was an intriguing guy. I had to get a ticket, wait in line and ride some elevator to some secret room to meet him if I remember correctly. We talked a bit about his creation Sandman and he drew a little picture on the cover and signed my copy of Sandman #1. He also took a lot of time to chat and didn’t make me feel rushed at all. Cool guy.
Ron Garney is a very talented comic book artist. When I met him my kids were both under 2 years old. I was waiting on line for about 30 minutes in my comic store at the time, “A Timeless Journey”, when my kids had a meltdown. My informed me in no uncertain terms that it was time to leave. Ron saw I had to split and offered to draw me something and leave it with the store’s owner. When I came back in a few days I was more than surprised to see the detailed drawing of Spider-Man he left for me. He even inked it! He made me a fan for life.
At a comic convention I was waiting to meet one of my favorite all-time artists John Romita, Jr. Long story short there was a mix-up and I waited on the wrong line for a while along wit a bunch of other fans. When he found out he was very apologetic (even though it was not his fault) and banged out a quick Spider-Man sketch for me that now hangs in my office.
Another author I happen to know if Jeffrey Ford. The man is genuinely friendly and has been more than helpful to me for years when I took his Creative Writing class. He has gone out of his way on numerous occassions to mentor me and help me out. He’s one of m all-time favorites. Talented author who’s an even better person.
Lastly, as seen in the picture above, is Larry Hama. He is way more talented than most people realize and if you took a look at his career I think you would be amazed. What I remember him most for was his his tremendous run on G.I. Joe. His run was nothing short of epic and what he did with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow was amazing. The mystery and suspense that he architected around those 2 characters was nothing short of awesome. The issue you see in the pic I gave to my son, but I had him sign copy of “Silent Interlude”, which was the issue of G.I. Joe with no words (a very cool issue), for me. He also signed a copy of Wolverine for me, for which I even have a greater fondness for. I grew up on his run of my favorite mutant and that’s what we talked about. He told me that the idea to give Logan bone claws when his adamantium was sucked from his body was not something he wanted to do and it turned out to be somewhat of a Marvel controversy. The X-Men summit was split 50/50 on whether to give him bone claws, but after 3 days of arguing he finally agreed. I told him for what it’s worth, he pulled it off quite well and I loved it.
Art Machine: Jason Hite
I stumbled across the work of Jason A. Hite on the internet. This guy is making some way cool stuff, as a sculpter extraordinaire. His work is like Clive Barker, MC Escher, and HR Giger got together and had some sort of magical lovechild.
I love his stuff, if only had the cash I would populate my office with his craft s I find it rather inspirational. Rather than me blather on about his creations take a look for yourself:
I now have three favorite books.
‘The Great and Secret Show” by Clive Barker is my personal benchmark for horror and horror mythology.
“The Physiognomy” by Jeffrey Ford is, for me, the perfect blend of weirdness and dark fantasy. This book changed the way I think about writing.
“Lullaby” by Chuck Palahniuk was also brilliant. The themes of life, death, construction and deconstruction (among others) was threaded perfectly throughout the story. One thing I LOVED is that Palahniuk is twisted but not in a gratuitous manner whatsoever. Are all Palahniuk’s books this great? I can’t wait to find out. Oh, and if you know the proper way to pronounce his last name let me know.
What I’m Reading Now
There are a ton of stories in this collection of zombie stories. I’m not much of a critic and I respect anyone who’s gotten published. Anyway, here is what I think about what I’ve read so far:
Malthusian’s Zombie by Jeffrey Ford. Great story and quite different from the other stories I’ve read so far in this book. As always Jeff writes beautifully.
This Years Class Picture by Dan Simmons. My favorite story in the book so far. I’m just discovering Simmons and I look forward to reading more of his work. I hear “Drood” is awesome.
Sex, Death an Starshine by Clive Barker. Clive is my favorite. If it wasn’t for him I may not be a reader or the wanna-be writer I am today. This story is old school Barker.
Death and Suffrage by Dale Bailey. Well written but kind off dragged for me.
Bitter Grounds by Neil Gaiman. Beautifully written but I didn’t get it. I need to read this one again. I love Gaiman. If I ever meet him again I’ll be sure to ask him what he was thinking about when he wrote it.
Some Zombie Contingency Plans by Kelly Link. Entertaining but I have no idea what the point was.
Those Who Seek Forgiveness by Laurell K. Hamilton. I don’t have much to say about this one. It was pretty good.
Ghost Dance by Sherman Alexie. I like the way Alexie writes and enjoyed this story.