What if No One’s Watching

b&nThis picture is from two weeks ago when I did a Q&A/signing with many other fantastic local cartoonists at Barnes and Noble.  My lovely daughter Sophie is standing next to a sign promoting the event.  She is happy to have her picture taken because she is very excited about showing off her new shark tooth necklace.

To say the event was moderately attended would be generous.  It was pretty dead.  It was pretty humbling, to say the least.  I was pretty nervous and conflicted about this signing, but still excited about it.  A few months ago I blogged about ‘making a comeback’ on the local comics scene and thought this would be a good event to get back out there and see if people still…ah, liked me, I guess.  I used to do events like this quite often and were usually pretty successful.  Successful as in “people showed up”.  I was interested to see if people would show up.  They mostly didn’t.  I sulked about the event for most of the weekend, sitting in the basement, wearing black clothes, listening to the Cure and writing in my journal about how no one understands me.  My wife was pretty awesome when it came to talking me out of my mood.   Here’s the thing: when someone tries to cheer you up you can listen to them and let them bring you out of your current mood or you can linger there.  She said it was a pretty nice day, there wasn’t a lot of time to promote the event and considering the other talented people at the event (freaking Eisner-nominated Zander Cannon!) it was still a pretty sparsely attended signing.  People weren’t specifically ignoring me, there were ignoring all of us.  So that cheered me up, if that makes sense.

5As a writer, you should write for yourself.  Write what you want to write.  And I agree with that.  But I think you also need to keep your audience in mind.  I can absolutely tell you that many stories were shaped the way they were with my readers in mind.  When I sat down the day after the “event” I asked myself what kind of Uptown Girl story would I write if no one read it?  I started at the blank page for a while thinking about that.  At the time I was (and still am) working on a story called “Learning How to Smile”.  I knew what the next scene would be and I started to write it in a little more…well, I don’t want to say darker but a little more honest.  I wasn’t pulling any punches or softening it at all.  Without giving too much away, Ruby is talking about something that is happening in her life.  I could have easily written the scene without the emotional depth and detail that I did, but this felt….well, it felt right.  It really captured the complexities and the conflicting emotions of Ruby’s situation.  It still fits within the world of Uptown Girl, but it’s a little weird to write this scene when only a couple weeks ago I drew a comic with Uptown Girl getting chased by a dinosaur.

Anyway, as you can probably imagine, the story I am working on doesn’t have a lot of action in it, just a lot of talking, as seen in the picture above.  Drawing a story that is built on dialogue is a challenge.  It needs to be visually interesting to keep the reader’s attention, but careful not to be distracting.  The story also needs to be interesting to draw.  Too many pages like the above page get boring really fast.


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Living with the Awful Truth that We’re Not as Cool as We’d Like Other People to Think We Are

So.  I’ll be doing a book signing/panel with Zander Cannon, Andy Singer and Tom Kaczynski at Barnes and Noble at Har Mar Mall at 2pm.

I am a little conflicted about stuff like this.  On one hand, stuff like this is usually fun.  On the other hand, nothing makes you feel more like a loser than being a guest somewhere ( a book signing, a convention) where no one pays you any attention.  I want people to come, but then again, if people come, then they might see that no one is there and therefore will realize that I suck.  Thank goodness I’ll be there with three very talented people.  I am sure people will come see them and maybe by proxy people might think I am less lame.

Cartooning and positive self esteem don’t always go hand in hand.  I constantly think I suck.  If I draw a lousy page, I am convinced I am terrible and should just give up.  When I read a comic by a cartoonist that I like, I really want to give up.  Some people feel that if they did they’re very best and tried as hard as they could, well, they did all they could.  But for myself I wonder if I am as good as I could be.  I’m not the best out there, not by far, but could I be better?  Am I capable of more?  Should I take another art class?  Should I pencil more?  Should I ink with a brush?  Should I draw more realistic?  I don’t know.

