MEET THE COMIC

Every story has a story.

 

The story of this story is that I have been reading comics since the early eighties, and my friend John Hunt and I would create our own little dramas in the yard, although for some reason, he was always Spider-Man and I got stuck with Iceman (There was no Firestar.)

It wasn't until about 20 years later when john approached me with the idea of doing an actual comic book that I ever thought I would have a project of my own. That book, The Secret Monkey, became a mild critical success, but was a tough-sell in the pre-webcomic world.  John, by the way, is now a full-time colorsit and letterer in the comics industry, and a full-time grouch.

Still, it was John who convinced me to take Andy Schmidt's Comics Experience Writing Class bak in 2009,  It was during that class that I learned the real ins and outs of how to put together a good comic story (Not that Secret Monkey wasn't good, but looking back, I probably was not.)

For the class, we were instructed to write a complete 5-page comic story. During the ifrst class, Andy asked all of us to take two minutes and then pitch our idea. Using my vivid imagination and drawing on my long history of comic-reading, I came up with… an idea about a guy writing a comic book.  Andy quickly (but politely) cast that crap-tastic idea aside and urged me to have something better by the next class. I decided to draw from a screenplay that I had been hammering away at for a while about a guy who lives in a small town and robs pharmacies and gives the medicine to the townspeople who can’t otherwise afford it. The idea came partially from my own dealings with the health-care system in this country (For the record, I never robbed a pharmacy. Quite the opposite, in fact.) and from one of my favorite childhood stories, ever since the Disney animated adaptation: the story of Robin Hood.

Upon finishing the class, several of us decided to get our stories illustrated and combine them into an anthology book (appropriately titled Out of Our Minds: Tales from the Comics Experience.). Seeing my five-page script completely drawn, inked and lettered, I was emboldened. Why not keep it going? I would only need seventeen more pages to have an honest-to-God comic book story. Even I can handle that, right?

Turns out, I could, and did.  This story does have a happy ending.