Sunday, April 10, 2011

A radioactive pencil bit me

Sometimes people ask, "How did you get started in writing?"

I could talk about reading F. Scott Fitzgerald or Edith Wharton or Leo Tolstoy or Charles Dickens and feeling so inspired I sat down with a quill and a scroll and poured forth a novel.

But the truth?

Comic books.

In third grade I read J.R.R. Tolkien's THE HOBBIT.  It was wonderful.  And a challenge for my limited reading skills.  But it was BIG.  Wizards, dwarves, goblins, hobbits.  And not just any wizard, but Gandalf wielding Glamdring.  And not just any monsters, but Smaug, the great dragon.  Heck, even the battle wasn't a battle between two armies.  Oh no.  Tolkien had a battle with FIVE armies! Awesome.

I was eight years old and I knew I couldn't write a book like that.

But comics? Comics were friendly.  They were short in pages, but epic in storytelling.  Marvel, DC, Charlton Comics, Classic Comics and all the rest were accessible.  I knew how to draw, and color, and I could write simple dialogue like, "Hulk smash!"

So I got a spiral notebook, turned it sideways (landscape view), and wrote a story.  I made up a plot, drew the pictures, and filled in the dialogue.  In my story, the Fantastic Four teamed up with Spiderman to stop the Hulk's latest rampage.  By the end of the story, everyone became friends.  Hulk and Thing even shook hands.

The main difference between my spiral notebook and a regular comic, other than the art and the writing, was that all my characters were cats.  Human bodies, with cat heads, and cat tails.  Spidercat, Kitty Hulk, etc.  Okay, that's kinda weird, but the point is that when I wrote/drew the last page, I had told a story.

And there I went.

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