Jen Contino’s interview of me for The PULSE is up. She very sweetly chose not to cut a single bit even though I held forth at tedious length. I got to talk about the secret origins of The Malay Mysteries, who my characters are based on, and how it felt to be nominated for an Eisner.

On a related note, I discovered something rather shocking when I went to take a look at Jen’s interview: apparently I’ve got my very own message board “troll.”

Neil Gaiman spoke about these creatures in his own online journal, referring to them as people who talk loudly in comics shops, or “counter slugs.” In one run-in with this sort, Neil’s cousin stood behind a fellow who loudly proclaimed (at a comics shop in the U.K.) that “Gaiman” was the pseudonym for a man trying to tip people off to his sexual orientation. He refused to be dissuaded as Neil’s cousin took out his ID card and showed it to him. (To read Neil’s description of this event and his position on “counter slugs,” take a look at his journal archives for August 20th.)

My troll isn’t nearly so zealous nor is he terribly imaginative, though he’s obviously put work into seeming like he knows something the masses don’t. Here’s what he had to say in response to a nice comment from someone who posted to the PULSE message board about my interview: “It was ok, though I don’t see how Garlands earned this nomination ( who did he sleep with LOL)… As for Jai Sai being all what you say… let’s just say it hasn’t been everyone’s experience of the guy.”


I did wonder briefly if there is indeed a “Jai Sai” running around out there pissing people off–after all, I’ve written before about that other Jai Sen who is involved in far more reputable things than I am, like treatises about civil society. So if “Jai Sai” does indeed exist, he’s my karmic retribution for the damage I’ve done to the reputation of some perfectly worthy Indian scholar who has the misfortune of sharing my name. But I’m pretty sure my troll is referring to me.

As for the bit about who I slept with to get Garlands nominated, my theory that “ParisCub” is someone whose foot I stepped on in one of the lines in San Diego is smashed: if he thinks my body would be accepted by anyone in trade for anything, much less an Eisner nomination, he’s clearly never seen me in person.

So I think it’s a safe bet that, as several kind souls have indicated to me in soothing e-mails, he’s simply one of those little pimples that appears on the face of life when exposure increases, a sign of passing a certain threshold of recognition–the inevitable cost of putting stories (and oneself) out there. And “out there” is where, however modest one’s successes may be, there’s always someone who will choose envy of another over a long, hard look at himself.

It would be lying to say that the disjointed sputtering of “ParisCub” didn’t sadden me a little, at least at first. Here I’d spent a whole interview talking about things like putting more research into historical comic books, the importance of Malay spirituality in world culture, things that I’m trying to accomplish with these stories. It did occur to me to ask this fellow who he is and how he formed the impression that some undisclosed population has a bone to pick with me, but I realized (even before I received the excellent advice to ignore him) that I didn’t care. I’m far better off with the knowledge that if “ParisCub” ever wrote anything and got nominated for an award for it, I’d probably be happy for him, or at very least occupied in some pursuit of my own, and not coyly and anonymously trying to tweak at him on a public forum.

Well, it’s a milestone of a sort, as I’ve been assured by people more famous than I will ever be, and whatever it indicates, I hope it’s at least brought a laugh or two to readers of this journal. And I did extend “ParisCub”‘s fifteen seconds of fame by however long it took you to read this, so let’s call that my good deed of the day.

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