Friday, January 05, 2018

Date of Note

January 4th, 1988. 

I walked off the elevator on the tenth floor of 387 Park Avenue South to my first day as the Antioch intern at the Epic division of Marvel Entertainment. I'd driven my 1974 (or was is 72?) mustard-colored Volvo station wagon through a blizzard from Ohio to New London, CT for New Year's. I had no windshield wipers, a manual choke, and only one headlight from when I'd hit a deer, but I made it, and then went down to Manhattan for my new job.

January 4th is thirty years ago today.

That’s a lotta years, for anyone still counting. There’s a lot of water under that bridge, a lot of people in and out of the door of the Big Two in comics. I don’t think anyone I met on Day One at Marvel is still there, though at least five of my colleagues (Harras, Chase, Chiarello, Gill, Lopez) are with me at DC. Heck, I can only think of six or seven people still at Marvel who were there on my LAST day.

I’ve edited, colored, written, and packaged for Marvel, Gemstone, Teshkeel, and DC in that time, with a side trip to Scholastic and a lot of side trips into my own writing. I traveled for 2001 and 2002 and did no comics work (even claimed I would never return to comics, which lasted until I realized writing paid even worse than anything I’d done up to that point, including working the salad bar at Roy Rogers), so while it’s been thirty years since my first day, I guess I have a mere 28 years under my belt.

I’m a little embarrassed that after three decades, I’m not in anyone’s masthead, not an executive with a title and parking space. But I realize too that no masthead would substitute for the job in Kuwait and Cairo, the two solo expeditions around the world (the second making comics from my laptop even behind Chinese firewalls in Tibet), the “residencies” I assigned myself in Mexico, Barcelona, Namibia, Uganda, Australia, Berlin, Cape Town, or the endless months fighting with my own manuscripts.

January 4th, 2001.

Sixteen years to the day I boarded the Amtrak at Penn Station in Manhattan to embark on my first trip around the world.

Maybe January 4th and I have a thing.

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