Should Auld Acquaintance Be

No, I don’t know where I’ve been in 2012. I mean it. I have almost no recall of last year other than being trapped, almost around the clock, in my home office working on design and advertising projects while the world passed by on CNN. Looking back over the year, I realized that, outside of working for other people, I’ve accomplished virtually nothing. This stuff is incredibly time consuming and leaves you creatively and intellectually exhausted, so the thought of coming up with some pithy blog post or, even more challenging, a comic book plot, becomes an extremely steep hill to climb. I was actually kind of shocked to finally get back over here to my own website and realize it’s been more than a year since I posted anything here, and at least as long since I’ve checked Jim’s Comic Book Life email over at the DigitalPriest account. The annual Holiday Dead Stop has afforded me a little time to pause and look around, so I’ll be making an effort to comb through what appears to be a 13-month backlog of email while updating this WordPress installation (which means this blog may come down for a while as I update and reinstall).

Presuming anybody’s actually paying attention anymore, I hope and pray you all had a great year. More important, I hope and pray for great things in the year to come. I’ll do my best to be here more  often (which is easy, if I show up even twice in 2013). And my apologies to what I’m sure are a great many people who’ve sent messages to my dead-letter office. Back to you soon.

—Priest

23 Comments

  1. You’ve not been forgotten.

    And it’s good to “hear” from you again.

  2. Eddie Hebert says:

    Happy New Year!

    Good to hear from you.
    I’ve been missing your perspective on the world.

    • priest says:

      And, see, this is the part that really scares me: why *anyone* would care about my perspective on, well, anything. I have to be among the most miserably sardonic and cynical people around. Every time I meet someone who is well-adjusted I shake my head, wondering what the hell is wrong with them.

      • Greener Grass Syndrome, perhaps. However you see each of the rest of us, some of us – I dare not say “all” – look on you as being better-adjusted than we are.

        I could be wrong, mind you.

      • Thad says:

        The same reason anyone ever needs a good satirist: at least when you point out everything that’s horribly wrong with the world, you can wring some humor out of it. Laughing at man to avoid crying for him, and so forth.

        That probably holds true for the fictional worlds in your comics work, too — while everybody else was being super-serious, you were pointing out the ridiculousness of the whole thing. While still dealing with some legitimately dark material.

  3. Craig says:

    I’m a long, long, long time fan of your work. Good to see you posting again.

  4. Thad says:

    Welcome back, Priest. Sorry to hear you don’t have Big Exciting News — but Lord knows I can relate to a year going by in something of a haze. (My 2012? I got laid off on my thirtieth birthday, and…that’s really the highlight reel right there.)

    Happy New Year. Take good care.

    • priest says:

      Thad: man, sorry to hear about that. What’s your trade? Maybe somebody trolling has a lead for you. I personally am thinking about starting a second career as a SkyCap at LaGuardia.

      • Thad says:

        IT — which itself is what I’ve wound up doing because I can’t get a good programming job (that’s what my degree’s in). I’ve been bouncing from temp job to temp job for the past 4 years or so, which is pretty common for the industry right now; it wasn’t exactly unexpected as I’d finished the job I was hired for, but the timing sure could have been better.

        But yeah, by all means, if anybody reading this has any good IT/programming leads in Phoenix metro, by all means feel free to share…

        Hanging in there, though. Have an interview on Monday, and I’ve been doing a bit of freelance work. Keeping busy; that’s what’s important. As for personal stuff, I’m getting married in two months, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in in years (down from a 36″ waist to 32″ — and I’ve been 36″ at least since high school), so I’m really pretty upbeat despite the job situation.

  5. Tez says:

    Yes, long time fans such as myself are still paying attention (and probably always will).

    I am finding your website VERY difficult to navigate, though. Everything looks good, graphically, but the pages just don’t link to each other in a manner I can intuitively grasp. But to be fair, maybe that is just my own technological ineptitude. Anyway, here’s hoping your 2013 is a lot more fulfilling than your 2012.

    Salaam.

    • priest says:

      Tez—no, you’re probably right. :-) The site navigation made sense when I built it, but who the heck knows. :-) I’ll have a look at it when I can. Thanks for the kind words.

  6. Peace and respect, Mr. Priest– 2013 and the world is still spinning! (shout out to the mayans..)

  7. Blade X says:

    Happy New Year Priest. I’m glad to see you back. Since you have been gone for a while, have you heard the recent sad news about Peter David suffering a mild stroke? He is currently recovering in a Florida Hospital and can use all the prayers and well wishes that people can give him.

  8. Dave Van Domelen says:

    Welcome back to the land of the unliving. Well, those with no lives, anyway. ;)

    I just have this page directly linked, but every few months I did poke at the main page to make sure you didn’t redo your webpage again and orphan your blog (which happened at least once that I can recall).

