04/18/11. Couldn't pull the trigger.

So I've been thinking lately of selling some comics. I don't collect nearly as much as I used to, a few books a month is all.

That's really saying something since I started seriously collecting around 1987 when the first comic book store opened in town. At my height of collecting fever I bought dozens of comics each month. Before then I had to scour the racks at the corner supermarket and hope they had something other than Richie Rich. Stupid rich kid with his gold house and money mountain. What happened to money doesn't make you happy? He always seems REALLY happy to me! ...I digress.

I decided to do a dry run of sorts. Try it with a few comics I could live without but still valuable enough to be worth selling. I went through my collection and gathered about 30 books (Fantastic Four specifically) in high enough grade and old enough to be of interest and headed off to the friendly neighborhood collectible shop. After a quick look at the price guide of course!

I called ahead so the guy behind the counter was expecting me and I placed the books in front of him. The price guide value was about $1000 and in my head I had set a price of $400 in order to let them go. Comic book guy was suitably impressed with the condition and he countered with $300 as the highest he could go.

I thought about it. I really did. I thought about counter-countering with $350. I haven't looked at these books in probably 15 years except to replace the bag and boards. I really wouldn't notice they were gone.

But I would.

I'd have to reorganize the other comics to fill that empty space in the comic box. When I saw those books at conventions I'd think, "Yeah, that's the one I used to have but I sold it and I don't remember what I spent the money on."

I'm not ready. Not yet. I'm still a collector.

One thing this taught me is that I still like comic books. Not just the idea of comics but the physical comic itself. Flipping pages. And when they inevitably go the way of an all digital medium (they will have to sooner or later), I'll miss them.

But not these, these are mine.

05/18/10. A Book About Color gets distributed to school kids in Kenya. Read the story.

04/04/10.
Apparently you can lose weight with the Wii.

In December of 2009 I turned 40 years old and I always told myself that was the year I'd get in shape. Who would've thought it'd come up so soon, didn't I just graduate from art school? That was 1995!?! Are you sure? Damn!

So like a lot of people with the laptop,work at home, freelancer, snacker lifestyle, it had taken it's toll and by Christmas of 2009 I was 230 lbs. 230! Well into what the Wii considers "Obese". On a good day I'm five foot ten and much of that weight had gone to my gut. I know myself well enough to know I'm not getting a gym membership, ever. I needed an alternative I would actually do. Enter: the Wii. I've had one for a while but never gave it much credit as a weight loss tool till the Fit accessory came out for it and even then it took hitting 230 to get serious about losing some weight with it.

Since the first of the year I've made it a point to use my Wii Fit for at least a half hour to an hour every day, half hour earlier on, I'm up to about an hour now. I missed only one week during a convention trip (That's that upward tic anomaly at the beginning of March).

I took the first week to go through all the exercises and decide which ones gave me the best workout. (FYI, It takes some time to open up all the exercises and durations on the Fit. It'll only unlock 20 minutes of stepping once you've done the 10 minute one a number of times). I eventually settled on alternating between the 10 minute running in place and the 10 minute stepping exercises. Both of which seemed to offer the most movement.

Now a lap on "Wii island" is roughly 1.6 miles. I have no idea how that translates into real distance, my guess is not nearly that far, but that's the benchmark going forward. On my first lap ever I could barely finish without breathing hard and walking for a bit. The stepping was far easier, so easy in fact that I added two inch risers to the step and 5 pound weights to my wrists so I could do some curls while I was stepping. I figured the key was constant movement.

Improvement was surprisingly quick too. By the end of the first couple weeks I was easily finishing a complete lap and now I do 10 minutes of running in place 3 times in an hour for a total of 5-6 "Wii" miles everyday. Alternating each of those with 10 minutes of stepping and light weights. You won't sweat much the first 20 minutes but you will the last 20 minutes, trust me.

I also made a change in diet. I eat a lot of the same stuff, just less of it. I did cut out almost all soda and chips (the key being almost all), I drink a lot more water and I try to keep some fruit in the fridge for snacking.

There's nothing I can do with the Fit that I couldn't do on my own, I just never did. Why can I maintain an hour a day now with the Fit? Good question. I've done the low-carb thing before with decent results as well but the weight never stayed off once I went back to carbs. Maybe I'm finally motivated to make a change? Maybe all those years of playing Atari have finally paid off?

Regardless, this feels like I'm doing it the right way and it's something I can continue with going forward. Right now I've lost almost 25 pounds since January 1st and I'd like to lose 20 more by the end of summer (less than a pound a week, totally doable). I'm sure there'll be setbacks but if the overall trend is down and not up, I can live with it.

As long as the power doesn't go out.

Mark

03/24/10. Zazzle!
Finally broke away from Cafepress and opened a Zazzle storefront. Looks like they have better customization options and a decent variety of products. I'll be working over the next few weeks to update as many products as I can. Thanks!

01/28/10. A Book About Color.

Well look what was on my doorstep this morning! A Book About Color; A Clear and Simple Guide for Young Artists is my third book and available for pre-ordering. Due out in April.

09/15/09. New Facebook Fan Page.

I started a Facebook fan page for Mr.Oblivious. I'll be putting some behind the scene sketches and older work and maybe even a video or two there. Check it out!

08/01/09. Five Years at the SDCC.

This past July marked my fifth year as a small press exhibitor at the San Diego Comic-con. Small press, that’s the area in the back with all the home-made displays, backdrops jury-rigged with duct tape and lot’s of undiscovered talent.

Five years ago it was all a bit overwhelming. Hearing the stories of almost mythic crowds and not knowing what to expect was incredibly exciting. And yes, the crowds are immense though the con moves people around the show floor as best they can. That first year I ended up in the middle of an aisle, not the most desirable location (since someone would have to actually go down the aisle to see my table). Mostly, I was grateful to be there and that anyone stopped at all to look at my artwork, let alone buy someting given the incredible opportunities for distraction all around.

I learned a LOT that first year. Such as the must haves for exhibiting in the Small Press Pavilion: Tape, paper, markers, business cards and change, lot’s and lot’s of change, small bills preferably.

Over the next couple years I honed my table display, always trying to maximize a six foot space that seemed to shrink a little more each year. Sales steadily increased (I think in no small part to procuring a table at the end of the aisle and now being visible from three directions on a major traffic lane) and I had begun to greet returning customers, eager to see what was new each year and catch up on happenings between cons. That's really the best part of the show for me.

Even though I’m starting to feel like I’ve seen it all before, the same giant displays every year, the same T-shirt and toy venders. I’m even starting to recognize the people that come in the same costume every year! But it’s still exciting, I still get caught up in the hype of what the new big thing is, of catching a fleeting glimpse of my favorite cult personality, I doubt that will ever change, I’m a fanboy at heart.

The real change every year is in the small press area and I’m always surprised by the numbers of new faces there, the gems to be found. Next year, do me a favor, after you've enjoyed what the Marvel and DC booths have to offer, take a left at Legoland, past the X-box kiosk and swing through Small Press, you might be surprised by what you find.

Here’s to five more years.

Mark


Hey, guess what? A Book About Design (1 & 2) have been translated into Chinese! (Having already been translated into Portuguese. It's really interesting to see something I've done in a different language.