web stats

CSBG Archive

Mike Norton on “Seven People I Hate”

If you read enough DC and Marvel comic books, you’ll eventually find a book that Mike Norton has worked on, as he has drawn a number of different titles for DC and Marvel, most prominently Runaways, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and his current fill-in arc on The All-New Atom. Mike was the artist for Sean McKeever’s Gravity, and will be drawing Tim Seeley’s Loaded Bible 2: Blood of Christ for Image. Here is a link to Mike’s blog.

Seven People I Hate.

Since I started drawing comics in 1997, I’ve met a LOT of talented people through various collaborations, conventions and random run-ins/knife fights. Over the years, I’ve watched as many of these friends of mine have gone from grubby indy startups to “overnight” success stories and even mainstream fan-favorites. So, when I was asked to write a column for this fine site, I decided reflect upon all those talented friends I’ve made over the years and finally let something off my chest.

I hate them.

I mean, not in a “I-detest-you-with-the-fury-of-a-thousand-suns” kinda of way… More of a “I’m-a-very-petty-insecure-person-and-wish-you’d-have-an-accident-that-prevents-you-from-being-so-awesome” kind of hate. I can’t help it.

Take for instance, Jason Alexander. Not the Seinfeld guy… that guy that draws The Escapists for Dark Horse Comics. I used to share an apartment with Jason back when he was aping old Todd McFarlane Spider-Man pages and sporting a gravity defying mohawk. Those days, we would work at our tables until the wee hours and talk about how cool it would be to draw comics for money some day. Since then, Jason has made evolutionary leaps in his artwork. It’s sickening. He’d never heard of Gustav Klimt or Egon Schiele when we first met, but now he’s become an accomplished painter. PAINTING? When’d he learn how to paint? How dare he! He’s enjoyed much success collaborating with pal, Kent Williams on projects in both comics and film as well as his own fantastic comic work on Queen and Country and The Escapists. It chills me to bone see how far he’s come in 10 years. Obviously, I hate him for this.

There’s Tony Moore who I met years ago at a convention when he was hanging out at the booth right next to the newly formed Devil’s Due Productions. He was pushing a book called Battle Pope with some guy named Robert Kirkman (whatever happened to that guy?). Years later, when I saw The Walking Dead, I couldn’t believe it was the same artist! Mostly because he was wearing that ridiculous cowboy hat (See? There I go with the pettiness. In truth, I’m just jealous that I cannot pull off such a look). Seriously though, his line work became more economical, but no less exciting or expressive… and he also was showing off his fancy new computer coloring skills. Where does he get off with that? I’ve attended conventions and sat next to Tony’s table a couple of times. I like to try and look out over artist alley through the line of people queued up in front of my table that is actually for him. Why WOULDN’T you hate this guy?

And speaking of goons, how about Eric Powell. I’ve known Eric as long as I’ve been working. He lives on a scrapheap in outskirts of Nashville, TN. It wasn’t Eric’s awesome artwork (that jerk can paint too… jeez!) that made me come to hate him, but his awesome sense of humor. Anybody who has picked up a copy of The Goon from Dark Horse knows this already, but I had no idea. See, Eric’s kind of a quiet guy, and so am I. Most of our conversations consisted of us just staring at each other until finally one of us felt uncomfortable enough to leave. Since those days long ago when we’d attend one-day comic shows at the Ramada Inn, Eric’s worked for pretty much every comic company ever. His book was mentioned on ER ( What the HELL, dude? HATE!), and he’s won like 34 Eisners. Even though I hate him, I like to pretend he named Norton’s Bar in The Goon after me.

Let’s talk about Jeremy Haun. I don’t want to, but since this about people I hate, I should bring him up. When I first met Jeremy, playing guitar for change in a subway station entrance… Okay, that never happened, but I don’t remember meeting Jeremy so work with me. Since those fictional subway days Jeremy’s gone from indy to indy book, each better than the last. Why couldn’t he just stay the same? No, he had to get better and better. Now he’s doing Civil War Tie-Ins and such. Jeremy’s a genuinely nice person and it’s hard to find something to actually hate about him… AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES ME HATE HIM.

