Just rolled into my hotel room, again at 3am-ish, just coming from the BD party… Edizioni BD being the Italian language publisher of SUPERMARKET. It was your standard bar-at-the-SDCC-Hyatt affair (albeit in the shadow, literally, of a 500 year-old cathedral), but I got to chat briefly with Gipi. Which is one of those things that you repeat to yourself in your head while it’s happening, because… is it really happening? Yes. Gipi. (I also had dinner and drinks with, among others, Massimo Carnevale aka God Of Comics Covers, but the impact of that is slightly less than with Gipi since Massimo and I know each other already). Also, I participated in a panel discussion on “reality in comics” with, among others, Bryan Talbot.
I was talking to a friend earlier today and made a joke about how maybe my career in Italy is going better than in America. I have four new books out in Italian, was an invited guest of Lucca Con, won an (Eisner-equivalent) award, seem well-liked by the professional community and my book DMZ is being exhibited. It was a joke and a pat on my own back, obviously, but I did spend some time thinking about the practical matters of moving to Lucca or Firenze, if only for a year. No where else on planet earth have I felt so welcomed, inspired, and moved by other human beings. Ciao bella Italia!
Every day for two hours I review portfolios, which is an editor’s job, but I am the closest person in Lucca to a representative of DC Comics, so the honor falls to me. It’s an odd two hours, working with a translator and trying to figure out how I give advice to these incredibly skilled artists who have half a dozen published albums in France who want to “break in” at DC. Talking to them is much more of an education for me than for them, I’m pretty positive.
I feel energized. I feel positive. This trip is the perfect balm to the last several weeks of horrible deadlines, endless (and pointless) online conversations/arguments about Vertigo sales numbers, stresses related to launching a new series, etc. Here there is no bullshit that I can see, no snark, no bad vibes, no rivalries. I come back to my hotel and my email with some work crap to solve that would have seen me, two weeks ago, having panic attacks but now I want to sit down and make it all work. Good vibes, man, can you dig it? I sure can…..
Two days left. I need to get up early tomorrow to have a couple hours to play tourist and walk the walls and take pics and buy gifts for my wife and daughter. Driving to Lucca on Wednesday with Riccardo, we passed some ancient Roman aqueducts, and I desperately wanted to stop and look. It may be the researcher in me talking, but the idea of 2200-year -old technology, amazing for its time (these works ran for kilometers and kilometers and the amount of incline, from its end point to its start, is in some cases only a couple of centimeters – think about that), and its something I can run my hands over, is very compelling. These churches in Lucca and Firenze have tombs with gravestones embedded in the floors, well worn from centuries of people walking over them, and I want to kneel and place my palms on the marble and think about the past.