Blah Blah Blog – Excel

An entry from my old Marvel bog concerning the specific joy of watching somebody who is absolutely excellent at what they do doing that thing.


October 19, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

There’s something pretty magical about watching somebody who’s about the best there is in their chosen field of endeavor do their thing. Whether we’re talking about athletics, performance, magic, painting, dance or comic book artwork, the elegance of a person working with that degree of aptitude is something extraordinary to behold. In any creative medium, there are (and I don’t mean to make them sound trivial with this next bit; I well realize how much talent and dedication it takes to operate on a professional level in any of these fields) dozens of run-of-the-mill talents; guys that are extremely good, but don’t reset the bar. And then, there are those rare people who take things to the next level, whose command of what they do opens up whole new avenues of possibility. People who reset the game.

For all that I like such concepts in my fiction, I’m not one to believe in predetermination, or destiny. And yet, there is that feeling that there are people who are simply supposed to be doing a specific thing, because they’re so natural at it, because they excel at it. I feel like I’ve made the most of my meager talents, and I’m pretty good at what I do-but I don’t operate at a fraction of the level that these sorts of prodigies do. It at once makes them astonishing and frustrating, since it always feels like I should be capable of better, and it should be easier. That these skills are only developed after years of dedicated practice and study doesn’t change the feeling that it all looks so effortless.

And it remains a joy to see pages come in from one of those rare talents, especially in their formative stages. With the easy access of the internet and the fact that almost every book is previewed in one unfinished form or another, it’s a pleasure that even folks outside the business can experience to a limited degree. And it’s even more incredible to be able to stand there and watch one of these virtuoso artists draw in front of you.

No real point to this outside of these observations-just thought it was worth reiterating, because it’s very easy after so many years to take these situations for granted.

More later.

Tom B

2 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – Excel

  1. I discovered recently the term for this kind of awe of skilled is “competence kink.”
    Being able to recognize that some people are way, way better than you (or me, or whoever) is, I think, an important part of improving our own game (to the extent we can). As Sherlock Holmes put it, “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; true talent recognizes genius.”


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