Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I received an email a few days ago from what I suppose is a college, maybe high school student, asking for an interview for their class. I get plenty of requests like this and I answer every single one. I consider it a "break" from work, and a way for me to get in touch with people who are interested in comics.

This one was a little different though. It was worded something like "Excuse me, please, but answer the questions for our term paper or we will fail. Sorry to disturb you. I love your work!" (translated from tagalog)

This was followed by a questionnaire which had the usual questions about working in comics. But what stood out were these two questions:

-What influenecd you to use anime when you do your comics?
-Why do you choose anime as your style?

This person probably thinks I'm Culture Crash or something. I didn't really want to be nasty, but I got really nasty with this person. Not about bringing up anime* (I no longer get angry about stuff like that), but because I was approached rather rudely and quite carelessly.

Firstly, when you are a student doing research and you need resource persons to interview, you don't approach them and say "Please answer my questions or I will fail!" To be honest, that's just plain rude. When you write them, the first thing you do is to Introduce yourselves properly. You tell them your full real name, what school you are coming from, and explain to them clearly and concisely WHY and WHAT the nature of your inquiry is. This is plain and simple courtesy. Aren't they teaching this in school anymore? I remember back in college we were taught how to write letters like these.

Secondly, whether this person fails or not is of NO CONCERN of mine. Why burden me with it? To try and guilt me into answering? Emotional blackmail? Did this person think that if he or she tells me this I'd be more willing to help? Sorry to say, this causes me to be more annoyed than concerned, and it's liable to make me want to help you less.

Thirdly, research your subject before you ask them for an interview. Not a thorough reasearch of course, but just enough to know what this person's expertise is so you don't go asking all the wrong questions. If this person REALLY knew my work, then he or she would never have asked me those questions, because those are the *last* questions anyone who knew my work would ask me.

Fourthly, don't go complimenting your research person for their work when you have NO idea what their work is. Similar to point three, you're BOUND to end up saying the wrong thing. In other words, don't blow smoke up my ass.

I don't want to name the person, but I just put it up here just to remind researchers how to properly approach a person for assistance in their projects. This not really a matter of pride on my part, but a matter of courtesy on YOUR part. It's slowly becoming a lost art here in the age of the Internet.

I was talking to Dean Alfar about it during the Siglo launch. He said that the technological age has destroyed whatever proper communication skills young people have. They're so used to writing in shorthand brought about by texting and emailing that they either forget or never get to learn how to talk to people respectfully and courteously.

And I agree. Is this how it's going to be in the world of the future? Are Dean and I, who were young once and still well, relatively young, quickly and surely getting old fashioned in this world of "I want it right now, right here and be quick about it!"? Jeez.

Of course, I do realize that this person may be a friend of a friend of mine. If that's the case, please don't try and defend your friend to me. Instead, you tell your friend that what they did was improper, and suggest to them that they do not do the same thing to other people in the future.

*I wish people would get their terminologies right. Anime refers to animated cartoons while Manga refers to printed comics. So if you are drawing a comic book in that Japanese style, it's MANGA, not anime.


Last Sunday, Jonas mentioned to me something about a strip made by Lico Reloj that was about perspectives and that I was in it. Jonas said Lico captured me perfectly. Curious, I got in touch with Lico and asked him if I could see it. He replied and sent me a link to the strip below:

Ha! ha! Ha! Oh man, I've never met Lico personally, but my God! He really got me. That's exactly how I'd react. Thanks Lico!