I'm posting this over at my Jinxworld board instead of Twitter because I knew I'd be going over 140 characters. I'm a wordy cuss. Sue me.
First off I wanted to thank everybody following me on Facebook, Twitter, and here at Jinxworld for all the many happy birthday wishes. You're all very sweet.
Every year my parents call me up on my birthday and ask me what I want. And-- honestly-- once you pass your 30's that gets pretty embarrassing. So I reply with the standard, "For everybody to be happy and healthy." Which is quickly followed by additional fussing and me repeatedly saying, "No, really, I'm fine."
The truth of it is, on top of the many gifts my parents have given me over the years, none of them can EVER top the greatest gift that my father gave me on my 35th birthday: an extra year of my life.
For some reason I took turning 35 bad. Real bad. Worse than 30 (which didn't phase me at all). Worse than 20 (a story for another day). Something about 35 just felt horrible. And when Dad called, he could hear how down I was.
He asked me what was the matter and I told him. I didn't know what I'd really done with my life. I wanted to be a comic book writer-- I wanted to be working on superheroes-- and ever since my run on Ren & Stimpy, all anyone ever thought of me as was a guy who worked on funny animals books and licensed properties. I thought I would've had SOMETHING published by then-- real books-- in a bookstore-- besides long out of print Ren & Stimpy and Bugs Bunny collections. I was thinking about chucking it all in and looking into other careers. Turning 35 had really put it all into perspective.
And then Dad, who has ALWAYS been supportive-- and RARELY disparaging, said four words to me:
"What? Are you stupid?"
"No. I've given this serious thought. This is a good cut off point. Maybe I should go back to advertising or--"
"No. Not that. I meant: Are you stupid?"
"You're not 35."
"No, I'm not."
"Pull out your driver's license. Look at the date of birth. Do the math."
"HEY! I'm 34!"
"Thanks, Dad! That's the best present EVER!"
And let me tell you, it was like getting a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future, waking up, and realizing you STILL had time to change your ways. I was DAMNED if I was gonna be THAT guy at 35! That was the year-- and the exact moment-- where I kicked myself in the ass. I got aggressive, got motivated, and took big swings.
That was the year I made the pitch that got DC to jumpstart their launch of the JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES book-- and landed me 4 issues on that title. That was the year I pushed to take over BATMAN ADVENTURES in a different office. And those two things helped me land the ARKHAM ASYLUM mini THAT year. Which got me a foot in the door at Marvel to do SHE-HULK, which led to SPIDEY/TORCH, GLA, THING, INITIATIVE... and SPIDER-MAN.
Back when I *actually* hit 35, I was exactly where I wanted to be-- it was the polar opposite of my imaginary 35. So, I guess what I'm saying is, if you want to give yourself a present for your birthday: give yourself a year.