Anyway, I don’t expect to ever know if I am as good as I could be.  When ‘Big City Secrets’ came out, I was convinced that it was the best work of my career.   I was convinced that I couldn’t do better than that.  But looking at it, there are parts where I know I could do better.  I hope I get better with each book, but I am not sure.  I think I think too much about this.  Or maybe I don’t think enough about this?

I don’t know.  Sorry for the rambling.  I don’t want you to think I am going through a personal crisis or anything.  I’m having a really good day, to be honest.

So, here’s a picture from the current story I am working on, currently titled ‘Learning How to Smile’.  It promises to be the most depressing Uptown Girl story ever.  Again, I really am having a good day.  In fact, this whole weekend has been awesome.


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Both Sides of the Story

When I start thinking about something and I have a strong opinion about it, I try to write an Uptown Girl story about it.  I find this very helpful especially when I can see multiple perspectives of something.  It does get a little difficult when I can see both sides of the story.

I’ve been writing Uptown Girl for over ten years now, and the characters are so clearly defined and real to me that writing their dialogue is a breeze.  I usually don’t even have to think about what they will say…the words just appear on the paper.  It sounds great, right?  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.  Sometimes the characters say something and makes the story or scene go in a different direction that I had originally planned and all of a sudden the story goes into unplanned territory and it takes on a life of it’s own.  When this happens, it can be exciting and I am just as excited to see what happens as anyone else.  But it can also go terribly wrong.

“But Bob!  Aren’t you the writer?  Can’t you control the story and the characters?”

Well, sure.  I can…but I can’t ignore their personalities and their motivations.  Take this unlettered page for example:

13Here we have Uptown Girl talking to her friend Diane at Diane’s daughter’s birthday party.  Uptown Girl is talking about something I’ve been thinking about lately.  My daughter is six and a half years old and plays with Barbie dolls.  We all know what Barbie looks like and what she wears.  I sometimes wonder if she should be playing with these dolls.  She also likes to read Betty and Veronica comics, and they are also very…ah, shapely.  As her dad, I am aware that she is going to be shown certain…perspectives of beauty and appearances and wonder if these toys and comics will have an influence on Sophie’s own expectations of herself and her own self-esteem.

Anyway, in this story Uptown Girl wonders the same thing.  The idea for the story was Uptown Girl using her powers as a newspaper writer to start an open dialogue about toys/self esteem.  Uptown Girl’s opinion would start to gain some traction and influencing others and creating a bit of a movement.  Eventually her cause would gain national attention and ultimately the attention of the toy maker.  And then the ending I had planned was going to be pretty funny.  (And yes I am aware that there was a ‘Simpsons’ episode with Malibu Stacy that sounds like this but trust me, this was going to be different.)  Anyway, after visiting a toy store, she and Ruby stumble upon Candy, the Barbie doll of Uptown Girl’s universe.

3Anyway, Uptown Girl starts to wonder if girls playing with these dolls is a good thing for them or not.  This is the part of the story where my own thoughts leak into the story…and where seeing things from multiple perspectives can paralyze my thinking and prevent me from ever forming an opinion.  Ruby disagrees with Uptown Girl and says that she played with dolls like this when she was younger and doesn’t feel that they influenced her.  Ruby has this opinion because both of my sisters played with Barbies and read Betty and Veronica and they are two of the smartest people I know.  One sister is a lawyer and the other teaches classes about gender and women’s rights.  Ruby’s opinion is her own and feels very much like Ruby would say.  So…great, right?  The problem is that as a writer I feel I HAVE to have Ruby say this.  It’s true to her character.  But it also pushes the story from moving forward.  If Ruby agreed with Uptown Girl, then the story would have more momentum.  But her opinion pushes the story back a bit.  And that’s okay.  Not everyone agrees with her. She sees her view, but doesn’t 100% agree with her, saying that it’s not the responsibility of the toy maker to build the self esteem of a person, it’s the parents’ job.  And I agree.  That’s my opinion finding its way into the story again.  If I think ‘Call of Duty’ is too violent, I shouldn’t complain to Infinity Ward, I should simply prevent my kids from playing it.

