There is a small segment of readers who will read this and think I’m bragging. I assure you this isn’t the case, but it may come across as…call it a “humblebrag.”
The above book, Dynamite Entertainment’s Savage Tales of Red Sonja, has left my house twice and arrived twice this month. It’s not a book I usually associate with what my core audience associates with me or my work. In fact, when it comes up in conversation or in my bio, it’s the fifth or sixth book listed, in terms of importance. Mostly because, if we’re to be honest, I tell folks I worked on Superman, Batman, Wolverine, and then my creator owned stuff (FCHS, etc), and then Red Sonja. And I usually do this because…I know folks know who the first three are and it’s impressive. I throw my stuff in there next to make it seem like I’m focused on my own IPs (which I am). Then I go for Sonja, Scooby, etc. I’m not doubting Sonja has a fan base; I just never know who is in it. She’s a tough character to gauge because, on the surface, folks see the bikini. And I hate to put a character into a corner based on appearance (because that’s a crappy way to live), but there you have it.
And yet, I’ve purchased this book and shipped it twice in 30 days.
It’s the second one that really means something to me. On February 20th, I got an email from Roger, an elementary school social worker and reader, who was a big fan of Sonja. He had sent me some cards (I think Dynamite put them out) and asked me to sign them. When I finally got them, I signed them immediately and had them on my desk for a few days. I kept staring at them because I wondered, “Does he have the books? Why did he send me cards?” The cards weren’t even art from my issues (neither interior or cover), so I couldn’t understand what I had to do with them. I certainly didn’t draw them! So, I went into my stash (comps and convention stock), and pulled out the first issue of Savage Tales I did (I ran out of the second issue a while ago). Signed it, and put it in a new, bigger envelope. Then I said, “Wait, how can I send him part one and not part two?” So I grabbed the trade, literally, as I was walking out the door to the post office. I had just received the trade after sending my own copy to someone else. Sent it off to Roger and just hoped he didn’t have either, but secure in the thought that if he did, he’d still appreciate it.
Then I got the following email:
Wow! Thank you so very much! I have always thought the Arthur Suydam cover was one of the greatest pieces of comic art EVER so that was a treat to have signed by you…thanks! I had a very long day at the elementary school and was just loving finding your treats waiting in the mail box, made my day. Getting ready to reread some of your work before I head to bed. Thanks again and keep up the great work!
See that? I did the right thing. Even after second guessing myself a million times.
This isn’t the first fan letter I’ve ever received, nor is it the first autograph request via mail. I’m hoping these aren’t the last, either. Getting these, and emails like this one, really encourages me. I’ve often said that you never know who is out there, reading your stuff, and enjoying it. We get as many (if not more) negative emails, message board posts, etc., as we do positive ones. But if I got one positive for every 100 negative, I’d be more than happy with that.
Here’s hoping that there are more Rogers out there, willing to step out of their comfort zone to reach out to creators just to tell them how appreciated they are. For them, I don’t mind going on Amazon to get my book over and over again. 100% worth it.