‘TRUMAN STERLING’ is the pseudonym of a semi-well known writer/artist (or artist/writer, whichever you prefer) whose work has appeared regularly from one or both of the Big Two publishers for roughly two decades. He (or she) has also tomcatted around the industry for a variety of different outfits. Under his (or her) real name, Sterling is currently working on one of the Big Two’s top 10 titles. In each column, a different clue is hidden as to the author’s real identity. There may be a prize if you figure it out.
And by “may,” I mean, yes. There will be a prize.
Thanks to Rich, I’m writing this column. Some weeks, I might write two. Other times, it might take me two weeks to write one. When I get tired of writing them, I’ll stop. If you figure out who I am, I’ll reward you.
Introductory columns are kind of a drag to write. I’ve written one before, for a different website, and it mainly went like this: “Hey, I’m so and so. This is the work you might recognize my name from.” It was hopefully funnier and more entertaining to read than that but that was the basic gist. If memory serves, I ended up writing three columns before it fell to the bottom of my to-do list and then dropped off my radar. But it was fun in its own way, and point blank, a creator’s digital profile can have a lot to do with their career these days. I’ll shoot for more consistency this time.
Doing this under a pen name kind of kills the whole introduction thing, for obvious reasons. If those reasons aren’t obvious, you’re kind of thick, sorry. So I’ll move on to the next most logical question on the list: why am I writing under a pseudonym?
Answer: Because you don’t know me anyway.
If you read comics published by Marvel and DC, which is the majority of you comic book readers out there, you know my name and you know my work. Does that mean you have liked it all? Absolutely not. When I still used to skim message boards and read reviews, some of you said horrible things about me.
Not just my work, by the way. Also me personally. Even though you’ve never met me unless it was in a convention setting. And I guarantee you were nice to my face.
As an aside, here’s a hidden rule of the comic book world: everybody is nice to everybody else at conventions. Even fellow professionals are nice to one another, even if it’s phony nice. Which I often find it is because it’s a small industry and invariably, people’s real opinions come home to roost. Over the years and with the number of people I’ve worked with on different books, I count less than ten people I consider trustworthy and genuine friends.
Of course, that works both ways. Maybe I’m just not that likable? Food for future thought.
The point is I’ve been under your noses for a long time now, month in and month out. But for the most part, you haven’t really know me and it’s time I’d like to change that. It bothers me that we’ve been a quiet part of each other’s lives for so long and barely acknowledge one another. I love this industry a little bit less every year I work in it and part of the reason for that is because you and I, we never metaphorically hug.
We never have a real conversation.
Like a socially awkward former DC editor, maybe you make a silly face to acknowledge me when we pass in the hall. But why don’t we talk more?
I’ve got stories from the trenches that are more entertaining or far fetched than most of the comics I’ve written. The one about the comic book writer who was cooking breakfast naked after a one-night stand and burned his genitals with an accidental spill of scalding hot oatmeal? That one was true.
I’ve got opinions on books, editors, publishers, characters, good people and the not-so-nice douches that populate this industry. If you think it’s a cop out that I might tell them to you anonymously, I respectfully disagree. Because by the time I’m done here, you’ll know who I am. Literally and figuratively.
I’ve got things to say and nobody listening. It makes me rage.