About 15 years ago, I decided to participate in 24-Hour Comics Day just for a lark. I hadn’t drawn anything more than random doodles in a notebook in over a decade and hadn’t written anything but poetry and prose in 5 years or so. I decided to basically make a comic out of my poetic sensibilities, drank a lot of coffee, sat down with some blank printer paper, pencils, and pens, and produced…”figaro & his friends.” I’d forgotten all about it until doing some unpacking recently. So for this Throwback Thursday, I present to you the one and only issue of “figaro & his friends”:
Here are the first (top) and second (bottom) map sketches of the Five Republics. I changed some names of places and expanded some others. The overall design of the map was heavily influenced by the map in an old Dragon Magazine article by Ed Greenwood, an article that made a big impact on me when I first read it in middle school. (In fact, that article was where I first learned about Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, which is another big influence of mine.)
From 3rd grade to 8th grade, I wrote, drew, and daydreamed lots and lots of comics. One character I created was Monster Man. (I’ve reproduced him here as best as I can remember him.) He was clearly inspired by the Hulk (a pretty prominent character for kids at the time), Forbidden Planet (a movie that made a big impact on me when my mother took us to see a showing of it on the big screen), and my own anxieties about being teased for being shorter and more sensitive than most other boys my age.
Monster Man was a shy, little guy named Tim Id. (Tim Id, get it? Get it?) When Tim was threatened, when he felt nervous or frightened, he would transform into some sort of huge monster, about twice the size of, say, Andre the Giant. The monsters tended to look like a cross between a dragon and an ogre or a smaller version of Godzilla. When I drew scenes with Monster Man becoming a monster, the bad guys were generally scared enough at the sight of him that there was no need for any actual fighting. The bad guys just ran away, drops of cartoon sweat flying off of them, and Monster Man never actually hit anyone.
I haven’t thought about little Tim Id much since middle school, but I still like his punny name and his simple costume. And while it’s been a long time since anyone tried to bully me, I can still call up the feelings of being threatened and teased, and I appreciate the power fantasy of Monster Man. ROOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRR!!!