I don’t think I’ve really talked about this on my blog here, which is a bit strange, because I’m now more than 500 posts and nine months into it, but … if you ever need a pick-me-up to make you feel better about yourself, you may want to check out my Homemade Comics Tumblr blog.
What is Homemade Comics? Well, here’s the official description: “Between the ages of 10 and 15, I created hundreds of homemade comic strips and comic books, most of which took place within a shared ‘universe’ and stole heavily from already-existing licensed characters. I am posting them in relative chronological order for all the internet to see. Let the shaming begin.” And while, yes, that is the gist, it probably doesn’t delve enough into just how bizarre was my pre-adolescent (OK, and post-adolescent) mind.
I didn’t just make little hand-drawn comics; I made them under the auspices of imaginary comic book publishing companies. I crafted entire, rich “universes” akin to those found in Marvel and DC comics, in which my borrowed and original characters (and my imagination) could run rampant. I created different divisions within those companies and various aliases for me to experiment with different art styles. I “published” newsletters, schedules, and guides to these comics. Most of this was all done for an audience of one: My younger brother Joshua, although there were comics I made exclusively at school done for my friends and teachers (I had a habit of turning my quizzes into comics themselves).
The thing is, though, I learned a lot of the raw skills that I’d later adopt in my adult, professional life, and that passion for self-publishing basically has driven the bulk of my creative career over the last 20 years. I mean, really, everything: ‘zine making, graphic design, journalism, music publishing, even those horrible years running a copy shop — it all can be traced back to the homemade comics.
So, anyway, I’m putting them all out there. Right now, we’re at about mid-to-late 1989, at the tail end of the “Omega Comics” publishing era. That means there are at least two years’ worth of comics up there already (and like I said, that’s spread out over more than 500 posts), and it’s actually pretty amazing, looking back, how quickly my skills as a budding artist developed just between the ages of 10 and 13, and we still have about two more years’ worth to go. If you want to see where all my nonsense started, well, Homemade Comics is the place.