The next part of the story has Uptown Girl bouncing her story idea off of her editor, Mean Mr. Mustard.  Here we have another opinion that is different from Uptown Girl’s.    And again, that’s okay.  Now we have the perspective of a dad and he talks about his own daughter playing with these dolls.  He says that his daughter played with them, but he also took her fishing.  He talks about how a parent needs to get involved in shaping their kids and their interests.  This was kind of a funny scene and is true to both of their characters but again, kills the inertia of the story.  If Uptown Girl is going to influence people on a national level, she first needs to win the support of her boss and her best friend.  So far, nothing.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, back to the party.  Uptown Girl goes to the party and starts to talk about this to Diane.  Diane says that she totally thinks about the same thing that Uptown Girl is thinking about, but Diane says (trust me, even though there isn’t any lettering, she says this) if Candy dolls were the ONLY toy Rosie played with, then yes, she’d be a little more concerned but she also says she and Rosie’s dad wrestle, she draws, she rides her bike, she plays soccer and has a lot of other interests.  1901386_10152268652694789_54410928_n

And this is the same for Sophie.  Sophie draws more than I do.  Sophie can out-monkey bar, out-climb, outrun anyone I know.  She knows all the Disney princesses but also every member of the Justice League.


Uptown Girl brings up self-esteem concerns and everything else she’s been thinking about and talking about to Ruby and her boss…and then BOOM.  Diane gently says “This is going to sound kinda…mean, but for someone without kids, you seem to know a lot about raising them”.

This is a HUGE line for a few reasons.  In the ten-plus years I’ve been writing these characters, no one has spoken to Uptown Girl like that.  The line sounds gentle, but trust me, there’s some bite to it.  As a parent, I get a lot of “advice” from those without kids and very little of it is helpful.  I know they mean well, but they usually have no idea what they are talking about.

Back to you, Diane.

Uptown Girl’s response?  “I…yeah.”.

The story comes to a screeching halt.  As a writer, I am delighted to see these characters and how well-formed their personalities are.  I am also happy to see so many different opinions about such a complicated issue.  But as a writer, I have no idea where to go next.  Uptown Girl’s story has not been met with a lot of enthusiasm.  I suppose I could go back and rewrite the scene and have Diane say “That’s a good point, Uptown Girl, tell me more” but I also feel that Diane has been raising her daughter for years and is pretty smart herself and she has thought about this kind of stuff before.

So, the story is dead.  It’s been a frustrating story all around and has been for years.  I started this story three years ago and was originally meant for the second Uptown Girl graphic novel, “Little Adventures”.  I got 9 pages into it and couldn’t make it work.  So I set it aside and found it again.  I tried to pick up where I left off but…again, it’s not working.  After only 13 pages I’ve had Uptown Girl bounce her thoughts off of three people and it’s not going anywhere.  As a writer, I am kind of tired of writing the same thing.  As an artist, I am struggling with the art.  The first 9 pages were drawn on a smaller size, back when I thought drawing smaller would mean more productivity.  But it’s hard for me to draw this small.  The pages are filled with mostly talking heads and there’s little room for action, gesturing, backgrounds and all that.  When the writing is falling a little flat, I try to draw better to hopefully carry the weight of the story a bit.  But there’s no room to really flex my drawing skills here.

There’s something liberating about walking away from a creative idea when it’s not working.  It’s kind of like quitting a job you hate or finally tearing yourself away from your village in ‘Animal Crossing’.  I am excited to get back to the drawing board – literally – and starting a new Uptown Girl story.

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Man in the Box

Collaboration is not easy.  It requires people to have the same creative vision and the same temperament and same work ethic.  I don’t work very well with other creative people.  And it’s pretty much my fault.  I think of myself as pretty creative, and I am usually pretty stubborn when it comes to admitting someone else came up with a better idea.  So I don’t work with other people on creative projects as much as I used to.

