25 Years of Strips.

February 28, 2018Posted In The Road To Watson

old.jim.comics
If I had to guess, I think I’ve been drawing weird, one-panel strips for about 25 years. As memory serves, I first started drawing my one-panel strips when I was a sophomore in high school, which would’ve been sometime around 1991. Naturally, I’d been drawing comics and doodling in sketch books my entire life, but I think it wasn’t until high school that I finally came upon the idea that one-panel strips were the arena in which I felt most comfortable.

When I was growing up, there was such a lack of good information on what cartoonists did and how they did it, I really had no idea how large daily strips were actually drawn. Believe it or not, I used to cut full-sheets of poster board in half (24″ x 36″) and draw my one-panel comics on those. – They were enormous! Then, to see what they would actually look like in real “comic strip size,” I used to ride on the school bus to school with these giant comics wrapped in garbage bags and hide them in my locker until I could use the photocopier in the library to shrink them down at lunch time. The comics were so big, I actually had to tape the first round of reduced photocopies together, so I could fit both halves of the reduced strip on the copier for the second, final pass. I can’t remember how many quarters each strip actually took to shrink down, but when I finally got to see my giant strips in that magical, tiny newspaper-size it was truly wonderful. I think I used to stand there in the library trying to calculate how many more years of school and tests I would need to survive before I could actually become a “real” cartoonist. It seemed like so many years of awful impossibility it felt like trying to hit the bullseye on a dartboard that was on the wall of the moon. It was so far away I have no idea how I managed to keep from completely unraveling each and every day. It was sort of like waiting for a Christmas morning that wouldn’t happen for another fifteen years.

Naturally, there are a million other tiny stories in-between (some of them hopeful, many of them heart-squashing), but I’m not sure I can describe them all right here, right now. – For now, just know, that the story kind of has a happy(ish) ending, and it isn’t entirely over yet, either. – I’m still hopeful that a few special things will still happen, and they very well may. In truth, I really can’t believe that I’ve managed to stick with it for so many years, especially the one-panel thing. I have no one secret or insight other than the fact that I seem to be pretty good at forgetting how long it’s actually been. – What a long, long, very strange journey it’s been. —  I’m glad I’m still at it.  …I think.

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