Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reflection #34/40

When I was little I would draw every night before bed. I filled notebooks with pictures of soldiers, robots, monsters, UFOS, and super-heroes. But they weren’t just pictures—they were stories, made up as I was drawing. I would draw the robot, and then draw the UFO shooting the robot, and then draw the explosion, one on top of the other. It ended up being an unreadable mess.

I remember staring down at the drawings in my notebook, wanting to share these storie
s, but knowing that no one else would be able to make any sense of them.

In fourth grade, when Dale Floyd French 
and I started making comics for each other’s amusement, I discovered that something had changed—he could understand them. It is an amazing feeling, to realize that you can combine words and pictures to tell a story, a story that other human beings can read and enjoy.

The first time I got a chance to share a story with a mass (meaning more than one person) audience was in fifth grade, in Mrs. Watkins’ class. That was a wonderful school year. Not only was Mrs. Watkins a great teacher, but I was lucky enough to be in the same class as Dale Floyd French and Michael Houchens.

Most importantly, when Mrs. Watkins found out that Dale, Michael, and I were making comic books, she asked us to display them in the back of the room. Every so often she would let the class go to the back, where everyone would choose a comic, take it back to their desk, and read it. Thanks to us, the class got a break from work. We were a hit. We created comics like Modern Art, Battle of the Century, One-Issue Special, Messy Comics, and the Barn Bots, and characters like Drip-Drop Man, Spot the Rainbow Dog, Chappy Chapstick, and Fuzzball & Scuzzball.

(Side-note: Around that time, Marvel Comics was celebrating its 25th anniversary, and it seemed to me like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four had been around forever. Next year Fuzzball & Scuzzball will be celebrating their 30th anniversary. More than anything in the world, this makes me feel old.)

Nowadays I draw a weekly Fuzzball & Scuzzball web comic. I have a much larger audience now; the web comic is read by literally dozens of people. While I enjoy drawing it and posting it online, it doesn’t compare to the thrill I had in the fifth grade, sharing my work with the other kids in the room.

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