Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Good Times

Today in class we reviewed for the Understanding Comics quiz tomorrow and began reading Persepolis. Before we did that, though, I showed them a couple more small press publications. Yesterday I showed them SPUDD 64, by Matt Kish, and today I showed them Taproot and Spandangle.

Taproot is a collection of color drawings by Matt Kish; Spandangle is a collection of drawings by me. That's right, me! Gaze upon the majesty of this book:

It's got some fun drawings in it. I put it together in 2006, shortly before I started grad school.

Something you may not be aware of is that I have significantly less teaching experience than most teachers my age. Most of my colleagues majored in Education and started teaching right out of college. I didn't take any education classes, got a degree in English, and then, almost ten years later, decided to become a teacher.

Sometimes when I remember that other teachers my age are eleven years closer to retirement than I am, it's easy to think, "Man, I should have started teaching sooner." But regret is for chumps. If I'd become a teacher right out of college, I wouldn't have moved to Columbus and worked at Barnes & Noble, and my life would be a lot less interesting.

I worked at B&N for six years and met all kinds of great people, many of whom were writers and artists and musicians. There were lots of us who were in our twenties and had college degrees, creative ambitions, and no idea what to do with our lives. Thanks to my time at B&N I met superstars like Xan and Chris Sprouse and Matt Kish.

Disclaimer: Yesterday, when I was raving about how great Matt Kish's comics are, I probably should have mentioned that he's a good friend of mine. You could argue that I'm biased. Fortunately this is just a blog, so I don't have to worry about maintaining journalistic integrity, and anyway the comics really are awesome.

Back in the days when I lived in Columbus, Matt and I got into the small press comics scene around the same time, and went to the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (SPACE) to sell our wares. Matt sold SPUDD 64 at SPACE, and I sold (among other things) Spandangle. I have no idea how many copies I made, but since I only have a couple left, I must have managed to sell most of the print run.

You don't go to SPACE to get rich; you go because you love making comics and you want to share them with people. Even if you don't make enough money to pay your printing costs, you get to talk to like-minded people who are obsessed with the same stuff you are.

So sure, I could have started teaching earlier, and I'd be making more money now, and blah blah blah. But I'm glad I didn't.

Whoa, wait! What's all this autobiographical stuff? I thought we were talking about Persepolis? Yes, we were. And we'll talk about it more tomorrow.

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