*Originally published here with the same title.*
I can’t believe I never thought about this before. My boyfriend loves comic books and for his birthday, I decided to make him the hero of his own comic book. Actually, one of my group members from my Beer Appreciation class suggested it. After reading Fun Home, I felt even more motivated to go forth with this project. Plus, it’s a new genre—combining images with narrative—that I’m curious to explore.
I went home that day and was determined to create a comic book. I pulled up a couple of pictures on my phone and started on a fresh piece of paper. With a black pen in hand, I began to draw his face, using the pictures in front of me as a reference. He has a prominent widow’s peak and the darkest black hair I have ever seen (I don’t think it’s natural, but I pretend not to notice). This part was easy to draw. His eyes are round and he can either look very tired when his eyes are slightly lowered or very shocked they’re open wide. Tiny ears poke out the side of his oval-shaped head. And although he complains about having a beard, he still grows it out. I may have mentioned that I like the beard on him, but I also assured him that if he really hates it, that he can shave it off. It’s his face and he can do whatever he wants. I drew a beard.
When I was finally done drawing, I smiled and felt accomplished. I looked at my drawing and then at the pictures. Then back at the drawing again. That’s not Victor. And so, I came to the disappointing realization that I can’t draw.
I switched my focus to the story instead. Writing is my thing. This is where I will shine. I knew that I wanted to make him the superhero. My references would include the movies I’ve watched and the bits and pieces that I’ve learned over the years from my dad, my brother, and my boyfriend about comic book superheroes. As soon as I began writing down ideas, I immediately felt better. I quickly filled up two pages with ideas for the backstory because every hero has an extensive back story. My excitement grew as I rushed to catch all the ideas flowing out of my head.
On our way to breakfast, I told my brother about my idea and then about the plot. A few minutes into the story he said, “Okay, I’m gonna have to stop you right there.”
My voice trailed off and I said, “Oh.”
“You’re describing Thor.”
“What? Are you sure? I don’t think I’ve even seen that! Okay, what about this…” and I pitched another idea.
“Well, now you’re describing superman.”
God damn it.
So, my creative project turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated. I decided to look back at my drawings, hoping that my initial reaction was just a result of my dramatic nature. The page was buried underneath a pile of graded work. I held the page in front of me and studied it.
He’s getting a new tie.