Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The hidden buddhas

So many updates! First off, John's in Chicago, which is really great. It's lovely to see him, and getting to spend loads of time with him is giving me a lot of much needed insight into his brain, character, and life.

We did the Chicago Comics Symposium, and then the Chicago Zinefest -- where a super sweet guy mistook me for John, told me he was a huge fan and totally made my day. We sold a crap load of comics, and I got some GREAT footage of John P. in action - wheelin' & dealin', stealin' hearts and crackin' skulls. Well, sort of.

Took the day off on Sunday to run 10 kilometers (a first) in honor of my birthday which is today (bizarrely the same as John's dad). Yesterday was a FEST of interviews and talking to really neat people, and hearing great stories. I drove out to Dekalb, where John went to college, and met up with him. He took me on a tour of the city/town, including the old house where he and his buddies would host keggers and play music.

Then the fun began. We drove to Fred H.'s house for an interview. Fred grew up with John, turned him on to R.E.M., shared a love of comics and mischief making. I haven't transferred the tape, but the funniest story was them submitting a copy of The Replacements 'Hootenanny' as their 'demo tape' to the battle of the homecoming bands committee, and won a slot on the bill.

Fred's a really great guy who teaches high school, focusing on media and literature. He's that really cool teacher you had who helped, probably without knowing it, and it was great to meet him and his family.

Then we trucked it over to Al Stark's house. Al does drop dead beautiful block printing, and makes kites that are both beautiful AND functional. Al was the nicest, most unassuming guy, and after years of reading his letter to King Cat, I was nervous to chat with him. But he was gracious and friendly, and offered up stories and memories for the project. I highly recommend you truck it over to his site to check out his work.

Then, with precious little battery power, we headed to the woods to look up Frank Kurtz, the guy who owned the first shop to sell King Cat, and who John credits for getting him to actually think about doing KC as more than a hobby.

Frank was great. He won an Eisner award, fer crissakes, and the three of us just had a blast shooting the bull about all things comics for a good hour or more. The thing that kicked ass about Frank was his attitude towards making things -- he said that people would come into his shop and say, 'I've got this great idea for a Superman story', and he'd tell them, 'don't just talk about your idea, go do it, make it someone beside Superman so you can use the character, and then come see me'.

It was great to see John just enjoying sitting back to gab about dinosaur comics or whatever else came up. We left late and tired, but happy to have made the trip.

For the film, one of the best aspects of the day though, was just getting comfortable with John in the car. On this tour, we're going to be doing a lot of driving together, so good if we're able to feel really comfortable and open around each other.

On the tech side, I realize I've got about three hours of battery life, which means I need to either get more batteries, or find a car adapter.

We'll see!

I'll try to keep posting, but I've got a crazy busy week, and then it's off to Tennessee this weekend, so.......who knows. Cheers.

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