Thursday, November 20, 2008

BOOKPLATES! Last call...

So, with November winding down towards the holidays, we're coming up on your LAST CHANCE to snag a signed TIGER!TIGER!TIGER! and original art bookplate! Again, there's no limit on these, the art is approximately 5" x 7", watercolor, and will more than likely appear in the next volume of TIGER!TIGER!TIGER!, as well. Pictured here are actual bookplates for copies shipping now. OFFER ENDS AT THE END OF NOVEMBER! Perfect for gifts, or a chance to own an original at a low price. $50 for the book and art, shipping included in the US, drop me a line at crazymorse *at* and I'll send you PAYPAL info (paypal payments only).


Unknown said...

these look awesome Scott. looking forward to receiving mine!

Josh Parpan said...

Wow, these are great!
It was very nice meeting you at ApeCon a few weeks ago, thanks again for the beautiful books!

William Bradford said...

I wish I could, but sadly APE drained my present finances. Really color choices, though.

Stephanie Buscema said...

These are beautiful!

Jed Alexander said...

It was good to see you at APE and Tiger Tiger looks terrific!

I think you really dramatically got across your feelings of anger and how you feel protective of your son, but I also think you were a little too hard that kid you saw as a threat. No matter how hard he might seem, he's just too young to be who you were making him out to be. He's still a kid. At 7, a kid isn't anywhere close to the person that he'll become.

You can't blame everything on the parents. These kids may have excellent parents who can't fully protect their kids from the drug and gang culture that's everywhere around them. Kid's pick up things from places you can't protect them from or anticipate that they'll have access too. Think of all the stuff you got into as a kid that your parents knew nothing about.

As you know it's really really hard to be a parent, even more so when you don't have access to all the advantages that you and I have. Inadequate child care, health care, a dangerous environment, all contribute to conditions that a parent has no control over. A single parent especially doesn't always have the best options when it comes to who will look after their kid when they can't.

And no matter how angry you may be at their children, no one deserves to be erased because they couldn't be the parents they would have liked to be. I know you probably didn't mean this literally, and it was more a reflection of how you were feeling than an actual desire, but it's a dangerous statement.

There are also genuinely bad parents in all economic situations. Many of them have no business being parents and raise children who do their own share of damage. I wish we could protect every kid from bad parents and dangerous adults in general, but what we CAN do is help the good ones provide their children with what they need: a safe environment, good health care, child care and education. In a nation as wealthy as ours, EVERYONE should have these things. Unfortunately, everyone doesn't.

All you can do is provide the best life you can for your kid within your own means. You have a lot to give your son. One of the things you can give him is the understanding that everyone doesn't have what he has, and that a single look or act doesn't define who someone might be.

Jed Alexander said...

By the way: I liked the book, and I like that you were able to be so candid. Though I didn't mind the anecdotal format instead of something with an overall story arc, it didn't feel quite complete. I would've liked more.

Also: the way you write characters reminds me a little of Wil Eisner. You tend to portray people as archetypes, and though there is nothing wrong with this approach, it has it's limitations. That's why this book was so interesting: the most developed and fully formed character that you've written so far (or at least that I've read) is you. In this story too, everyone else is painted as an archetype, even your son. It's the first time I've really seen you get into a character's head.

Eisner wrote characters using broad strokes of behavior. Melodramas using, as he often admitted, stereotypes. Here for the first time I think you've moved beyond that, and I'd love to see you continue in this vein, but the trick is getting into other people's heads as well. It's one of the most challenging things a writer can do. That doesn't necessarily mean through narration alone. You can do it through behavior and dialogue as well, but you have to pay attention to the small stuff.

There was a short story you wrote once about an older animator that I believe you looked up to. He relayed an anecdote about a TV show. There was a quant sort of innocence in the way he relayed the story, my guess is that it was based on a genuine memory, but in relaying this you ended up portraying him as a less complex character than he probably really was. You didn't really show us WHY you admired him. I imagine there was a lot more going on with him than you showed us--I think you were endeared by him, but that's not why you admired him. I think if you looked a little harder, you could find out what it was that made him who he was, beyond his knowledge about the difference between different kinds of trees, or an anecdote about his wife watching TV. We only see what you decide to show us. It's important, especially when portraying a real person, not necessarily to show us every detail about the person, but to show us the right details.

I think Tiger, Tiger was a major step in your development as a writer, and if you can show this level of depth in your portrayals of your other characters as well, you'll become a kick ass writer.

You say that you're in your head a lot. To do this kind of writing you need to get outside of your head, and to really get into other people's skin. What makes you interested in someone, admire someone, respect someone, beyond their endearing traits or their identity as archetypes?

Eisner was inspired by the muckrakers of the 20s and 30s--Eugene O'Neil, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Louis--these guys wanted to show the life of the common man.

There's a great movie by the Coen Brothers about this theme that you're probably familiar with called Barton Fink. One of the things they showed in this movie was how Fink was obsessed about this idea of portraying the common man and about the righteousness of his cause, but he wrote without actually knowing or listening to the people around him. John Goodman's character kept saying, "I could tell you some stories" but Fink kept interrupting him, not letting his speak. I'm not saying you're Barton Fink, just that this is the folly of these kinds of writers.

But some great writer's tended to live mostly in their heads: Kafka, Louis Caroll, Tolkien and many others. Maybe you're that kind of writer, rather than a more character oriented writer like Dan Clowes or Chris Ware. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just a different objective, but with different subject matter it's good to use different approaches.

Scott Morse said...

Thanks so much for your recent posts on TIGER!TIGER!TIGER! It seems like the book had an impact on you and I'm excited about all of your observations. The time you took to write your thoughts means a lot.

Rest assured I'm no fascist and the scene with the kid in the park was indeed written to reflect being "in the moment". As a father I find myself bursting with sudden irrational thoughts that are making for interesting story paths, this one included. I'm fully aware of the realities of families and different paths children are raised on, the varying circumstances in which people find themselves, and how this all affects the ways in which children are raised. As I struggle with these realities and how they affect me and my parenting, I'm finding my world becoming more and more complicated as I've got to look out for not only my children but others children as well sometimes, and how they interact. It's all very enlightening, and these threads find their way into my work, obviously. I'm trying to portray the process, and how I'm just as flawed as they people I'm critiquing in scenes like the one in the park. Perhaps in future volumes of TIGER! I can delve into how ill-perceived these sudden thoughts really can be.

You lump me in with some heavy hitters...Will Eisner, and the potential to sit alongside Clowes and Ware. I'm flattered, and I think you might be onto something with the inner workings of character. It's something I'm always at odds with, especially coming from an animation and film background in my day job, where character is very economic, delivered mostly as surface entertainment where plot is the major component. Most of my fiction work displays these tendancies and it's something I'm well aware of, as that work sometimes necessitates that sort of beast. With TIGER! I'm indeed trying to explore a new way or's the first time I've really used narration as a device, having always viewed it as a storytelling crutch. I'm finding it liberating in conveying deeper stratas of character. I'm also looking forward to extended visual moments with character in future stories, where I can visually, even silently, convey deeper thought processes, and hopefully not just with "me" (ie, the tiger).

Thanks again for all the time you've put into this particular work. It means the world, and it's reassuring that there's an audience out there really analyzing what they read as opposed to jumping on opinion bandwagons or critiquing out of insecurity.

Michael Paul Bowen said...

now i regret that i only check your blog every six weeks or so. oh well. beautiful stuff.