You come across an interesting development, as you get older; the artistic heroes that you held so dear in your chrysaline stages of youth age right along with you, and the results aren’t always pretty. Ask any wayward love-child of the nihilistic media backwash of the mid-nineties how the latest Kevin Smith film was, and you’ll likely get a faceful of insta-heat comments about the myriad ways in which the poor bastard has gone from the defining auteur of his era to an irrelevant, balding bop-’em bag.
Short version of the above statement: it gets tougher and tougher to find artists worth believing in, as the years churn on. Which isn’t to strike some gauche’ pose about how all the greatest songs were written before 2003, or how there hasn’t been a decent novel on store shelves since Pahalniuk lost his stroke… creative and commercial appeal are ultimately arbitrary concepts. Intimate at their best, obstinate when they aren’t. We’re often left at a loggerheads between our gossamer, gold-jacketed memories of dream-state experiences that we had while staying up all night playing Mario Kart twenty years ago and the realization that nothing is ever going to make us feel that way, again. Or so we tell ourselves.
But anyway. Edgar Wright.
Wright is–more than Seth MacFarlane, more than Judd Apatow, and more than Fred Durst (aharharjoex)–the singular most effective spirit of the 90’s zeitgeist. Spaced was a hot-shot confection which hit the mid-waist of my viewing palette with the combined zing of a Jolly Rancher and the narrative weirdness of an E tab; Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were like watching your five-year-old mash up a war between his Lego mini-men and a few of the old Kenner Star Wars figures… if you were able to keep up with the action through his own unfettered little stream of consciousness. Wright is a man who plays in his own sandbox with furious passion, and he does things as a visual narrator which defy explanation or analysis, let alone exploitation by other filmmakers.
So, it was no small wonder that I wound up making this, shortly after watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:
Up until this point, I had never had an urge to base a calaca on anybody else’s work. Everything preceding this point was either an original brain-bubble, or something crafted for a specific recipient; I’m not quite sure what the hell it was about Scott Pilgrim (aside from the obvious) that snapped that trend’s spine, but it wound me up in a new direction, artistically. I still work at a 3:1 ratio between commercially-oriented calveras and original pieces, but I find that the challenge of really doing a character justice–and not just mailing in some quarter-assed “HEY KIDS, YOU KNOW WHAT’S HOT RIGHT NOW? TEAM DIA DE LOS JACOB”–attention-grab is something entirely new.
Plus, it gives me an excuse to flip the script and indulge in my creepy, overbearing fan persona whenever the piece doesn’t sell, and I wind up trying to find ways to get it into the hands of the original creator… Mssrs. Lee O’Malley and Wright can consider themselves served with due notice.