Saturday, 26 July 2014


How do you measure success?  Is it by comparing your
achievements to the accomplishments of others, or against the
fulfilment of your own ambitions?  And when it comes to judging
the success of others, it's probably pretty pointless using your own
aspirations as the standard by which to do so, because they simply
may not have been aiming at the same target - nor shooting the
same kind of arrows in order to hit whatever target
they were aiming for.

I once freelanced for IPC's top-selling boys title, 2000 A.D.
I had my name in print, people requesting my autograph, and -
best of all - money!  Was I success?  Well, in one way, yes - but in
another way, not really.  I'd never had any particular ambition to
work for 2000 A.D. per se, only to work in comics in some way.
The fact that I started my 15 year career on the most popular
adventure comic in the country was merely a bonus.

Was I any more of a 'success' than the lad whose first job
was as a shelf-stacker in Sainsbury's and who then worked his
way up to the position of store manager?  Well, no, not really. Is
he any more of a success than me?  How do you measure it?  It may
never have been his ambition to work in a supermarket, but it was
mine to work in comics - and I achieved that.  (Interestingly, back
in 1988, MARVEL U.K. contacted me to offer me work - I
never had to approach them.  That's being a failure?)

If you're happy (or content) with your achievements in
life, then, in a very real sense, you're a success.  Whether you're
a biscuit salesman or banker, if you've attained the goals you set
for yourself then that's an accomplishment.  (Unless your ambition
was to be a failure - now there's an interesting paradox.)  Remember,
you can't be said to have failed at something you've never tried (after
all, you've got to be in a race to win or lose it), so don't ever waste
a second paying heed to those smug, self-satisfied types who
regard their own personal career situation as some
kind of 'international standard'.

Deep down inside, they're extremely insecure people who
need to feel that they've done better in life than anyone else
  in order to feel good about themselves.  Sad but true. 


moonmando said...

In my opinion nobody succeeds better than a parrot with no teeth.... :)

DeadSpiderEye said...

I don't really view success as a particular virtue in itself. That's probably out of step with the current mode of thought, when is seems any dishonesty or malfeasance can be excused as long as those practising are endowed with the status their 'success' has afford 'em. How folk attain their success, or otherwise, is what I consider when appraising people, do they conduct themselves with honour, are they trustworthy? The popular notions of success are asinine too, its tallied by status and possessions, what car you drive, where do you send the misses to get her hair done? Such concerns may be stir the devotion of those eager to advance themselves through association with those considered 'successful' but it has no place for anyone wanting to exercise their own volition.

Kid said...

The old ones are the best, Moony.


Success, to me, seems to be merely an excuse for some people to look down their noses at others who haven't chosen the same career path. There's nothing you've written there, DSE, with which I'd disagree.

Colin Jones said...

A lot of people obsessed with "success" - acquiring consumer goods, "status", "aspiration" and all the rest of it are the ones who have ended up with massive personal debts when it all backfired in the credit crunch. And instead of blaming their own greed they demonise the poor or immigrants or blame politicians for everything - when Gordon Brown said "I've ended boom and bust" I knew perfectly well it was bullsh*t but a lot of these avaricious morons (oops, I mean "aspirational hard working families") believed every word of it because it suited them. And those at the pinnacle of success should remember the poem Ozymandias - "look on thy works and weep" (or whatever it is) - all fame and power is fleeting and they'll be dust one day. That's my rant over, Kid !

Kid said...

And what an interesting 'rant' it was, CJ. Keep 'em coming.

baab said...

I wanted to add something to this discussion because I think it is a very important subject,but i have been lost for the right words.
Anyway,I hope this is sufficient for now.

I met a guy i was at school with,I had not spoken to him since school,but i greeted him by name and we blethered.
In the conversation he told me that a guy we were at school with had moved to america and had become a successful something or other (not important)
This guy then went on about how this guy had remembered him from school and he was really moved that he had.
i did not have the heart to point out the obvious.

Kid said...

I once knew a total prat of a guy who had once done quite well for himself, but had fallen on hard times. He used to regale me with stories of how, when he owned a Porsche, his less-well off mates on the five-a-side football team he played in, used to say what a great bloke he was for mixing with 'ordinary' working guys like them instead of hanging out with better-off people. Even I knew he only did it because people with serious dosh wouldn't have been impressed by his Porsche and his fancy house (they all have them, don't they?), whereas his 'ordinary' pals all envied him. (Which was what he revelled in.)

Mr Straightman said...

Someone on Twitter (naming no names, I'm not giving the lanky, pretentious, stuck-up waste of flesh and bone the oxygen of publicity) has accused me of being a failure simply because my underground comics are only read by 'a fraction' of the regular readership Viz enjoys.
The logic this irritating ponce employs runs along the following lines... because I draw underground comics, I must immediately be 'in competition' with Viz, and my stuff has fewer readers than Viz, therefore I'm a failure. Hmmm. As it happens, I'm just happy to have found a publisher who likes my stuff well enough to grant it an audience, however large (or indeed small). I try to produce the best possible product which I hope my regular readers (yes, I do have some) will enjoy, and in that respect, I think I'm succeeding. To accuse me of being a failure because I don't have 60,000 readers like Viz? By that token, Viz is also failing, simply because it no longer has the 1.2 million circulation it enjoyed at its peak.
Some people have to measure everything by numbers, it seems...

Kid said...

Would this be the same guy tasked with turning around the fortunes of The Dandy - only to half its readership within a few months, leading to its cancellation?

Now that's what I call failure.

Funnily enough, when these guys were producing their own self-published stuff, they didn't seem to consider themselves failures - so why do they consider others to be?

Mr Straightman said...

No, the person who's devoting sizeable chunks of his apparently endlessly rewarding life to slagging me off has nothing to do with comics, thankfully. (Although he does fancy himself as a stand-up comedian, but don't hold your breath waiting for any television exposure - I've seen funnier funerals.)

Kid said...

Who knows - you may even see his.

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