There’s a special spot in my hate for Josh Blaylock. When I ran into him at convention after convention so long ago, I had no idea he was going to become the comic book businessmeister he’s grown into today. This guy drew a book about PENGUINS for crying out loud! I think my exact words when he told me he had purchased the rights to G.I.JOE was “Wow, you’re not as dumb as you look”. Now he’s been running his own company with actual employees (I was one of ‘em, for Pete’s sake!) and stuff. There isn’t a shade of green appropriate for the jealousy I feel for this man and his trendy haircut. He’s actually built a little empire out of a dream and some credit cards. Somebody should write a book about this guy. He is smart, and I am not. For this, I hate Josh Blaylock.

J. Torres came up to me at a Wizard World Chicago show many years ago. I knew him as “that Canadian dude that wrote the Copybook Tales”. We’ve collaborated a few times over the years on books like Jason and the Argobots and Teen Titans Go. Although he has been like a big brother offering wisdom and guidance many times to me over the years, I still hate him. This guy works on more projects than humanly possible. He’s not just satisfied with comics either, he’s gotta write for cartoons and stuff when he’s not hanging out with actors from Degrassi Jr. High. Why can’t I write for a cartoon? Huh, Huh? Some may point to my lack of ability. I prefer to blame J. Torres.

Speaking of brothers, I have to bring up Sean McKeever. Sean and I go wwaaaay back. He IS like a brother to me. Unfortunately I already have a brother AND I HATE HIM TOO. Sean’s gone from writing depressing stories about teens standing in the snow in The Waiting Place (drawn by me!) to Marvel cult favorite on books like Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. Now, he’s working exclusively for DC. Man, why can’t I know anybody that just wants to sit on the couch and watch People’s Court all day? When I go to visit McKeever’s stately manor, I swear he likes to leave out his copies of Scientific American and various Alegebra books just to brag. I HATE SMART PEOPLE. This is because I can’t read.

And since we’re discussing illiterates, let’s finally mention Tim Seeley. When I first started working at Devil’s Due Publishing, I saw a photocopy of some characters drawn by Tim. I demanded to know who the artist was, because even then his work was too good. When I found out he was moving down from the ice fishing tip-up he called home in northern Wisconsin to work at DDP, I immediately consulted the local voodoo priestess to find out how I could drive this guy out of Dodge. Alas, my efforts failed and Tim’s not only managed to stay gainfully employed at Devil’s Due, but he’s flourished. Ideas come out of this guy like a leaky toilet. It’s ridiculous. He’s a fan-favorite artist with G.I.JOE and Forgotten Realms under his belt and now Rogue Pictures making a movie out of his personal creation, Hack/Slash. I gotta get a better Voodoo priestess.

I have to stop there. Dwelling on all this hate just simply isn’t healthy. Ten years of dealing with so many talented people has only built my own insecurities in to full-on paranoia that I’m seeing a team of 12 shrinks about. I’ve told many on this list several times that I’d rather they experiment with drawing with their feet or writing stories using only the “L” and “Q” keys on the computer keyboard. They almost always snicker and reply with a “Aw Mike, you so crazy”. This makes me want to punch them in the brain. However, such behavior is frowned upon and usually just slink off to my studio/den of jealousy. Some would say I’m lucky to have swam in such circles, but my scheming, rodent-like brain can only see how my life would be so much easier if I was the only guy that made comic books. Seriously, is that too much to ask?

25 Comments

I’ve heard Mike on his own podcast, Crankast, and others. I know he hates more than only seven people.

If it makes you feel any better. I’m sure there are plenty of people who hate you too. Plenty of hate to go around.

keith cunningham

February 6, 2007 at 12:34 pm

I think we all sort of hate Mike, deep down in our special places.

I don’t know, I think a Norton/McKeever cage match could be kind of fun to watch… :)

You know who I hate – Mike Norton. Why? Because he won’t respond to our emails about setting up a signing for him at my comic book store.

“I don’t know, I think a Norton/McKeever cage match could be kind of fun to watch…”

Ten bucks on the wookie.

Eric Powell is a right funny bastard outside the four panels. I can attest to this from personal recollections at various Nashville Comic Shows.

In fact my highlight of the one last October was watching Eric and Dwight Albatross assigning professional sport team mascot status to various 501st “Bounty Hunters”. (Each one was just Boba Fett in a different color/trim.)
I still fear the Carolina Panthers bounty hunter….

