Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Call At 3:00 In The Morning

A Call At 3:00 In The Morning

I wake up to the sound of my cellphone. The big flat numbers on my alarm clock display "3:05" as that Valkyries song from "Apocalypse Now" chirps digitally from the phone. I look at the number.



Donovan: Oh good Lord...
Me: B-but you were the one who told me to write about the accident...
Donovan: I meant a short fictional story about the quirkiness of modern love for the New Yorker or something!
Me: B-but...


But we talk. We talk about a lot of things. And when it is over, he says he's going to sell off some of his comics and collectibles and help me pay my medical bill.


Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.


  1. I still think that this Donovan guy sounds like a good man with many flaws...but then again, we all have flaws.

    Happy Thanks giving. May you have nothing but good food and good laughs for the rest of the weekend.

  2. An upbeat and vaguely amusing postscript.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Uh. Well, that's what I get for starting at the bottom and working up.

    Good for Donovan. Good for you. Good for the power of the frickin' pen.

  4. Thank you for this story. I have no words to express my feelings about it, but I'm glad you wrote it and I'm glad I read it. Thanks.

  5. I haven't read all of the posts you've made, but most of them. I'm all at the same time frustrated and confused and sorrowful and hopeful. The last part, especially, and I hope you are, too. As someone who does aspire to work in the big leagues one day, I can only hope I don't see anything like this happen to any co-workers I may someday have.

    Still, you've persevered through all of this and if anything it shows you're a survivor and you're strong. I wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors and I hope that you haven't ENTIRELY scorned comic books as a result of this series of terrible events. If I might make a humble suggestion, try the independent route, perhaps even a webcomic with original characters of your own. No Willy Wonkas. No creators getting excited about a rape page. Just you and your writing with your own control over how you want things to go.

    I hope you have a Happy Thaksgiving and a happier life.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Just want to say to Donovan...I am impressed with the way she describes you in that emergency situation. And helping her with those medical bills is avery stand up thing to do.

    I know there are two sides to every story but on this side you are not coming out as the villain at all.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Hi,

    I just read your entire blog in one sitting and it's amazing. Thank you for sharing your story. Autobiographical writing is the most difficult writing to do and here you've accomplished it masterfully.

    I know this may sound a bit wierd, considering the "Goodbye to Comics" point to this, but... you do realize that what you've written here is an outstanding outline for a comics series. Any publisher that's not Marvel or "Gilgongo" or whatever, would be absolutely mad for this.

    You are a true talent. Hopefully at the very least you'll keep blogging, but even if you don't, you should consider this. If you want to make comics better, make better comics.

    And in the immortal words of Kilgore Trout, "Never let the bastards keep you down."

  9. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

  10. I just finished reading your entire blog right now. All I can say is I think you are among the ranks of someone like Peter David with your writing. I love his Fallen Angel series, both with DC & even more with IDW now. I also really don't know what to say in response to everything you went through, but I'm glad to have read your story. I even saw that Gail Simone, one of the best writers out there, replied to one of your entries. So it was also good to see that you do point out that there are good people in the industry though obviously there are those there who made your job very uncomfortable. I really don't know what else to say but to wish you good fortune with what you pursue in life. Thanks again for sharing.

  11. Happy thanksgiving, Valerie!

  12. I read some pretty f'ed up Japanese comics--Lone Wolf and Cub and Path of the Assassin are fun reads, right up to the part where a girl gets randomly raped for some reason that I don't understand. But, the mind can process it in the sense that, I'm reading a foreign comic about a brutal, murderous culture, and that being the kind of comic it is, there's a good chance that the guy who just raped the girl is going to get cut in half in a few panels. Even THAT is pretty gross, really, even if it's based on a sort of brutal cultural reality.

    And it's DEFINTELY not the kind of entertainment experience I'd want from, oh, SuperfabulousMan or GreatGirl or whatever. Because when a person is wearing a cape and flying around, the words 'brutal cultural reality' probably shouldn't apply.

    This is the saddest, yet most uplifting, personal story I've read in a long time. If this was fiction, you'd want the heroine to be back in the profession she's left, because she's the kind of person who should be there.

  13. I read all in one sitting. Absolutely fantastic to discover Donovan's going to help.

  14. HAH! A somewhat Happy Ending after all.

    God Bless Us, every one.

    I wish you'd post a link on Amazon to your book -- I still have no clue who you are, other than the "Valerie" reference by Elayne earlier. And if the book's as good as what you've writtne here, I want to buy it.

    And I can't wait for the novelization of this to come out, either. Just think of the irony; there you'll be at WizardWorld, signing copies, right across from the DC booth, ignoring smolering glances from Bob Wayne & Dan Didio.

    And you'll get in free for being a pro! Revenge is truly a dish best served cold.

    Which brings us back to Thanksgiving, doesn't it?


  15. See...I knew this Donovan guy wasn't retarded like some suggested. I mean...people were calling him retarded when he was obviously trying to pep talk you with silver lining stuff in the ambulance. "Everything's going to be're going to be'll write a funny story about this and get paid big money for it." On a side note, I don't see why Donovan was at all put off by you writing about it here...sure, it revealed his bed was propped up by comics, but you also told the world that he is a plumber that lays rather large pipe. Most guys would pay for good PR like that.

  16. He will help after all!

    Goodness. I'm gonna cry.

  17. Halle-freaking-lujah.

    I've just read your story in two sittings. I'm appalled, and horrified, and feeling pretty ill. I've been having problems reading comics for some time now, and I have to pick and choose... and also turn my brain off for some books that I've been reading for 30 years, because I can't bear to give them up.

    I worked in a much smaller, somewhat related industry for a while. As a freelancer, so I wasn't in the office day-in, day-out. And I experienced enough sexism to burn me out on that industry almost entirely. What you've gone through? My experience doesn't even come close.

    I hope you manage to slog through the financial issues, and your physical condition improves vastly, and you find yourself in a place where you are regarded with respect by the people you'd like to have respecting you, and you are treated well.

    Happy holidays, and here's hoping the new year is really freaking good to you.

  18. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Hi there. Your story is utterly devastating and incredible, and I found myself getting a Blogger account just so I could reply here. I'll do a full-on post commenting on your incredible work in a more apropriate thread, but in response to this particular installment, I want to say: be careful.

    Look, obviously I don't know you or "Donovan", but you've just spent a lot of time describing, at best, a self-absorbed dickhead. Could his sudden attempt to make reparations possibly involve you airing your grievances on a very public blog? Hey, I think it might!

    If you asked him before, and he was unwilling to financially support you because he was too busy buying merchandise, and wouldn't provide moral support because he was worried about getting "blacklisted" by the bloated, dying industry that is superhero comics, I don't see why you should suddenly give him the benefit of the doubt. He owes you that money. Period. Thank him politely, take his money, and then get the hell out.

    Based on everything you've said, I can only imagine it would be a matter of time before he's asking you to make little "edits" to this blog, or possibly to leave certain details out of your planned book.

    Maybe I've completely misinterpreted al this. I sure hope so. But I can't imagine why you'd want to give this guy a second, or fourth, or twenty-eighth chance.

  19. I'm so glad he shows some human decency. You know, maybe he has the makings of a human... some flaws, some advantages... not super, mind you, but not altogether bad either. If you were so motivated, I doubt a collection to help with your expenses would fall flat on its face, either.