Friday, January 8, 2010

More Hoo●Hoo●HAs & a Hoka●Hoka●HEY!

Great letters coming in.
Here's a the first batch of the year.
As always...italics are me--
roman font is you guys!

Barry Goldstein wrote:

Hi Larry....LONG time fan.

Just wanted to take a second to let you know how much I appreciate your new work. Remember Here When You Are There is really fulfilling. I have to tell you that I was a bit scared when I first received it.

I knew the quality would be great, the reprints have been top notch. I knew you had been long-brewing your ideas, thus the chances of them being ripe and juicy were high.

But, I was a bit scared. I am so familiar with Beanworld. I feel like I own a little bit of the leguminous island. A small corner of my brain spent a lot of time in the last 25 years chowing down on your efforts.

Frankly, the curse of the stinky sequel has burnt me too many times. In most cases, allowing something to not be completed would be better than the terrible damage some artists have perpetrated on concepts I held dear (Lucas, Lynch, Coppola, Caddyshack II)....

But Here There...really hit the spot. The artwork is crisp, clever and so well composed. Right on.

And the bean's story marches on.

I am particularly interested in how much the role of "desire" is turning out to be so central to the workings of the universe. Beanish's hearts, the desire of the Hoi Polloi to ring a Sprout Butt, the desire of the Butt to be transformed, and the desire on so many parts to offer themselves as a sacrifice, either in body or by sacrificing identity. Your realization of your Duchamp connection is really hitting home. Especially as it relates to the way that desire and chance/destiny seem to be at times in conflict and at other times in sync.

The desire to be "something more," is particularly fascinating to me, and I suspect that it will be revealed as a core principle of the Beanworld.

As a clinical psychologist, its nice to see that the internal/ emotional of the Bean's is just as important as their stomachs. There is a distinct hierarchy of needs in the Beanworld. Very Maslow-ian. Where the basic survival functions matter first. Food, Safety, Reproduction. Then comes a time of evolving and change. Breakouts bring individuality and a distinct identity. But unlike the rigid hierarchy proposed by early psychologists, in Beanworld, the ultimate meaning might seem to come from finally giving up that ego driven impulse and to give over everything for the sake of "completed-ness," or maybe even love.

The notion that wanting to be more, and willing change to better oneself, to literally transform reveals to me your inner optimistic self. Not a particularly common, or maybe even valued thing these days.

You think you were scared, Barry?

I didn't have a clue as to how Here There might be recieved.

I believed I was doing good work as I was doing it. Because I am such a firm advocate of the Duchampian notion that it is the reader, who in the end, makes the story I knew that the last person on Earth that could judge that would

Bringing that idea full circle is your comment "
I am so familiar with Beanworld. I feel like I own a little bit of the leguminous island."

Well, yeah, you do.

The Beanworld book that you read is mine.
The Beanworld that interacts with its readers, the Beanworld that took root in your head, is yours and yours alone.

I offer up a key.

You have the lock.
Whether or not that key opens a door to your imagination is up to you--not me.

The challenge of doing ongoing stories is to find the happy medium between offering the reader something familiar but not stale.

And not to wander too far outside of the reader's expectations. You never want to end up trashing the covenant between the creator and the reader that you are both are participants in a joint venture.

I find for me that the most fulfilling experiences as a reader/viewer are when the boundaries get pushed in increments a bit at a time but always pushing, pushing.

In my years in the business end of comics and toys, I witnessed first hand, creators saying "I own (insert character name here) and so I alone get to say who and what (insert character name here) IS. If I want to totally change the direction of the book with no warning or explanation that is my right to do."


It is.
And it is the reader/consumer's right to say "I don't recognize (insert name of comic book, TV show, movie series) anymore. I'm out of here."

One thing I learned analyzing sales from month-to-month and year-to-year is that fans are earned and not an entitlement.

Not a day goes by where this isn't on my mind.

I know where I am going is going to be challenging to Beanworld fans. But we are going to get there in increments a bit at a time but always pushing, pushing. And doing it together. Your observations regarding desire in Beanworld are tight on target. It is indeed a central theme and will be a big part of "Something More."


Beanish wrote:

Larry, I just want to say that I love your work in a way that I never thought possible. I'm about 2 hours away from my appointment for my second Beanworld tattoo. I've got Beanish on my shoulder cap and am about to get three Cuties to go with him to represent my kids. My oldest daughter was so excited when I gave her her very own copies of all three books. All from a seemingly random purchase in the bargain bin at my local comic shop 15 years ago or so. So, I just want to say how excited I am for the return and resurgence of the Beanworld mythos. Thank you sir.

You're welcome, Beanish. Gotta love those "random" intersections that somehow make a difference in your life. I've had more than a few. If you, or anyone else, wants to send along some pics of your Beanworld-based tattoos, I'll be glad to start a LEGUMINOUS SKIN ART GALLERY!

Joe Rider wrote:

It's gonna be a loooong 15 months. Be sure to tease us a lot...

Not to worry, Joe.
Tactical teasery is always my lead logistic with the enlightened ones of the Leguminati.

John Knutson posted:

Got home a short while ago with a brand new copy of Larry Marder's latest installation of Beanworld (new stories, woot!). Had to go to Austin Books to get it, since Dragon's Lair Austin has failed me once again (not in my subscription, not on the shelf).

