Thursday, April 22, 2010

Escape Plan.

Escape Plan. (Room #3)

comic book wall. 2010.

Escape Plan.

Three more hours. Thirteen more sketches. Opportunity of a lifetime. Re-creating a master’s work. Unfinished. All of it’s pure garbage. I can‘t even manage to finish a single panel. Loren is going to call at 5 am and demand that I fax over the final copy.

My eyes are fighting to remain open. The walls don’t even speak to me. Wall to wall the greats look down upon my inadequacy.

Half a dozen panels left. Half a dozen times I’ve pushed back my deadline. Loren won’t be pleased if I try to back out of this again. My head is pounding and I can’t think. Too many distractions over nothing at all.

Sitting back in my chair, I lean my head upwards and stare at the ceiling. Pills don’t alleviate the pressure at the front of my head.

Frustrated I get up, tossing the chair as I cross the room. The dizziness of the movement sends me spinning. Rubbing my face releases the tired muscles into a state of familiar ease.

The old heater unit kicks in and a wave of cool air rushes through the room creating a disturbance of sound.

My movements become slower and more thought provoked as my mind attempts to concentrate on the next panel. Right arm stretches downward to grab my left ankle. Resting my foot on my leg I stretch into a Tree position. Focusing on my breathing I close my eyes and try to let go of the moment.

“That’s not how my face looks.” A powerful yet irritated female voice jumps out into the silence.

Open pops my eyes. Down falls my leg. Nothing. Back into my Tree pose.

Just when I’m about to close my eyes… “Seriously! You didn’t even bother to draw my good side. I’m not even getting started on the hair until you fix my face.”

“WHAAT THE FU-U!?” Words come out tangled like my left leg caught in my right as I spill out onto the floor.

“Well? What are you waiting for? Get up off your ass and come fix this.” The boisterous female voice dictates out into the room.

Sitting upward, I watch the four walls and rub my head. As much as I don’t want to say the words, out they pour like gravy. “Who said that?” Silence.

Dumbfounded I manage back onto my feet and walk over to the desk. The unfinished panels are just as I left them. Frustration sends me spinning. I reach down to start erasing the left arm.

Before I’m able to reach the left shoulder, “Look, that arm isn’t the problem. Pay attention. My face is off. The right side is a little shifted. I’m asymmetrical.”

“WHOA! Who? What?” I quickly spin around.

“You are really thick! No wonder you’re behind on schedule.” The bossy female voice scolds me. “Look up.”

My head instantly tilts back until I’m facing the ceiling.

“Idiot. LOWER!” Guides the irritated voice.

There’s an aggravated woman standing in front of me… Where? I stare puzzled into the expanse of color until it shifts.

World within a world. State within a state. Through the looking glass. A place I never saw before, right in front of my ignorant gaze. Movement and life dances across the covers of hundreds of comics.

“There you go! What took you so long? Now that I’ve got your attention, please fix my face.” Smiling out from the excess of images is a gun-toting beauty. Point blank shot with her black hair waving.

“You’re Domino.” My simple statement of observation had a slight undertone of questioning behind it.

“Yes, but not in that drawing. There, I’m Summer Allsana. Blonde. Blue-eyed. News woman extraordinaire. Incognito. And you’re getting my face wrong.”

“Oh let me…,” words scramble off my tongue while I nervously look for my eraser. “I can fix this line here and it should change everything.”

Steadily I pencil in the new line and shift the corner of her eye to higher point. Dazed for a moment I stop before placing the final touch on the side of her face.

“I hate to be a critic, but that isn’t right either. Look at my right profile. It doesn’t match the one in the panel.” The words spill out like tiny bullets aimed straight for my ego.

“Alright, give me another chance.” This came out sounding more like a frustrated lover after a rejection, than an artist discussing work with his muse. My pencil was mightier than my mouth and kept up the work diligently. Line after line followed by curve upon curve. The shape of her right now matched the image before me. “Well?”

“It’s no use. I’m still all wrong. You might as well be drawing Jean Grey. She doesn’t seem to mind when people get it wrong.”

“If you can do better, then by all means, go ahead! Why don’t you show me?” I toss the pencil across the desk and take a step backwards. Without a second thought I shrug and give the wall a taunting stare.

“If you insist.”