Beside Ben Mudek doing the book designing for the Uptown Girl graphic novels, I really only work with Brian Bastian.  I met Brian while working at Toys R Us back in…I don’t know, the early 90’s.  We worked well with each other, always bouncing ideas off of one another.  He’s really the only person I’ll run an idea past and will listen to his opinion.  Brian wrote about a third of the monthly issues of Uptown Girl and wrote the first original graphic novel and a few short stories since then.  I am happy to say that Brian will be coming back and writing a new Uptown Girl graphic novel, but he and I are also working on another project.  This new project is truly a collaboration.  With Uptown Girl, if he writes a story and there’s something that I think doesn’t quite work, in a way, I have veto power because Uptown Girl is “my” thing.  But that doesn’t happen often.  Brian is a better writer than me, he’s funnier and more clever, so he does just fine.  However this new project is something he and I created together.  It’s straight up 50/50.  We have to both agree on ideas, character developments and all that.  So far it’s working out.

The way we are working together on this project is quite unusual.  He’ll give me the script, I’ll draw it and then we work on the dialogue together.  It’s a throwback to the old Marvel method.  So far the story is about 30 pages in, and there’s been three different styles of the script.  The first part of the story the script was something like this:

Oh wait, since the project isn’t officially announced, I suppose I can’t really show the script.  But let’s pretend the script was for Uptown Girl.  The script went something like this:

Uptown Girl is at the music store.  She wanders around for a bit.  Suddenly the ghost of Beethoven appears in front of her.

So I would storyboard it and draw it leaving room for the dialogue and word balloons.  Brian would then come over and he’d write the dialogue to fit what I drew.  It’s a but of a risk to work this way, but a lot of fun.  We’ve been getting some really great lines just by being spontaneous when looking at the art.

A second script style we’re using is a fully scripted script with complete dialogue.  Neither of us particularly like this style, but for scenes where exposition is necessary, this method is pretty much required.

The third style is even more simpler than the first style and lends itself to the most creative and potentially dangerous work.  I say dangerous because I don’t want to draw 20 pages of something and then realize it’s not going to work.  The story requires a flashback, and in Brian’s script he wrote something like “we flash back to 1964 where (the character) is involved in a typical spy adventure”.  Now, for something like this I can do quite a bit.  I can use this direction to tell a character’s origin, to draw something really fun, to show the character’s personality, to introduce a new supporting cast member…the potential is endless.  I could turn that direction into a 5 pages sequence or a 50 page sequence.

So last night I drew the first page of the flashback.  I wasn’t 100% certain what this spy adventure would be, but I decided it would start with a little…ah, spying.  Here’s the page:

30When I got to the fourth panel, I realized that I had no idea what was in the boxes.  Are they smugglers?  Are they stealing the boxes?  Since I didn’t know, I decided that the character didn’t either, so I drew him contemplating the crates.  “I’ll let Brian figure out what’s in the boxes”, I thought.  But after I finished the page, I saw in the second panel there’s a guy walking away from the van, so obviously they are unloading the van, not stealing them.  So, theft is not the angle I can work with.  Then I thought there are two different ways I can go.

1) There’s something in the boxes that needs to be retrieved, such as they contain equipment to build a weapon

2) The boxes could be used for the main character to hide in in order to sneak into the building.

I looked at the the third panel and realized that there’s no way a guy looking that stupid would be entrusted to handle dangerous supplies, so by default, the character would use the boxes to hide in so he could get inside.

Suddenly a story that starts with a page drawn without any real idea as to where the story was going started to take shape.  I have some great ideas for the man in the box.

So, there’s an insight into the creative process.  It doesn’t work for everyone, it doesn’t always work for me, but I am very happy when it does.


