A while back I was feeling a little paranoid about somehow losing all my artwork so I started compulsively scanning all my old stuff and uploading it to my external hard drive. It holds one TERABYTE of information – that’s 1,024 GIGABYTES, in case you were wondering. I didn’t even know terabytes existed until earlier this year.
So now I have this little black box that’s continuously being filled with digital copies of everything I care about that can be digitized (mostly old photos, projects, my music collection). It’s a miniature version of that monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I will say, though, that the feeling of security that comes with backing up files on something like this only lasts a few minutes. After that I’m thinking, “What if this thing breaks, AND all my artwork is set on fire?” at which point I have to just go into zen mode and imagine that, if such a thing were to happen, I’d detach myself from all my material possessions and move on with my life. It would be the mental equivalent of how our bodies go into shock to keep us from feeling too much pain.
However, there’s always the internet. The internet won’t break, and if it does, that probably means a lot of other things in the world have broken (like civilization as we know it), so I’ll be too preoccupied with basic survival to worry about where my old drawings are.
So, here are some golden oldies from my middle school years. These are just the covers, since I haven’t had access to my scanner in a while. I’ll upload the full comics eventually, though I’m not sure anyone else would find them funny. This is the kind of thing I (and one of my schoolyard chums, Graham) did instead of schoolwork:
If I remember right, sometime during our 7th grade year (1996-97), Graham and I came up with Head Guy after doing some doodles of people with different parts of their bodies enlarged (I know what you’re thinking and, no, we didn’t draw that. OR that.) The one with the giant head really inspired us, and a comic was born. This first issue tells his origin story, and that of his arch-nemesis, Hat Head.
When it started, Graham and I collaborated on the stories, I illustrated them, wrote them, and Graham did the covers. But he only ended up doing the first three.
Also, I think I shot down his cover idea for this one and a creative falling-out began. If I were to assess our respective styles as if we were working professionals, I’d say Graham had a more quirky, indie-comics thing in mind for Head Guy. I, on the other hand, wanted a full-on Marvel/DC thing. So, in a way, the sordid tale of Head Guy is actually a microcosm for the eternal David vs. Goliath struggle that goes on between indie artists and Big Publishers of any sort.
That means I played the role of the Big Publisher and I was also the sell-out that was brought in to replace the indie guy. Can’t say I feel too good about that.
I have to say, too, that it would be hilarious to hear two middle school kids hashing out creative differences over something like Head Guy. It’d be almost as ridiculous as the kind of analysis I’m performing on this old thing, right now.
Here’s the de facto “doppelganger” story arc that pops up in just about every superhero comic ever.
Apparently I didn’t want to bother coming up with new header text, so I just copied Graham’s old bits from the first three issues…
… and then I didn’t even bother doing that. By this point I’m pretty sure Graham had completely moved on. Head Guy was now a one man show, playing for no one. Except my little brother. I could always rely on him to be my captive audience.
Then, as with any series desperate for re-invigoration, I started adding extraneous characters. Wonder Man? Really? Even by a 7th grader’s standards, that’s just tacky.
And then came the re-invention. “All New, All Different!!!” was something I had been seeing on my superhero comics quite a bit around that time.
The two issues above only have the covers. By that point I was losing interest in it, myself. 8th grade was looming and, along with it, a pressure to grow out of this kind of thing and focus on… I don’t know. Girls, I guess? Unfortunately, I succumbed to the self-consciousness. And Head Guy was no more.