So , now for my FUCK-UPS. Or at least one or 2. Wow, now that I sit down to think about it, I have to discern between standing my ground on principle( i.e. being bull-headed) and just PLAIN being wrong.
OK, so what is the biggest Fuck-Up of my career? And second. what is the ONE thing I regret, right or wrong. That's 2 categories. We shall start with the FUCK-UP.
I had to pause, and REALLY think about this. I have regrets, to be sure. I think everyone does. But that's not the same as a FUCK-UP. You know what I mean.
I think the biggest FUCK-UP of my career, to date anyway, is that I left STARMAN as the regular Penciler and Co-Creator with issue 45.
Now, it has to be said that were many things that led to my departure. Many, indeed. James Robinson and I were on the "outs". No worries there because time does indeed heal ALL wounds, because were are right as rain now. AND, I am looking forward to working with him again! But at the time, Archie Goodwin( our beloved Editor, father figure, and Friend) had lost his battle with Cancer. It crushed me. He IS the reason I am in the Biz. Period. SO his death took the wind outta me. Then James and I had a difference of opinion regarding the direction of STARMAN. He wanted to go into Space, I did not. So I decided that it would be the perfect time for me to leave STARMAN. Now, 15+ years later, I am, just now, for the first time, admitting that I was mistaken. I shouldn't have left. I wish I hadn't. Looking at the STARMAN OMNIBUS I feel this wholly. Heres why: I did another series, many years later , called EX MACHINA. I leveraged my name, and Rep when I was hired to make sure that there would NOT be fill-ins or the like. That I would be able to draw ALL 50 issues of the series. YES! It was selfish, and calculating. But I wanted a Legacy of sorts. I wanted to correct what I had FUCKED-UP with STARMAN. And I did. I drew all 50 issues of EX MACHINA. It was collected in Trade Paper back, then in Hardcover, not to mention all 50 issues of the Singles. The Specials, that I did the covers for, the New Covers for the Trades, and the Hardcovers, the Posters. All of it. I could NOT be more proud of that achievement.
BUT. I could have had that twice. That achievement. 2 times. But, I fucked up. I let my feelings rule my decision making. Which is a common failing among young Creators and Artists. I see that now. It's OK though, because I will forever be known as Tony, "STARMAN" Harris. I made him, and HE made me. And that's OK. That is the book that put me on the map, and regardless of fill-ins etc.... I still drew the Bulk of the series, and stayed on as Cover Artist until I passed to Reigns to the Capable, and Brilliant Andrew Robinson. I just wish I had drawn it all. Every Bit.
I FUCKED-UP. God how I wish I could take that back.
The Regret? Losing 2 friends. One, a fellow Artist, and the other, Administration at a publisher.
The Artist? Now, and Ex-Friend( sadly) that I met early in my career. We hit it off immediately and were close for many, many years. So I decided, along with him, that we should work together. We did. And it was everything I hoped it would be. Rewarding in so many ways. During this period we were literally on the phone daily. Chatting and drawing and loving life. Then after our collaboration it was decided that I was to keep the Original Art.
Flash forward a few years later. I fell into a situation requiring liquid capital, which is NOT uncommon in this field. So, I had to come up with $$ to keep my family afloat. So I had this Original Art, which I had created HALF of, and it was given to me as a gift by my friend and Collaborator. So I sold it. My family was taken care of, and all is good. Except it isn't. A bit of time goes by, not too much, maybe a month or 3. Which in Comic Book Time, is NOTHING. I try calling him to chat. No answer.this goes on and on and on and on and on. I finally realize that he isn't going to speak to me anymore. My dear friend. It was only a considerable time later that i was told by a mutual friend that he found out that I had sold the painting, and was furious, and expected that he should receive half the money, and cut me off, and found me to be dead to him. I reached out sooooo many times, with phone calls and the like. To NO avail. That is a dead chapter in my life. And i could not be more sad about it. I miss him.
The second? A friend and Artist who was catapulted into Editorial Administration. We remained friends,( or so I thought) for many years as he rose through the ranks. Then VERY recently he placed me on a project that he said he thought I was perfect for. Things went VERY badly, and after my PROPER resignation, I was told by him to , " DO ME A FAVOR, AND LOSE MY #." I was Heart-Sick. Still am. I wish I could hit a restart button on these situations. But I feel they are lost.