It’s now late summer – I can’t believe how time has flown past. Word press has congratulated me on 2 years of writing this blog and I am still waiting for a book /movie deal based on the trials and tribulations of being the Rockstars 2nd Wife. I might not be as lucky as our friend Max whose story I would like to tell you today.
Last weekend Rocksey and I attended a Comic Book Convention where a great friend of ours – Max Millionaire – was signing his latest graphic novel (entitled JackBoot and IronHeel– available from idwpublishing.com). Max lives in LA and was only in the UK for a short time on the comic book convention trail so we grabbed the opportunity to catch up – even though it meant waiting in line for him to sign our copy and then meet for drinks in his favourite local bar afterwards ( after his adoring ‘geeky’ fans had left him in peace for a few moments)!
Max has the greatest rags to riches story. Originally a friend of Rockseys back in the day, he did a stint as drummer for the band back in the 1980’s but on growing his hair long and discovering a love for Spandex he was unceremoniously kicked out for looking too much like Jon Bon Jovi ( which was not really the bands style at the time). However, Max’s first love was not drumming but drawing and ultimately he became a graphic artist slaving way in a windowless office drawing other peoples dreams for next to nothing and in his spare time indulging in his love of comic book superheroes and keeping the band happy with some gruesome war scenarios featured on many of their past album covers.
Max disappeared from view for a time. We later found out he moved up north and continued ( in his theoretical garret) churning out illustrations for various books, articles and dodgey ‘90’s boy bands all the time working away on his comics and one off designs in the hope that one day someone would whisk him away to the life he felt he fully deserved ( yes I know I’ve made him sound a bit like a fairytale Princess but bear with me on this one…..).
One day finally Max decided enough was enough, he was fed up of selling his soul for a credit on a third rate teenage boy bands video who wanted their storey board revolving round a pseudo playboy esque mansion and blonde ‘wannabees’ and WAGs dominating their skateboard fantasy life whilst lip synching to crappy punk-pop songs written by other similarly frustrated song writers thwarted also by ‘the Man and his money machine’ and the need to pay the mortgage and the car loan. Max quit the day job and walked out vowing never to look back and despite his misgivings moved back into his childhood bedroom with his folks to take one last stab at realising his dream of selling his own work for his own price.
The on-set of the internet made Max’s dream became a reality. Having set up a website which made him look like he had a mega studio and lots of high rolling contacts, Max’s talent could finally be unleashed onto Facebook and Instagram and the orders started coming in. Several commissions later by a millionaire Austrian recluse (and an open invitation to spend some time in the country mansion deep in the heart of the Tyrols), Max had paid off all his debts and the imaginary studio became a reality. Max made a down payment on a penthouse apartment in the middle of the City overlooking the football ground ( a love that both he and Rocksey share) and he started to relax a little – knowing at least that there was enough money from forthcoming commissions to pay the mortgage for the next year or so.
Well for many of us this would be enough, but not for Max – he still wanted to realise his dream of getting his own graphic novel published and despite the fact that he was already super busy with commissions for the Austrian recluse he still found time to make his dream a reality. One evening, taking a break from drawing he posted a few of his ‘work in progress’ concept ideas of Instagram hashtagging the usual #comics,#superheroes etc when he got a ‘like’ back and then a message with what he only described as a very cryptic message asking him to respond to a mobile phone number. Now I’m a little sceptical about responding to other peoples messages even when they have ‘liked’ the work that I have done myself but there was something in this message that Max resonated with and – he told us later – felt compelled to respond with an equally cryptic message himself – y’know like some secret boy scout decoding mission- he mused. Turns out the cryptic messenger was no other than a massive fan of Max’s super heroes illustrations and on viewing the original characters within the work in progress felt that she had to speak to Max and discuss with some urgency a project that she too had kept on the back burner for too long.
Here comes the fairytale bit, not only was the interested messenger a closet geeky comic book fan, she was also a (quite) famous film director who, again, wanted the world to see what she was capable of directing and producing outside of the CGI company she was already working for and wanting to set up on her own, needed to work in collaboration with someone with a similar vision to hers…..and here he was, Max Millionaire beaming out on his Instagram account and a geeky super hero marriage made in heaven was born.
Three years on, the film is to be screened for the first time at the SuperHero Short Film Festival in Los Angles later this year and has already had rave reviews from those on the inside. Max now lives in a condo in Silver Lake, one of LA’s most hipster neighbourhoods with his super hero wife director and producer of indie super hero nerdy films enjoying the geeky, beardy lifestyle he has always lived but in far more luxurious surroundings with no money worries stretching into the mid to long term future. His wish of writing a graphic novel also came to fruition earlier this year with IDW publishing hence the comic book convention tour which, a few short years ago, was the dream ( although this would have ben self-funded and self-published) Max now lives up to his Max Millionaire tag – given to him by Rocksey all those years ago when he was a jobbing drummer.
As for those 3rd rate boy bands…..well some had short lived fame, some went on to do greater things, some are having a crack at a come back (or a second or third go at a ‘come back’). Max is living proof that if you don’t like something in your life, well go ahead and change it…a fairy tale ending may be waiting for you.