Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Successful Author

Strip 7

Strip 8
…continued from the previous post

Was there anything, or anybody, that more than anything else helped you get to where you are?

Yes. When I was supposed to be in school for the last few months of my life as a high school pupil, I spent a lot of time at a bar by the train station instead, wasting away my chances of ever becoming a model student.

I remember that, around that time, the bar’s jukebox would constantly be playing the Beatles’ Let it Be, even though John, Paul, George, and Ringo had already gone their separate ways. Maybe it was listening to that posthumous album, or maybe it was realising that my chances of succeeding in school were fast disappearing. I don’t know what it was exactly, but something gave me the heart-wrenching feeling that it was the end of an era.

Wasting my days like that was definitely not edifying; it was nothing I’d recommend. However, doing it in good company, smoking cigarettes, and drinking myself into a stupor felt, at the time, epic.

Sometimes I wonder how it would have ended had I not heard that a young, successful comic book author was looking for apprentices. I didn’t think I was in any way talented enough, but, somehow, squandering my life away gave me enough self-destructive courage to throw myself into impossible tasks.

On a rainy day, I climbed up the stairs to the top floor and rang the doorbell.

A beautiful girl with long black hair and a short miniskirt greeted me at the door. I must have looked like an idiot, because as soon as she saw me, instead of letting me in, she just burst out laughing. Inside, the floor was as shiny as a mirror. All the way at the back, seated against large glass penthouse windows, the Successful Author sat at a drawing desk brimming with multicolour markers, an elegant desktop lamp, a mandatory red Brionvega radio cube, and a bottle of vodka. An opulent, shiny tropical plant completed the picture.

The Successful Author, a very handsome man with bottle-blonde hair, wanted to see my portfolio, which consisted entirely of drawings I had hastily penned down the night before. The air was thick with embarrassment. He wasn’t impressed by my work and didn’t even pretend to be. He did, however, immediately proceed to ask me to run an errand; some task that he had no intention of carrying out and was happy to delegate to just about anyone.

I was to draw a bathtub, or a fountain, something like that. The fountain, or bathtub, had to be very big. It was meant for some anniversary event of the town’s Military Academy. It was to be drawn in the Successful Author’s own style, which he illustrated to me very briefly.

I still remember it as one of the worst tasks I have ever been handed during my entire career; worse than kidney stones. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, as I tried day and night to trace the oval shape of that damned tub, the spraying water, the small ripples, the tiny concentric waves…

The result? Something ugly. A black scribble that nobody could ever mistake for the work of a young man freshly out of high school art classes, with the ambition of becoming a comic book star.

And so it happened. The Academy rejected my bathtub with disdain, handing back the horrible artefact to the Successful Author.

I was dismayed. The Successful Author slapped me hard on the shoulder and burst into an irrepressible laugh.

The Successful Author was Bonvi, and I had already become his friend.


The interview with Silver will continue in next Friday’s post.

Watch out for new posts every Tuesday and Friday.

For more information please write to info@lupoalberto.it or visit www.lupoalberto.it

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