I had just graduated from the elementary school with high flying grades so I asked my parents to let me shop for my first junior high school outfit on my own. Then out of the blue, dad came up with a dunk tank challenge idea. The rules were that dad takes the suspended seat first and I aim twice and if I missed the target, we would change positions and he aims once.
This cycle was to continue until either of us hit the target. If I dunked dad first then I’d go shopping alone but if he did, I would still do the shopping but under his supervision. Finally, an artist was to make caricatures of the entire funfair, an arrangement that would eventually change the way I perceive comics for the rest of my life.
I was only thirteen but overly full of myself after topping my class. So I took the challenge just to show dad I was no longer a boy but a grown man. This was actually the sole purpose I wanted to shop my stuff by myself in the first place. I took my first throw but unfortunately, I missed, with my shot landing just less than two feet off target. I didn’t want to let dad win so I had to adjust accordingly. Needless to say, I missed again. This time by a whisker but it didn’t matter anyway. My only hope at this point was that dad would miss too especially given that he would only aim once but he didn’t.
For a moment I hated dad for being so accurate but I consoled myself by the thought that for the first time, I wouldn’t go shopping with my mom who dictated what I wore ever since I was born. Although this was not all that I wanted, the change was good enough for me. Maybe dad had figured it out earlier which is why he kept mom at bay whichever way our challenge ended.
I disliked the idea of my own caricatures made when I was dripping wet from the dunk tank but I was taken aback when I saw them. The caricatures were the greatest pieces of art I ever saw. Of course, some exaggerations of my face when I got out of the tank were awful but my envy for the artistry superseded my hatred for the turn of events. From then on, I developed an immense interest in comics. I wanted to be capable of drawing cartoons and making caricatures of similar quality.
Suddenly, comics became everything to me.
I remember what dad once told me when I asked him how I could determine my own passion. He said that my passion was that which I would enjoy doing every day even without pay. For example, an occupation for which I would get psyched up to start work each morning and only return home at the close of business with great reluctance.
By the time he told me this I thought it was a big joke probably because I couldn’t figure out anything that I loved that much at the moment. At long last, dad’s sentiments made sense. I believed I just discovered my passion which I had to pursue.
Writing a comic storyline was the first thing I attempted. My intention was to eventually make it a comic book. After toiling and moiling over it inside closed bedroom doors for three consecutive nights, I finally lost hope when I read what I had written so far and found it horrible by my own gauge.
I knew I could horn my skills and work my way up but the fact that my starting point was pathetic blew my hopes away. I then tried drawing cartoons and the outcome was worse. I had to give up due to the glaring truth that I lacked talent, even a shred of it.
I soon realized that comics had become more of an obsession to me rather than a passion. Even after throwing in the towel about becoming a professional comic artist, I still wanted to read more comic books, comic strips and anything comic. It was already flowing in my blood and even today, three decades later, stopping is out of the question.
I have since become a great fan of Matt Fraction, Jeff Lemire and Brian Vaughan for their amazing authorship of comic books. To date, I have ttravelledto over forty states of the U.S. just to quench my thirst for comics. The most recent comic shows I attended were Mac King’s Show in Las Vegas, Collin Quinn’s Show in New York and the Last Comic Standing in New Orleans.