August 22nd, 2010

Baby and me

30 days on writing: Entry #26: The illustrated Young Geoffrey

What is art?

Pencils and pens and ink, o my!
Detail from page 1 of 'The Laughing Fish', Detective Comics #475, February 1978.
Details from page 1 of 'The Laughing Fish', Detective Comics #475, February 1978. Artwork by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin. Batman copyright © by DC Comics.

The meme continues ...

26. Let's talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

There was a time when I did a lot of drawing and I at least contemplated making a living as a cartoonist. That dream came to a crushing, tearful end, sometime in the very early 1980s, when I read an issue of Detective Comics pencilled by the late Marshall Rogers (see accompanying panel) and "realized" that I could never be the artist he was, and so threw down my pen.

At least, that's how I remember it, but the chronology according to the Wikepedia link above suggests my memory is once again distorting the truth to make a better story. But at any rate, it is true (I think) that in the early 80s I had what I believed was the profound realization of my own limitations as a draftsman and that I cried about the loss; and it is true (I know) that my last completed comic book was an issue of Captain Canada, numbered 22 and dated December 1, 1978. (Which actually parses with the Rogers memory, if I push the date back to about that time instead of placing it in the 1980s. But I digress.)


Cover of Captain Canada #2, January 16, 1976. Click here for a larger image.
Cover of Captain Canada #22, December 1, 1978. Click here for a larger image.

Whatever the exact date, I gave up on drawing, convinced I had at best only a talent which hard work could see me developing to a point of competence, not genius. I had no burning desire to settle for being the next Sal Buscema.

As I think the images show, I had actually grown significantly as a cartoonist and I am no longer so sure in my judgement at the time that I didn't have the necessary inate talent to make it with my pen.

But I did give up, and I don't think I'm likely to embark on the training that would permit me to develop my skills to a level I would find acceptable.


"The Question" illustration by Chris Graham. Click here for a larger image.

Which means that, no, since I gave up cartooning I have not drawn any of my characters and neither has anyone else since 1981, when Chris Graham (whatever happened to Chris Graham, I wonder!), illustrated a scene from "The Question", which I printed in the first issue of a school magazine I edited, The House of the Dying Tree.

Looking at Chris' drawing for the first time in quite a while (the man did it in ball-point pen!), reminds me that I do still fantasize about seeing my name in print on a book, complete with cover drawing or painting.

And in truth, should I get The Jewel of Eternity into publishable shape, I think I already know who I want to paint a cover illustration. Might you say "yes" to a commission, Nelly?

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