Movement on the wall seems to fall out of focus. Outward the length of her arms reaches forward, crossing the barrier between here and there. Pulling and trying to bring forth into the living world. Hands knocking aside paperwork as they claw at the surface of mahogany towards their freedom. Head emerges outward. Ebony hair shimmers in the small light of my lamp. Thick and flowing darkness cascades across my desk while her body rocks onto its side to grant movement to escaping legs. Finally coming to a rest before me, the ivory beauty shakes free her gorgeous black hair.

“Let me be of service.” Reaching down she grabs the fallen panels and hands them across to me. “Go on, take them.”

“Ok. Let’s start with the face. I’m not sure what I’m getting wrong.”

“See the line that starts at my chin and disappears behind my hairline. That’s not the correct angle. You’ll need to slightly curve it over to the left.”

Pencil in hand I begin the process of instruction from the subject. Lines slightly shift and give way to a new perspective. Panel after panel the images are reconstructed.

As the hours pass the critical eyes of my muse reveal more and more inadequacies. My hands worked to a tiresome frenzied state in an attempt for greatness. When it seems all hope is lost and that I may never understand the true work of a master, things seem to get interesting.

“We aren’t getting anywhere,” she pats a hand against my left shoulder, “If only I could show you.”

“What do you mean?” Spinning myself around I look up and into the face of my illogical company.

“There’s a chance, if you were willing,” she turns breaking eye contact. I can barely make out the blackened spot over her eye before she starts in, “If you were willing to…” Motioning to the empty page on the wall before us with her index finger. “Then I can show you.”

With an uneasy nod I swallow hard and shrug my shoulders.

“It’s the only way you’ll know.” With a wave of her hands, the wall comes to life. Thousands of tiny legs and arms reach outward inviting me in.

She places my hand into the opening on the empty page before me. “I’m not sure this is a good idea.” Once I’d said the words, it was too late. My arm was nearly swallowed whole, followed by the rest of my shoulder quickly disappearing into the void. Inch by foot pulled inward into the unknown.

Waking up in the opening of a wall to gaze out upon a world I once inhabited. A prison of the mirror. Hands and feet carry the lines of ink and clothing lacks the details of definition. On the outside I can see the ivory beauty glancing inward. The space between us seems more infinite than before. Patiently I wait for my tour guide to join me.

“Well, aren’t you coming in?”

“Actually, I’m not.” The dangerous muse stands on the flip side of the desk thumbing through the remaining panels. “I’m staying out here. You’re my escape plan.”


“Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. It’s one of you, for one of me.” She plays with her hair and exaggerates her smile. “Oh, what type of work shall I do? Decisions. What do you think? Icelandic supermodel? Or rouge missionary?”

“Are you kidding? LET ME OUT! What about my work?”

“Not to worry there’s still time. I’ll fax these over to Loren before I let myself out.”

“Thanks, I guess…”

“Hey don’t be like that. Maybe you’ll get lucky enough to catch a break out. Although I doubt anyone will be tempted to buy a comic about an ordinary man called Dave.” 

The story. Blame A-HA, for things jumping out - Not for romance. It’s not real. A modern day myth. Blame the Twilight Zone, for things coming to life. Blame the destruction of my hard drive, for things that are dead. Blame Patrick Nagel, for images that inspire - My perception of personal feminine beauty. Blame the writing, for imagined things criticizing me. Blame Science Fiction, for things that are impossible. Blame Me, for bad Yoga/Pilates in the way-too-early morning and sometimes these musings. HAHA. You like all that? Gotta keep a sense of humor. Actually THANK YOU to all those things/people and MORE! I’m no longer stuck and thankfully produced a handful of unexpected things because of that rut…Without having to resort to tying myself to a desk. KINKY!

The Room. The idea was inspired by Rob Zombie and one of my oldest friends. About ten years ago, while watching MTV cribs I spotted RZ touring his home. Inside there was a bathroom with a wall of old Noir comic books. I thought, “I would love, just LOVE to do that in someone’s house.” The old friend that is in comic books, well he used to give me them for reading on occasion. The books come from that stored collection. The desk is an antique and a recent gift. Someone heard about my dresser and thought I could use a desk. Voila! A comic book wall. Had a lot of fun on this one! The proper installation would require a few more inexpensive details. 5 hours to create. 15 minutes to destroy. This one was an instant favorite by my friends. It received a bit of praise and was shown around. Then there was possibility of work, which was my initial excitement to finish the FIVE. For now, there are SIX. Anyhoo! Enjoy the story! m.

** This is Domino. This is Jean Grey.

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