A good deal of my perspective on life is founded on surviving 67 years, when many of my friends have not. Somehow, I sailed through a very chaotic youth into middle age, and got through some of the ailments that did in family members and friends. A few rocky surgeries, months of being an invalid, and I’m set to live a long life.

This coincides with much that I know of the history of humanity. In ancient times, the watershed came in several stages. If you could get out of infancy, you had a decent chance of getting to adolescence. If you could get past the age of twenty, you had a fair chance of living to middle age. If you overcame the middle age barrier, you could live to old age, if you didn’t come down with the plague or a virus released from eating certain wild game. How very current.

Then there comes old age, where I am now. I’ve gotten past clogged arteries (I had one of the best surgeons, Harvard trained and a smashing fellow, Dr. Kang), gall bladder disease (good riddance!), and managing diabetes and high blood pressure. My doc says I could live to be ninety.

Okay, now to cut to the chase. I have nine books of about 150 pages length planned. I have to live long enough to finish them. I started the first one in August, 2018, and it is now April of 2020. So I’m looking at two years for the first book. However, getting up to speed and crafting a comic book after forty years of not even thinking about them, that took some time. So I figure I can cut that in half, down to a year or so for each book.  I have an idea in my head for producing deluxe editions of the book in print, but I have time to let that germinate.

Everyone in town's talkingg about that Blueboy, ya kow.

The next thing to put into perspective is the nature of this beast, this comics thing. Despite best-selling authors also being comics writers, I haven’t noticed scads of literary fiction tackled in comics, at least compared to the stuff produced by Marvel and DC. That might be attributed to ignorance on my part. I don’t pay a lot of attention to what other people do. The Literary Hub listed some cartoons as literary fiction comics, but they’re just about reading fiction or being a writer, like Mary Atwood’s Book Tour Comics. Craig Thompson does it, and does it well. It’s stories. Stories is what I like. I grew up on superhero comics, but I think I’m burnt out on that genre. European comics seem to lean more heavily on comics as literature, but they’ve always taken comics much more seriously than we have in the good old U.S.A. I discovered Lt. Blueberry when I was nineteen. Blew me away. In 1972, I had no idea such things existed.

Here’s the rub for me: I could pursue publishers, but I’ve been there, done that. The web makes it possible to be your own publisher, and the reality of publishing is writers don’t make much money. I didn’t go into this for anything other than the love of telling stories with comics. I love this story, which is mostly written, weaving together stretches of tales I’ve spit out over the last dozen years, trying to work out the timeline of the research I’ve done over forty years, but putting it in the context of this axiom I’ve developed with age. It’s all about the point of view of an old man who has studied the world and the lives of people since he was twelve years old, staring at the stars at night, and wondering. I lived in the sticks then, and I could see zillions of them. Like a carpet I might mount and ride away to…something. Something. I suspect this is when this literary journey began, but I didn’t have the tools or experience to see  or describe things as they are. Not then.

The glut of graphic novels and webcomics flooding the market makes it likely that this little thing I’m doing will take a long time to get noticed. I knew that when I began. A few people know and remember who I was in the 1970s. The Comics Journal had a bit about me in 1985. But that was a few generations ago. The taste of the current crop of readers is different than it was then. Even though this story begins about a boy on the cusp of adolescence, who knows if it appeals to millennials? I write the story that needs telling. It might be that people need to catch up to where I am. That would make me sound like Gustave Courbet. 

Courbet, Gustave: The Artist's Studio The Artist's Studio, showing Gustave Courbet at the easel, oil on canvas by Courbet, 1854–55; in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

Okay, so I sound like Gustave Courbet. Cool.

 

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