    Better busy than idle, let me tell you. I’ve been unemployed since August, and it’s getting on my nerves (and my work ethic). I did just have a phone interview with Colorado School of Mines, though, so there’s a small chance I could end up in your general vicinity. Well, closer than Kansas or Nebraska, at any rate. ;)

  9. Jp Pollard says:

    So glad to see Priest is back!

  10. Alex F says:

    We’re a highly loyal audience. When you write, we’ll be here. (Though it may take a while–like DVD, I only check every few months!)

    Hope all is well. Have an excellent 2013!

  11. John says:

    Well, it’s just great to hear that we might hear more from you this year. While I’m a fan of your comic works I was thinking that this past election season would have been the prime time to hear from you as it was strong with comedy yet primed for tragedy. Looking forward to the year and I hope you have a great one!

  12. Cthulhudrew says:

    Priest-

    Good to see you back; as others have noted, you have certainly not been forgotten, though you have most definitely been missed. Hope 2013 finds you rediscovering that creative spark, in whatever form it manifests.

    Thank you for all the entertainment and the insight.

    A fan.

  13. Mark Hale says:

    I check in here every month or so and am glad to see you’re still among the living.

    I still pass along the link to your OSWALD essay when anyone brings up Shooter, Spider-Man, or black comics writers/editors.

    Do you know about the recent MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY? I hesitate to ask if you were contacted for any interview because i probably already know the answer. (I haven’t read it yet but i keep forgetting to ask my friends who have if you come up.)

    And best wishes for your new year, as well!

    • Priest says:

      Mark: Thanks for checking back here and sorry to be gone so long. I have no idea what THE UNTOLD STORY is. I suppose, if I wasn’t interviewed, it’s still untold. :-) I presume I’ve been retconned out of Marvel history, which only makes my point. Now, maybe I’m being retconned for being (a) Shooter’s protégé, (b) an a-hole (comes with being Shooter’s protégé), but much like the liberal pundits wringing their hands speculating why the GOP so personally hates President Obama, there’s an obvious cause and effect for whatever presumed blind spots may present themselves in Marvels’ self-congratulatory published histories.

      The fact their first black editorial hire didn’t occur until 1978 is and should be a source of some embarrassment. Pretending to be colorblind, “Oh, we never think of that, that shouldn’t matter, we call no attention to that,” just makes them idiots. The fact they never seem to mention the historic nature of Joe Quesada being, from what I can tell, the longest-serving EIC (call Guinness) AND the first Cuban American Marvel exec only makes the company seem racist, not post-racial. They seem like idiots to not trumpet the progressive nature of their hiring practices. Marie Severin was, to my knowledge, the first female art director. Where is she in their history? Louise (Weezie) Jones (ne-Simonson) was the very powerful editor of The Uncanny X-Men (well, she’d probably tell you she was not initially so powerful, but then the X-Men blew up). Were there female editors before Weezie?

      I understand trying to seem above it all or somehow beyond it all. Marvel just continues to seem racist and sexist and for no perceptible reason. They hired a black guy, they hired a woman, they hired a Cuban American. These are things to be proud of, not to live in denial of. What should embarrass them is that they are a company led, creatively, by a Cuban American yet their footprint in the Latino American community remains microscopic as they continue to invest virtually all their energy in, no offense, white males. Marvel was, by no means, a beacon of diversity but , to my recollection, they seemed largely indifferent toward race or gender. And, like Mad Men, whose Season One set looked almost *exactly* like the 1970′s Marvel offices, Marvel was a place of scurrilous racist and sexist jokes–along with fat jokes, bald jokes, ethnic jokes and so forth. It was a creative place jammed with creative people. I have no earthly idea why every history I’ve read of the place–most especially every self-generated, self-congratulatory history–refuses to put these important industry milestones on the map.

      The late Morrie Kuramoto openly mocked whites of all ethnicities and celebrated December 7th every year. Offensive? You bet. But hilarious. The Marvel I recall was a lot like the old sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. Powerful women in charge of important stuff, a sprinkling of minorities and a diversity among white ethnicities. And every history I read seems to ignore this, which makes Marvel seem like DC, which it never was. Marvel should be proud of Morrie, of Marie, of Larry Hama, Jim Owsley, and, yes, Jim Shooter– Polish, who took a lot of ribbing for that. And the historic nature of Joe Quesada’s epic run should be a source of pride.

      As I said, I have no idea what The Untold Story is, but I wish somebody would write a history that does not embarrass Marvel by the repeated omission of the good Marvel (ne-Stan Lee, ne-Jim Shooter) did by creating opportunities for all persons, regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual preference. The only caveat being, back in those days, you needed thick skin. Nobody really cared much what color you were or what gender you preferred or if you had a full head of hair. But everything was fair game for ribald mockery.

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