Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My secret origin exposed


My very very good friend and boon companion Leighton C. has posted a very interesting piece about my early small press comics which you can read right here. I stole the photo up above from his blog, but since I made those comics myself, with my own two hands, I don't feel so bad about that.

You see, as some of you may know, I had a childhood steeped in imagery from old monster movies, 8-bit videogames, prog rock album covers, and, most importantly, comics. I had drawn on and off my entire life, but as I moved deeper and deeper into the doldrums of adulthood, I found myself drawing less and less. Then, some time around a decade ago, this guy named Leighton came up from Kentucky to work in the bookstore where I worked. We didn't talk much for a while, but at some point we began to chat a bit about reading habits. The subject of comics came up (I am greatly condensing this here, and relying partially on Leighton's memories too) and he asked me what kinds of comics I enjoyed. I believe he mentioned that he was expecting to say something really mainstream or currently popular, like Superman or Sandman or The X-Men. When I told him how much I liked Jack Kirby, and how his Fourth World comics really blew me away, a bond was instantly formed. Leighton admires The King as much as I, and if you were to add up all the hours we've spent talking about Kirby's comics it would probably end up being a year or two.

Anyway, it was my habit at that time to bitch and moan far too much about how "modern comics suck" or something tired like that. Leighton's response, eventually, was "You like to draw. You should make some yourself." Well, I thought about that for a long time. A long long time. It took me about two years, but I finally did start making my own comic, which Leighton described wonderfully in his post.

What's really important here is this, though. It's almost impossible to pin down the precise DNA for this Moby-Dick project of mine. It really is the synthesis of so many elements of my life. Prominent among these is my friendship with Leighton. Honestly, had he not more or less dared me to make comics of my own all those years ago, I truly think my desire to draw might have eventually died out entirely, which is a sad thing indeed. Leighton rekindled a spark in me. Certainly that spark has guttered and at times almost gone out, but it hasn't. Had it not been for those long-ago conversations with Leighton, hiding in the stacks and talking about comics and art when we should have been shelving books and helping customers, I probably would have never pushed myself to keep drawing with the fire and ferocity that I know is inside me. And all of that leads directly to this Moby-Dick project. The inspiration may have come from Melville and Zak Smith and many other places, but the fuse was lit long ago by my good friend Leighton.

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