Derek and I have a long-standing argument. I keep telling him to stick with comics. How can you expect to get anywhere if you keep switching goals? Besides (to borrow an analogy from Osamu Tezuka) comics is his wife, and he has to be faithful to his wife! Derek keeps wanting to dabble in other media — creative polyamory. The problem is, the stuff he makes with his other mistresses — especially film — always turns out really good. It completely undercuts my argument. It’s like meeting a friend’s new girlfriend who you’re sure you’ll hate and finding that she’s actually pretty cool.
Mythomania hits me right in my nostalgic sweet spot. The setting is inspired by Art Night, a weekly gathering that Derek and I started fifteen or so years ago, when we were both struggling comics newbies. Once a week, Derek, Jesse Hamm, Jason Shiga, Lark Pien, Jason Thompson, and I (and eventually a host of other cartoonists) would gather together at someone’s house to write, draw, critique one another’s work, and talk shop. Some nights were super-productive. Others would end with one of us stealing another’s gummy eraser in an effort to weasel out some gossip.
Art Night still happens, though most of the original Art Night Crew no longer attend. Some of us have moved out of the Bay Area. I stopped going after I had kids. Even so, I still have fond memories. Those weekly gatherings were an integral part of my growth as a cartoonist. They were like a comics graduate program for me.
By the way, that’s comics legend Scott McCloud in the first scene, holding the 2010 Eisner that Derek and I got for a short story in The Eternal Smile. Back in the day, both Scott McCloud and the Eisners were frequent topics of Art Night conversation. Now they’re both Derek’s props.