Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Podcatching: WTF - Robert Kirkman

What the fuck podcast

On the Robert Kirkman episode of Marc Maron's WTF Podcast, Marc talked about being late to the party and it was like listening to myself. He was talking about comics, but it's a mentality I've had for some time. Hipsters are always bragging about being into things "before they were cool." I've been that guy. There's something to be said for that. But I'm also the guy that famously said to a friend once, just a couple of years ago, that I thought I was finally ready to get into Outcast now that the hype had died down. But then again I'm not the type that will like something just because it's cool or just because it's not cool. Not just because I'm old enough to not give a fuck, either. I've always been pretty fine with liking what I like. But still, the whole thing about hype is that it can sometimes ruin a good thing for me if everyone is constantly going on about how great it is or it's something that becomes unavoidable in the mass culture, like Outcast was for a while. So, yeah, Marc talks about how it's better to be late to the party because if it's still going on, then it was probably a good party. Truth.

Walking Dead
Kirkman with his agent and manger.
So then Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead comes on and reminds me I haven't been reading the comic in far too long. I need to get back into it. I just have to find the time. I've heard and seen interviews with him before so I know he's funny, humble and amazingly down to earth. This interview demonstrated that in full force. I was surprised to learn that he didn't grow up watching horror movies and really only did so when he was in his 20s, which is what lead to his creating The Walking Dead. I guess I always figured he was a huge horror buff, but now that I think of it, it kind of makes sense, since his approach to explore the humanity more than the "horror" aspects.

But it was really near the end of his interview that it really hit me why these are two guys that every kid that wants to be an artist of any kind needs to listen to. They talked about how Kirkman, when he was struggling to get his career going, would just lay on the ground and shake because he was so deep in debt and had no way to get out. He had made a decision at some point to pursue this dream of being a writer. And yeah, he finally made it and it more than just "worked out" for him. But he also very clearly said that if he had to do it again he probably would not and would just go work in a bank or whatever. That he really truly just got lucky and it didn't have to go that way at all. And Marc seconded that. That message is so refreshing.

walking dead 100
They're not walking now!
Our culture is obsessed with romanticizing struggle. We love the myth of the starving artist paying dues and emerging because of perseverance and talent. But the reality is that shit is crazy and for every success story you can think of there are thousands and thousands that were maybe more talented and also never gave up, but still got nowhere. Yet if someone were to stop and go the more conventional way in life, they'd be labeled a quitter or whatever. That's not even remotely fair. Sometimes you just have to know when enough is enough and that choice is up to the individual. There should be no shame in one or glory in the other. The glory for Robert Kirkman isn't that he struggled, it's that he's damn good. It's that he has something to say. Whether he struggled to get there or had it handed to him wouldn't change that one bit. Stop glorifying struggle is all I'm saying. Then again, isn't that what The Walking Dead is all about?  What the fuck. (See what I did there?)

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