Later, John posted:

Just finished reading it... Loved it! Several issues resolved, and yet several unresolved mysteries :-)

How something like this happens is an unresolved mystery too. I've been around the block a few times in the business side of the comic industry since I entered it in '84 by creating a controversial marketing campaign for Eclipse Comics. The longer I've been in the biz; the less sense it makes to me at times.

With all the consolidation, streamlining of information, and data exchange flowing back and forth linking might imagine that we'd long passed the point where a contemporary comic book store passes up a guaranteed subscription sale to a regular customer in this topsy-turvy marketplace. That said, I appreciate the effort you made to get your hands on
Here There!

And I doubly appreciate Austin Book's support of Beanworld by having a copy in inventory for you, John. I'm glad that you enjoyed the the reading experience and thought it was worth the trek to score a copy of Here There!

As far as your comment on the book itself, what can I say? Pondering the puzzles of unresloved mysteries is the what pulls me foreword in my own life, so it's only natural that Beanworld mirrors and echoes that.

John H wrote regarding Codex Beanworld:

Thanks for responding to my speculations. That image Codex Beanworld is great! To someone not immersed in Beanworld it is fun to look at, but to someone who is it is so loaded with implication it is hard to describe. Those hats, in particular, are very interesting to see there, as is the weird surroundings that seem most similar to the cosmic setting of the Service Stations.

As I've said before, John, it's a rough draft, cipher, road map, visual list of things to not forget from me-in-the-past to me-in-the-future. It's me-in-the-present's responsibility to make sure the road Beanworld trail gets blazed gets from hither to yon. And let me add my thanks to one and all who became a member of CBLDF in that last minute end of the year membership offer.

And finally shawn o'hern wrote:
have a question... what does it mean when heyoka says "maybe"? what's the opposite of maybe?
The opposite of maybe, Shawn?

Why I reckon maybe it is....maybe!

Keep those cards and letter coming folks!


Allen Varney said...

Hey, don't think bad thoughts about Dragon's Lair in Austin, TX -- the reason John didn't find any Beanworld on their shelves is that I had just bought all three books there!

The other side of "unresolved mysteries" is "conceptual breakthrough," the sensation that powers so much Golden Age science fiction. Beanworld is an ongoing exercise in conceptual breakthrough. Part of its fascination, its compelling quality, is the repeated and regular revelations of new purpose in something we previously considered understood.

For me the most memorable Beanworld moment is that terrific page in "The Mystery Pods Must Go" (page 214 in the Volume 2 reprint, "A Gift Comes") where the beans run up to the Legendary Edge and there, hanging in empty space, is the twink-slat-pod artifact that will become known as Mr. Spook's Stupid Mistake. I can practically hear the Strauss music from "2001: A Space Odyssey" playing then, like when the apes confronted the monolith.

Larry Marder said...

Well, I'll be. Thanks, Allen,for clarifying something that didn't make any sense.

When I first heard of John's dilemma, I remarked to a friend "In my experience, there are always at least two sides to every comic book story and quite often more."

This is a perfect example, and in this case, one with a most delightful explanation and happy ending!

Very interesting commentary regarding "conceptual breakthrough." And in that area, including Mr. Spook's Stupid Mistake, there is much, much more yet to come.

Brandon @ Austin Books said...

Hey, the Beanworld series has been a great success for us. A lot of folks come in asking for it specifically, so we have it featured in a dedicated, face-out position (along with earlier volumes). You can be sure that as long as Beanworld is available for us to order, we'll have it in stock.

Thanks for the great work!

Larry Marder said...

Hey, Brandon,
Thanks so much for the support! A book can't be treated more nicely than getting to show-off face out off of a shelf!
I think I've only been to Austin once for one of the stops on the Spirit of Independence tours in the mid '90s. A lot of water has flowed under a lot of bridges since then.
I'm sure I will be back to Austin one of these days, sooner than later, I hope.

Sean Lane said...

Another Texan reading this blog, and I can confirm Austin Books does a great job of putting Bean World on display.

Before the new Hardcover volumes came out, they were the only ones to carry a ton of back issues of Beanworld. I'm sure there are still some there.

Austin Books is probably one of the best sources for unusual and well in stock comics among other things.

Splinter's Iroonna said...

I FINALLY got my copy of Remember Here When You Are There-- and I have read it straight through. And now I shall have to reread it to get my thoughts together, but my initial response is Fantastic-- and FINALLY-- and woooo there sure is a LOT going on in it, so much that (as I said) I shall have to reread it before I can get my thoughts together!

FIFTEEN months before the next one? Jeeze....


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Anonymous said...


I've read Here There a couple of times already and plan on many more re-reads, knowing I'll find new things each time.

I'm still not 100% clear on one thing though - In the previous volume, Heyoka changes the bean template by entering it, and in this volume, when she leaves it, it reverts back to normal. At least that's my reading of the situation. My question, though, I guess boils down to, what was the point of that episode? I don't really get a sense that her alteration of the template really did anything, other than remove her from the playing field for awhile. Does the template affect the beans or the whole Beanworld? If it affects the beans themselves, could it have affected the Cuties even if the alteration happened after they had already emerged from their Pod'l Pool? They have displayed unusual growth patterns re: their limb growth after all, though I don't see how that matches up with Heyoka's alteration to the template. I'm a bit flummoxed on this one. Anyone else have any thoughts on just what did or didn't result from Heyoka's time in the template?