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This Father’s Day

When weakness turns to power
When evil turns to good
When the helpless are remembered
By those who never would
You’ll start to know the way I feel about you

And if I could, I’d run out into the street
And scream to everyone I meet
That I loved you more than words could ever say
And that I loved you more than life this Father’s Day

-Peter Himmelman

So, my dad finally left us when I was 17 years old.  It was long overdue.  I did not have a good relationship with him, and was afraid of him all of my life.  For the 15 years after that, Father’s Day meant pretty much nothing to me, if it meant anything at all.  When Sophie was born, I was 32 years old.  A few month’s later I had my first Father’s Day as a dad and it was pretty great.  I like being a dad.  It’s pretty fun.

As a creative person, I wondered how much of an impact fatherhood would have on my life.  I knew my drawing time would be reduced drastically, but I also thought about how much it would influence what I created.  I didn’t want to fall into the trap of writing stories about being a dad or about the funny/weird/cute/frustrating things Sophie did or said.  I liked having a pretty broad range of stories in Uptown Girl.  Some funny, some action-y, some personal, some mystery…and I wanted to stay away from “here’s another story about being a parent”.  I was smart enough to know that having a kid was going to be the biggest change my life ever had, and I knew it was seep into my creative work.  I also knew I would WANT to write about having a kid.  I couldn’t very well have Uptown Girl get pregnant.  I mean, I COULD but that would shake up the status quo of the book more than I wanted.  So instead I had her friends Jake and Diane have a baby.  I did a story about their baby from both Jack’s and Diane’s perspective.  Everything they experienced, thought and said were things my wife and I did.  It was a wonderful creative outlet.  They gave birth to a little baby named Rose, and they quietly disappeared from the comic after that.  I wanted them to go and live their lives with their little girl, but I also wanted to remove the temptation of writing stories about parenting or the hilarious misadventures of Rocketman babysitting.

Sophie is now six and a half and I had a little thought recently.  For years I’ve been fighting against fatherhood influencing my creative work, but what if I stopped fighting and see what happened if I let it win?  Now, just to clarify, I write and draw things for Sophie all the time, such as the children’s book I am doing, but this would be different.  If I had let fatherhood influence my creative work right after Sophie was born, I think I would have done…I don’t know, a comic book or strip about all the cliched experiences kids create or about being a dad.  I’d become a sitcom writer, crafting stories about a bumbling dad or something.  But Sophie and I have adventures, she has an amazing imagination.  She’s brave, funny, smart, athletic and curious.  So a few days ago, I wondered what Sophie would be like if she was in a comic book…but the imaginative adventures we had were actually true.

We live next to huge wooded area.  Ten feet outside our front door and we’re in another world of thick trees, huge ponds, tall grass, paths, and wood ticks.  We explore the woods all the time and talk about the goblins that live there.  This would be the world Comic-Book-Character-Sophie would live in.  In a matter of days, I had a story, a world in my mind.  My brain has been bouncing around non-stop.  The idea and world revealed itself to me in such a short time that it was like the idea was waiting to be found as opposed to me having to hunt too hard for it.

Creating characters is something I love doing, but this was a little different.  The character’s personality, temperament and attitude already existed in my daughter but letting the fictional character develop on her own is also important.  I did not want to make the character Sophie in every sense possible.  Sophie is busy being six, and doesn’t have time to be a comic book character, so I decided not to name the main character after her.  This would help drive home to me as the creator that the character was influenced by Sophie, but she is not Sophie.  Make sense?  It makes sense to me.

So, I want you to meet Cecelia:

first drawingCecelia comes from a long tradition of comic characters wearing a red striped shirt…Linus and Calvin come to mind.

I have no idea what will come from this idea.  Or when I will do it.  I am wrapped up with Uptown Girl, the children’s book and the secret project Brian and I are working on.  The wonderful thing about having an idea is being able to create a new story or character…but once an idea is strong enough, it becomes impossible to ignore.  I will probably live in Cecelia’s world for the next few days in my mind.  It’s not a bad problem to have.

