I'm in a sad mood today, so in an effort to combat it, here are a few of the things that make me, Troy Tiberius Hickman, happy:
Peanut butter and bologna sandwiches. I know a lot of folks find it odd, but there's no better sandwich in the world (I prefer it with crunchy peanut butter, by the way). Especially good with a glass of milk. I was first introduced to this by my Aunt Betty's third (fourth?) husband, Sonny Havens (which sounds more like the name of a retirement home than any other name I've ever heard).
Sci-Fi movies of the 50s/60s. Generally anything with a giant insect or a pulsating brain in it gives me a certain peace of mind. If you get a chance, check out a 1964 film called The Flesh Eaters, which was written and produced by Arnold Drake, writer of my all-time favorite funnybook series, The Doom Patrol. It's a really unusual film, and it's worth your while, trust me. It deals with an evil scientist, and this stuff in the surf that'll eat you all up, yum yum yum, and a square-jawed hero, and a scantily-clad woman, and a giant...uh...something monster, and a beatnik who speaks all that wonderful daddy-o dialogue that Drake seemed obsessed with at times. It's a gasser, man.
And while we're at it...The Doom Patrol. Was there a better comic...ever? Man, I love those old stories. The Chief, Robotman, Elasti-Girl, Negative Man...occasional appearances by Beast Boy and Mento...and the villains...The Brain, General Immortus, Madame Rouge, Monsieur Mallah, Gargaux, and on and on. And even when the book was canceled, they went out with a bang: the DP sacrificed their lives to save 27 people in the tiny village of Codsville, Maine. Without hesitation. They were heroes, my friends, heroes in a way that I wish more current comic book spandex types could be. If I ever write anything that folks enjoy as much as I enjoyed Doom Patrol, I'll be a pretty satisfied fella. And if DC ever wants someone to write a REAL Doom Patrol series again, they know where to find me (or maybe I'll find them).
Holding hands with Lea. There's really no way I can begin to tell you how this makes me feel. We'll be out somewhere, going to the video store, checking out some elephant-headed thing in 10,000 Villages, hell, just looking at big plastic junk at Walmart, and she'll be holding my hand, and I'll feel complete. Y'know, I'll gone most of my life feeling completely and utterly SINGULAR. Even when I've been with a woman, I've inevitably felt like it was still just me, only with a woman-shaped object filling the air next to me (heck, the years I was married were probably the loneliest I have ever experienced). When Lea and I are holding hands, though, I feel like part of a couple, and that's a pretty wondrous thing. Yeah, it's great, and tremendously important, that we all be individuals, but there's also a reason that we've been put on this planet with other folks, and that our brains and hearts get so oogy when we're with our "other half."
Seeing a script I've written turned into an actual comic book story. If you've never experienced this, I would strongly recommend it. For me, that's a large part of the magic of comics, at least from a creator's point of view. You write something, you send it to your editor, and in a relatively short amount of time, you get these pages back with your characters on them...your characters come to life through the efforts of some talented artist. I'm not going to be so pompous as to say it makes you feel like you're God (although the act of writing alone contains elements of that, to be sure), but it's about as close to a miracle for me as it gets. And the thing is, it never gets old. From the first time I saw my pal Doug Lumley delineating Yoyo the Dieting Clown, to the sketches I've seen so far for my upcoming Twilight Guardian comic, it never fails to give me a warm feeling in the pit of my stomach, like I've accomplished something. And when I think of the people I've worked with, people like Mr. George Perez (who became my favorite comic artist when I read HIS first real comics work, Creatures on the Loose #33, back in 1975), it pretty much makes me want to cry. I love creating, I love writing, but most of all, I love making comic books.
Anyway, I'm feeling better now, so I'll call it a day. A happy one.