Apocryphal Ink

28 05 2007


Bet you didn’t know I used to be a “stripper.”

A long, long time ago…back as far as the early 90’s, I reckon, I decided that I wanted to create a comic strip. I had been reading and laughing my ass off to Gary Larson’s “Farside” strip since the late 80’s, and in the early 90’s a friend turned me on to Berke Breathed’s “Bloom County,” an absolute watershed moment in my life. It was only natural that I, being the creative and artistic fellow that I am, should try my hand at writing and drawing my own strip. It looked so easy…
As you can see, my results were far short of my high expectations. I figured out pretty early on that I was no Berke Breathed. The fact that I couldn’t draw the same thing the same way two times in a row was a big hint. Then there was the problem of a “concept” (I didn’t have one), and then there was the further problem of a “signature character.” Charles Schulz had Snoopy, Jim Davis has Garfield…my signature character looked vaguely like a cross between Andy Warhol and that little yellow bird in the Peanuts cartoons.

Rather than get discouraged, I reassessed the situation. As much as I loved “Bloom County,” perhaps my comic strip talents were more toward the hilarious and surreal absurdism of Gary Larson’s “Farside.” It had the built in advantage of only having to draw one panel, and I didn’t have to draw the same characters over and over again.

I wasn’t taking any chances, though. I bought a book about drawing, and another rather expensive book about “How To Draw Comic Strips,” and skimmed through them one afternoon. I needed a title. Something that stood out. It needed to rooooooll off the tongue because I could imagine people standing around the water cooler asking one another “Say, did you read (insert cool sounding title here) this morning?” Also it would have to look good on the box that the little “Page-A-Day” calendars would come in.

In my research, I came across the word “Apocrypha.” I don’t remember now why, or how. Maybe it was fate. I looked it up in the dictionary and was greeted with writings or statements of dubious authenticity. “Dubious” seemed to describe what I was doing perfectly, and “Apocryphal Ink” was born. Things were going well, and I was thinking “syndication,” when another problem arose. Beyond the obvious fact that I can’t draw, it turns out that I’m not very funny, either.It is a testament to the talent that these people possess, I think, that they make it look so simple, so easy, so effortless, that I for one moment entertained the notion that I could emulate them. I’ve known all my life that I can’t draw. If I gained anything from the experience beyond an appreciation for the creative work that comic strip creators do, it is the knowledge that I’m no comedian.

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One response

7 06 2007
poetinahat

Ah, “Frampton Comes Alive!” Your strip brings back memories. Now I have to start drinking again….

I’ll be chuckling for a while. You cover a range, from Bertolt Brecht to this! I’m impressedd

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