Like I said, Sophie and I tell each other stories about the goblins in the woods near us, so I let that be the start of the idea.  Soon I had a title for the first book and this afternoon worked up a little image that had been in my head all day:

cover mock upAgain, I have no idea when I will have time to work on this…like I said earlier, being a dad takes up a lot of my life.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.



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This Was All a Bad Idea

The next Uptown Girl book will be a collection of some short stories but will feature a big story that will take up about half the book.  I am working on page 76 of it right now.

Aaaaand it’s not working.  First the good points:

1) The art, for the most part is fine, I’m happy fine with it despite the number of challenging things I am drawing.

2) The character’s motivations for what they’re doing is solid.

3) It’s a silly idea with multiple stories going at once and they all tie together well at the end.

4) It’s a pretty funny story with some great lines.

Well gosh Bob, what are you complaining about? 

The problem is that I get closer to the end of the story I am realizing two things:

1) Like I said, the art is fine, but the ending requires me to draw things that are, frankly, over my head.  I am a decent cartoonist but this is out of my depth.  It’s a humbling, frustrating story.  Seriously, drawing the ending to the story makes me want to quit comics because I suck.

2) The plot is rather silly, and it’s almost too silly for Uptown Girl.  There are things happening where anyone in their right mind would just shake their head and acknowledge how stupid things are.

I’ve thought about abandoning this story all together but I’ve gone this far and I am morbidly curious to see how things end.

I didn’t get much done today that I am proud of.  Again, this is a very humbling artistic story.  Seriously, I suck at comics.  But I realized that if I think the situation in the comic is stupid, then the reader will think so too.  And when I say stupid, I am not necessarily saying “stupid/bad”, this is more…well, “stupid/WTF”.  Sometimes “stupid/WTF” can be good, but man, I am not sure here.

So as a tip of the hat to you, the reader, I want you to know that Uptown Girl ALSO thinks this whole tale is ridiculous.  I don’t break the fourth wall, but I do want Uptown Girl to acknowledge just how bizarre this is.  Here’s the final panel of page 76.



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No Girls Allowed

Superman first appeared in Action comics #1 in June of 1938.  He did a lot of Superman-y things, such as using his alter ego to track down criminals, bring criminals to justice, chase devildown gangsters, and investigate corrupt politicians.  All of that in the first issue.  Everyone who interacted with him in that short 12 page story had a different opinion of him.  Gangsters thought he officewas the devil, the governor relieved that he was on the side of law and order, and some, well some didn’t know what to think.  Not only did Action Comics feature the debut of Superman, it also introduced Lois Lane to the world.  Superman rescues her from a gang of bad guys in the remarkable fashion of stopping the car she was in, picking it up, shaking out the occupants and saving the day.  Lois, understandably, is a little apprehensive, to say the least.  If Superman is capable of this, what he would he do to her?  Well, he tells her:

meetingSuperman went on to make history and sold over 3 million copies of Action Comics each month in the 40’s.  THREE MILLION.  Just to put that into some context, last month’s top seller was the first issue of the relaunched Amazing Spider-Man which sold 532,586 copies.  Half a million copies is nothing to sneeze at, but these days that is a HUGE number.  Superman would also go onto inspiring copycats, everyone from Batman to Captain Marvel Shazam.  Before Bill Finger stepped in, Bob Kane planned on making Batman just as colorful and heroic as Superman.  Yet another reason we all need to be thankful for Bill Finger.

pic013Many readers today feel that Superman is a little out of date, that his Boy Scout manner is a little corny, naive and irrelevant in today’s Grand Theft Auto world.  But the best writers use Superman in a way many don’t.  Many people focus on his powers and abilities.  But the best will craft stories around his character, his personality.  Yes, Superman is strong, but he’s also strong enough to be gentle, as depicted in this scene from All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly.  Superman can be a hero, but he can also be an inspiration.  Many characters in the DC universe are inspired by him.  They look up to him.  As they should.

