It's crazy to think that just over a year ago I would be spending a weekend cleaning up dog poop, dealing with angry clients and washing surgical instruments. A lot can change in a year. This past weekend my incredible work All Star Comics Melbourne organised a visit from award winning comic book writer and artist Becky Cloonan. For months beforehand I have been bouncing off walls so excited to meet writer of one of my favourite comics Gotham Academy.
On Friday as my boss drove off to pick up Becky from the airport my heart began to race. Every time I meet someone I admire my goofy goober skills go to the extreme. "Don't be weird" I kept repeating over to myself "Please for the love of Thor, do not be weird near Becky". Well... that was a fail.
When word arrived that Becky had entered the store my nerves got the better of me. I quickly announced that I needed to eat and ducked out the back for a bagel and cup of water. "This is it Cazz. Months of waiting and now you get to tell Becky how rad she is. You can do this."
With one final gulp of water I met my fate. Their she was, a smile spread across my bosses face when he saw me appear. "I'd like you to meet someone. Becky this is Cazz" He said nervously. I shook Becky's hand "Hi, I like your hair" She said smiling...... and then.... I said "Thanks, I like your work" Not too bad Cazz. Not to bad at all. Lets flash forward a few hours to the Becky Cloonan Master Class.
Everything was going so well. Becky talked all about her early self published work and how she broke into the comic book industry. It was fascinating to hear how many of the larger companies like DC and Marvel direct their artists to work. A strict schedule and process that must be followed with precision. Her love for independent publishing really shone through as Becky encouraged local creators to work together to create the best work they possibly can. And then..... oh no..... Cazz... Cazz put your hand down.
I felt my arm stretch up. I had a question and unfortunately no one was going to stop me from asking. My arm raised and lowered several times as nerves got the better of me. Then after confirming with the boss man that I was allowed to ask a question (kinda hoping he'd say no). I asked "Are you ever 100% happy with the work you've produced or do you feel a constant need to edit things after publishing". You did it Cazz. That was perfect....
oh no..... why is the room going black...
I'm going to faint. I am sitting up high on a stool at the back of the room. I hear nothing of Becky's answer as I begin to breath deeply. It's actually going to happen. I am going to faint in front of everyone. Then as quickly as it came, I was back in the room and Becky had moved on to the next question.
The evening went perfectly Becky shared her paneling process with us and asked for suggestions on what monsters to draw.... oh no........
"A HOT DOG IN A PARTY HAT"
It flew out of my mouth, yelling as if to part the red sea. The room erupted with laughter and Becky giggling a bit, moved on. Nice one Cazz.
The next day was the signing. I had made Becky a miniature ice cream cone necklace out of clay. The only way I felt I could fully express my feelings for her work. I waited all day for the lines to subside. Now was my chance. I wasn't sure if i'd get to talk to her before she left so I ran to the line. As I got to the table she smiled and let me rant about Gotham Academy and what a great role model she is. And then the wonderful Muhammad took an incredible picture of the two of us that I will cherish forever.
Overall the weekend was amazing. When I said my final goodbye to Becky on the Friday she even hugged me and all I could think was, is this a dream?
So much has changed this past 12 months. Everyday is so special and wonderful and I really want to thank you all for being there with me every step of this crazy adventure we call life. And a huge thank you to Muhammad I for taking so many rad pictures.
If you haven't read Gotham Academy I really could not recommend it more. A tale about the students of Gotham Academy. A prep school with magic and mystery around every corner. Trade 1 is out now so you should probably head down to your local store and grab one before it sells out.