THE EMPTY SPACES #5: I wanna be a rebel, like everyone else...
A Psychodrama Spacefiller
By Bradly E. Peterson
This time around, it's all about me! Well, not exactly about me, but about the "me" in all of us. You know who I'm talking about. That'd be uh... You. heh...
It's about being an individual. Making your own place in the world... Making your own space in the world, and filling it as only YOU can do. Now, this is going to be a bit tricky, because to be honest, I'm not you. Duh. heh...
The things that make us different, for the most part, appear to also be the things used to divide us. Taken to extremes, this peculiar human tendancy to see what makes us different causes things like racism. But in its' proper place this tendancy allows us to notice and to CELEBRATE those differences.... To set apart rather than to separate. Big difference.
Some folks hear the music of a guy like Bassist Jaco Pastorus and think, "Jeez! That's weird..." because it doesn't sound like anything they're used to, and avoid it from that point on. Other folks hear the music of a guy like Bassist Jaco Pastorus and think, "Jeez! That's Weird!", because it doesn't sound like anything they're used to, and begin to seek it out. Same reation, sort of. heh... But this is also a testament to Jaco's music, and to the way he approached it as well... As an individual.
He'd look at the bass, and think, "well, why does it HAVE to be a bass? Why couldn't it just as well be something else entirely?". He would approach the instrument from a totally different perspective, thinking that perhaps it could serve the function of a saxophone, and he'd approach the thing like it were a sax, and resolve to prove that it was, by working to coax sax like sounds from it. He tried this many times, using the perspective of different musical instruments, even percussion... He succeeded at much if not all of these strange attempts. And they made him grow stronger as a musician, and they set him apart from the rest of the crowd.
In this fashion, we can resolve to re-difine the medium of visual storytelling, of drawing, of painting, of writing... of creating. Of being the "me" that is in each of us. Setting us apart from the rest of the crowd.
A long time ago, there was this guy wanted to do a new sort of character in comics, and wasn't exactly met with the full support of his boss. The character was a teenager, which was absurd because everyone knows that teenagers can't be heroes, they can only be sidekicks. And not a lot of people liked him, and he had personal problems, and even a fairly lousy attitude towards life, which is ridiculous because that's not at all heroic. The character name was all wrong, too. It was a horrible insect name, which of course brought to mind images of being creepy and crawly, and something you squish with your bedroom slipper. His boss told him, "Don't you know ANYTHING about heroes?" The guy, dropped the idea. Well, for awhile, anyway. He waited until there was a book that was going to get cancelled, at which point nobody cared what the heck went into it. He got the character into that book. It sold like crazy. The guy was Stan Lee, and the character was Spiderman, one of that company's best selling books, and one of their longest lasting characters. It broke the established rules, and set itself apart from the stuff that was happening at the time. It was the spirit of the individual that made it work. It worked BECAUSE it was different. It was fresh. It was something that hadn't been tried. And strangely, this sort of work became a standard of sorts for the stuff that came after it.
In a strange parallel, Jim Steranko did some stuff under the new Boss, Stan Lee, that was bold, daring andflew in the face of all convention... Stan had some problems with those stories, because they were different from the way they'd been doing stories. He said something to the effect that it wasn't at all like a Marvel comic, and didn't even look like a Marvel comic. This was, of course, the point. To stand apart from the rest of the crowd. Individual. That's what Stan hadn't realized... The rebel had finally BECOME the establishment that it once rebelled against.
These days, there is a movement of sorts that is trying to recapture the magic of those old stories, by re-creating them. Problem with that is, that part of what made the old stories magical was that they were fresh. They weren't re-treads of the same old thing. Now, at this point in time, they ARE the same old thing. See, those stories have been done already. What's the point in doing them all again? Well, the only real reason I can think of is that it's what is expected of them to do. The rebel has become the establishment. The hippies have cut their hair, and opened Starbucks franchises. heh... Y'know, all those Starbuck's look alike... Fine for selling latte, not so fine for other things.
"So, uh... There was this idea I was kicking around. It's uh... Well, I dunno how to describe it really. It's sorta... Differnt. uh... That's not a BAD thing, is it?"
Imagine this being said by the new guy in the company, to his boss. Y'know what's probably going to happen? Yeah, the idea will most likely get shot down, just like Stan's initial idea was shot down. But the problem is, he probably won't get the chance to ever get it out there. Not while he's working for the new boss, who of course is the same as the old boss. If all the hippies, cut off all their hair? I don't care. I don't care. Maybe, just maybe, Jimi was right. Maybe sometimes six does turn out to be nine, and maybe sometimes a bass isn't a bass, maybe it's a saxophone. But the guy who wants to try this concept out, isn't going to get it done by bucking the establishment, while working for it.
At this point in this long-established industry, being a rebel means NOT doing things the way they say it's GOT to be done. There are people trying to re-define the medium, yet again. It's simply evolution. You change or you wind up a dinosaur. You be different. You be you. You create what you create, and work to make it the very best that YOU can. You use whatever means you've got to get it out to the people. You do THAT, and you'll save the industry. You change, you grow, you beat the system. Fight the machine that eats itself. Slay the beast that eats its young. Be different. Stand apart. Do something else. Only YOU can be you, so you'd better start now, because after all... Who the hell else is gonna do your stuff? Nobody, baby. That's your job. Go do it.
NEXT TIME: save, save, save, delete, delete, delete...
(The contents of "The Empty Spaces" do not neccessarily reflect those of COMICON.com, it's managers, members, friends or relatives, and are solely those of Bradly E. Peterson, who is, quite frankly, a bit off. All contents are © 1998 Bradly E. Peterson, and should not be used without permission, but ask and ye shall recieve. He's easy, that guy. "The Empty Spaces" is a Psychodrama Press production, and let's just leave it at that.)
Bradly E. Peterson
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds"
Bradly E. PetersonPsychodrama Press
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds
(Albert Einstein) www.fastlane.net/homepages/drama/