So, what’s the point of all this?  I’ll get to that.  Eventually.  As I get older, I think about the roots of popular culture.  My son Ryan  just turned 15 a few months ago, and like many teenagers, he loves video games.  He doesn’t know how different his world is from the world he grew up with in that regard.  Not long ago we went to a used video game store and found some old Atari games still in the package.  Here’s the front of the box that Atari games came in: AtariCircusAtariBoxFr(1)


















And the back:



















The stupid box didn’t even have any pictures of the game.  You had NO idea what you were kidding.  These days you can download demos, watch trailers online and see pictures in magazines.  But back then you had no idea if you were getting the next Pitfall or the next E.T.  Those were dark days.  Thankfully Ryan has played the games I played growing up.  He’s played and beaten the original Super Mario Bros and many other games from the first Nintendo.  Of course these days it’s all about Titanfall on his X-Box 1 where I will sit and mourn the glory days of the GameCube.

It’s amazing to me that so many of his friends and kids his age have very little experience with early video games.  Video games these days are amazing.  I am continually amazed by them, but even more so when I think about how simple they used to be.  I love watching kids Ryan’s age try to struggle through Death Mountain from The Legend of Zelda.  It’s the modern day equivalent to walking to school uphill in the snow.  Both ways.

Video game players and comic book readers tend to overlap.  I think more comic book readers play video games than the other way around, though.  I’ve been thinking a lot about Superman and the early days of comics lately.  As I get older I am more interested in golden age DC and silver age Marvel, but I am also working on a comics project that is a homage to those early days of comics.  I know I sound like an old man, but just like I think Ryan and his friends need to play video games from the 80’s, even if it’s just for a historical perspective, I think comic fans need to go back and read those first issues of Action Comics and everything else.  I think it’s important to remember where our favorite hobbies originated from and the basis from which they were formed.  Of course, it’s easy to draw an opinion about those stories by just looking at them.  Simple art, hand lettering, offset coloring…but there’s something more.  Spider-Man is the same character that he was in 1963.  Superman is the same character as he was in 1938.  Superman should still inspire the best out of us.  And yes, there are those that will say that he is out of date, but you need to understand this:

meetingAnd you need to remember that the first person Superman punched was this guy:

womanSuperman doesn’t hurt women.   He stops people who do.  He fights for those who can’t.

If you are not inspired by this, I don’t know what to tell you.  If you read comics, you need to know this.  Superman inspired a whole industry.  If it weren’t for him, there likely would not be Iron Man movies, or Avengers party favors or Batman video games.  This comic is where all this comic book culture…and fandom started, people.

I am bringing this up because there is a huge problem with comic book readers.  And I will get this out of the way now: I know not EVERY comic book reader, but let’s face it, this is a problem we all have to fix.

If you’re online, whether it’s Facebook, Tumblr or any other social media site, or if you’re keeping up to date with comic news via comicbookresources.com or bleedingcool.com you likely have seen too many stories about women being threatened and harassed by male comic book readers.  There’s also too many stories about male comic book “professionals” saying horrible things about female characters.  It’s becoming more common these days, or perhaps it’s always been this way but we’re just hearing about it more.  As a father, as a cartoonist, as a comic book reader this is really depressing and frustrating and really makes me angry.

We…readers, retailers, writers, artists, all need to be like Superman.  Superman doesn’t hurt women and neither should we.  Superman defends women, and so should we.

All of this baffles me, to be honest.  I don’t know why people don’t treat others nicer.  There seems to be a feeling of “NO GIRLS ALLOWED” in comics these days.  Online, in comic book stores, at conventions…when I was in high school feeling geeky and lonely, I would have loved to meet a girl who was also into comics.  The idea that some guys want to exclude females from this world is the exact opposite of what I hoped for all those years ago.  Anyway, I wrote a comic about it.

no girls allowed


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