Today would have been my father’s 62nd birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away from a sudden heart attack while I was in Japan. It made me sad for the obvious reasons but also because he never got to see this comic. Mostly because he was the inspiration for it in more ways than one.
When my father was a kid, he was a massive comic book fan. His favorite comic was Daredevil and his hero was Jack Kirby. He idolized the man and wanted very much to be just like him. While my father was in high school, he drew all the time and at one point had even made his own comics. When I say made, I mean he penciled them, inked them, and lettered them all by himself. I feel like if he’d stuck with it, he could have done pretty well for himself.
The problem was that my grandparents were church going folk from the south and they didn’t see any use in it. At one point, my grandmother made my father give away all of his comic books. This included the entire original Daredevil run which would be worth some serious change today. What was worse was at one point, she threw out the comic books he’d made himself. He never quite recovered from that and rarely drew other than a few doodles. Despite this, he never told me not to dream or want to create. He showed me Calvin and Hobbes books and took me to comic book movies.
One of the reasons I was so determined to make a comic book was because they had told my father that he couldn’t do it. I wanted to make a book and hand it to him. I wanted to let him know that his parents were wrong.
When I originally came up with the story, it was vastly different. The best way to describe it would be crude. It was way more profane and ridiculously immature. However, when I finally decided to make it a more serious story, I needed to find something to ground the story in reality. I decided to use what I saw. My grandfather was a successful man and was well known in my hometown. He was a pastor, a politician, and an educator. People knew who he was. My uncle was a successful businessman and very much like my grandfather. While my father was successful in his own right, it was a different kind of success and because of that he was always looked at as different. I took that dynamic and used it to set the tone for the story you are now reading.
But my father never got to read it.
Still, I am glad for the time that we got to share and appreciative of his constant support. I wish he could have seen the finished book, but I know that he would have loved it.
Happy Birthday Dad