Thursday, September 9, 2010
Eldritch: Layline 008
So, regarding this week’s update…
You may notice a few names mentioned here like Mr. Von Wau Wau, and Spider. I’ll say it now: you’ll never hear more of them. Not from this comic anyway. Why? Because I had to give a little tip-of-the-hat to the man who helped save my last few quarters of college, Spider Robinson (may his wife rest in peace).
You see, in the early stages of this comic, back when it was going to be strips instead of pages, I told my Father (my poor, poor beta tester) about the Layline, which as you guys can see, is basically a paranormal bar/club/hangout/whatchamacallit. Dad then told me about Tales from the White Hart, and, more importantly, Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, by Spider Robinson.
The book Dad eventually handed me was signed by the author… and dated five years before I was born.
Now, I’d been working on Eldritch and posting the updates for quite a while by the time Dad brought this book to me, and I was struggling to keep up with the comic and my college work. I was, as all students do from time to time, getting, well… burnt-out. A bad thing when your major is one of the creative sorts, like Fine Arts. I had practically no time to look for inspiration, or see my friends, and felt I hardly saw my folks. I felt like Sasquatch or some other rarely seen beast, stumbling in whenever I finished my work in the lab or clocked out of my job, then stumbled back out early the next day. I was slowly but surely, becoming a bitter, uninspired wreck of a person.
But this book Dad brought me Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, turned out to be comprised of several small stories—an anthology. I was able to sit down and read them one at a time, while taking an hour for lunch, or waiting for a class to start. Robinson writes with one foot in the genre of urban fantasy, and the other foot in the genre of urban sci-fi. Space aliens, humans, pookas, vampires and more all existed, and visited the same bar, which was owned by a fellow called Mike Callahan. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the urban fantasy genre. But it wasn’t the genre in the end that made the books so comforting, but the characters. If I was having a bad day, I knew that in the next story, Callahan’s Place would have something up it’s sleeve to make everything a little better, be it a tall tale, unique idea, or a terrible pun from Doc Watson (My Dad and I spar with puns, and they delight me so.)
My last few months of college, while everyone else was painting and screaming about Stephanie Myers, flailing about their own fantasies of fawning over sparkly or shirtless men, I found that when I painted, my mind was in a simple pub, filled with delightful, friendly faces, and a fireplace littered with shattered shotglasses.
So… even though I don’t really have the guts to tell him myself, here’s a big ol’ thank you to Mr. Robinson. Maybe your characters had it right when they felt that people came to Callahan’s Place when they really needed it. God knows I did… and I couldn’t have learned Callahan’s Law at a better time in my life. I hope that anyone who needs these books the way I did finds them.