September 11th, 2007

The Zombie

The Deadline Crunch

September 10 -  I made my deadline!  It was tight, though, as the client was driving up to WOMP H.Q. while I was adding my signature (the last step).  Whew!  That was a close one, much closer than I'd prefer.  This little episode, however, really did remind me of this month's "...Of The Day" subject, Crusty Bunker.  It has been said, many times, that Mr. Bunker came into existence to help meet a deadline.  All commercial artists have felt that "it's due in just a few hours" crunch, watching the hands of a clock spinning like a pinwheel, praying for a time extension, looking for any shortcut.  Having an "army" like The Crusty Bunkers ready to deploy as needed would sure ease my mind in such circumstances.  What's seldom discussed, however, is that the Crusty Bunker solution may not have always been the result of some sort of "falling behind."  Some commissions, like mine of this morning, come with "impossible" deadlines already attached.  Artists sort of have the reputation of being procrastinators (which may be generally true...may be), but the truth about why they sometimes miss their deadlines is that A) artists usually need money, so they'll take almost any paying job no matter how ridiculous the deadline, and B) artists don't really know how far they can push themselves until they push themselves to, then past, the edge.  Those Crusty Bunker projects may have been editorial requests for overnight rush jobs.  Don't assume that someone was lazy, or even just overworked, and the deadline "snuck up on 'em."  It may actually have been almost a sort of challenge, like the comic book version of Mission: Impossible (not to be confused with the comic book based on Mission: Impossible).  "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to complete an entire eight page back-up feature by seventeen-hundred-hours tomorrow.  This message, and your plans to sleep tonight, will now self-destruct."  In fact, commissions with nearly unattainable deadlines often pay much more than regular art jobs (when I was paid this morning, for example, I got a ten buck tip "for the rush").  Hmmm.  That could mean that Crusty Bunker, who didn't even really exist, may have been one of the best paid inkers of the 1970's!  Granted, his payment was divvied up between a dozen or so people, but I'm sure that Neal Adams insisted on top dollar pay for such on-demand work!  Crazy!  Well, here's your "Crusty Bunker" of The Day - Larry Hama!