It wasv ery unclear from this writing that it was intended as a humor piece for sarcasm. Also, the author needs some editorial assistence DESPERITELY soon, which I would strongly advise as a complete necessary for his success as a write.r Good ‘voice’ (or P.O.V./Point Of View for the non-technical industry outsiders) though so credit on that.

AS for the rest, none of them hold a candle to John Byrne or Rich Buckler. It is not surprising at all that a young comic professional wouldn’t know much beyond his own sphere of understandable people. ADVICE FOR MIKE NORTON: Brush up on your comic art knowledge and you will succeed very far in this cuthtorat industry.

Zoombaboom Babies!

Dwight R. Vlahos

OK. I love Mike again now. See you in May!

Hey, Dwight Vlahos…did you reall just namecheck Rich Buckler?

Rich Buckler??

Heh.

Mike Norton, I will always love you.

-BCM

Pretty funny to see someone criticize anyone’s writing using ‘words’ like “DESPERITELY”, “write.r” and “cuthtorat”. Who’s ‘DESPERITELY’ in need of editorial again?

Also, it was pretty obviously ‘humor for sarcasm’ from my ‘POV’. I thought it was pretty funny.

“a humor piece for sarcasm.”

…..what a completely bizarre phrase. Also, your blog makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, so…y’know….stones in glass houses and all that.

Yeah, Mike Norton! You give ‘em what for!

“I’ve heard Mike on his own podcast, Crankast, and others. I know he hates more than only seven people.”

Yes, but Mike would need an entire website dedicated to listing them, not just this article.

I still hate Mike.

dot com

crank!

Woo! Dwight is back! Now maybe comics can get good again.

I didn’t click the link for Dwight’s blog when I first read his comment, but as soon as I read a later commenter saying “your blog makes no sense” in reply to it, I felt COMPELLED to check it out.
What’s up with that?

Regarding Dwight, I’m just glad to finally get some sound advice on how to “succeed very far” in comics.

No one else seems to know how to succeed as far as I want to. You knuckleheads may be content succeeding only so far, but I want to succeed VERY far indeed. Maybe even VERY VERY far.

And I liked GRAVITY, Mike. I haven’t seen enough of your other work to know if I hate you or not.

Though you can be sure that if I do, I’ll hate you very far. Farther than you’ve ever been hated before.

I really enjoyed Mike’s work on the Marvel Adventure. Kids deserve great art too. Mike is spot on about Jason Sean Alexander. Jason is so talented. I was able to sell many sets of Damn Nation just based upon the incredible painted cover art. Awesome stuff in IDW’s Swallow (one of the reason it sold out). He is a really cool guy to meet in person.

Jason’s work is available this week in Dark Horse’s The Secret, so buy a copy. And show SpazDog Comics some love if you are in Phoenix, AZ.

Shawn

“I didn’t click the link for Dwight’s blog when I first read his comment, but as soon as I read a later commenter saying “your blog makes no sense” in reply to it, I felt COMPELLED to check it out.
What’s up with that?”

….my awesome mind control powers?

Funny article, but it’s even funnier when you re-read it replacing the word “hate” with “teabag.”

choooom – you are welcome, I am more than glad and willingly help young people like you or the mike norton and others to succeed with whatever mind thoughts I can offer and do so willingly! Comics are getting gooder again with adult themes, and hopefully this can trend can continue to fight bad comics like the new Shasam mini from DC.

MarkAndrew – We will fight the good fight and get peple to take this all more seriously to get serious good comics! BRING BACK DEATHLOK!

You’re preaching to the choir here. I remember meeting you, Leanne, and Jason in the artist alley at SDCC many years ago. I was blown away by all three of you, and still am! Empty Zone was the first book I read that made me want to seriously draw for a living. It hasn’t happened for me yet, but I’m on my way. When I’m not running my comic shop, I’m hunched over the table getting ink fingers. You guys, however, all got big. I knew it would happen, but I still hate you. You suck…in a good way. Keep working that magic!

Oh yeah, since you’re handing out signings, you want to come to my shop? :) I just had to ask.

I know Dwight R. Vlahos.

Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand
out. Please let me know where you got your theme.
Bless you

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives