Years ago Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book about how when a certain number of events occur then someone goes out a tips a cow… or something like that.
I think right now I’ve reached that proverbial tipping point when it comes to My Geek Odyssey.  As we start our fifth year I’m going back and looking at some things I’ve done (mostly what I haven’t done) and after a series of events am thinking about the direction we are headed.

Basically the recent events that I elude start with Watching Dear Mr. Watterson on the flight to visit family over the holidays, & then on the same trip visiting the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.  From there it seems that a lot of little and not so little things have been pushing me.  From the submissions for the Circle City Aerodrome art show. Having my first table at a Con (next week’s INDYpendent Show) which led to having a banner made.  Watching Stripped a wonderful documentary about the history & future of comic strips.  Hanging out with some wonderfully creative people  in the Indy Webcomics Group and teachers passionate about the power of comics in education. All added weight and then today- the proverbial straw the broke the camel’s back- A retrospective of Bill Watterson’s work at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State.

Cecil is ready to take a look at the exhibit.

Cecil is ready to take a look at the exhibit.

I came in thinking I needed to change some things up and had started taking some steps in that direction (signing up for a few MOOCs on Comics, rereading some of the classics like Scott McCloud’s Making Comics).  I left shattered… the whole “I am not worthy” vibe but also thinking “What can I do to become worthy?”

Last night I got to a point in Making Comics where a small card fell out of the book… it was the original card I had made up when I started this whole crazy endeavor.  It was pretty simple.  one side was a section of my original drawing of Tink and me, on the other was the dictionary definitions of “Geek” and “Odyssey”.  As I looked at this card, I started thinking that maybe I’d strayed from my original intent… I still don’t know, but thank you Bill Watterson & the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum for giving me an idea as to what I need to do, and where I need to go.

Like I said, I left the exhibit shattered… an emotional wreck.  Not something you would think could happen to someone looking at comic strips, but it happened to me.  I looked at the concise storytelling, the art, the layout of the comics… all were genius.

IMG_1701The exhibit is divided into various sections including the original strips and pitch , something on each character along with the various reoccurring themes, the tools he used and his inspirations.  I started with the original concept and moved around the room taking it all in.  I know I need to return some weekend and just sit at every section and really take it all in.  It’s like watching a movie and knowing that you missed a bunch of things so you have to see it again, and again.

Because of what I saw I am going to reexamine my past strips and see what I can learn and improve upon.  This is going to be a long process and with the real world intruding it will take more time than I can imagine, but I will update you as to the process and how it is going.  I’m not going to stop drawing, but as you have noticed my productivity has not be great recently… hopefully with this renewed vision it will improve, but that will take time.

If you are in the area for the INDYpendent Show, I’ll be there and we can chat.  If you have the opportunity to visit the exhibit in Columbus, I recommend it… but if you ask me to come along, bring tissues.

I still get torn up by this comic... even in just pen & ink.

I still get torn up by this one… especially in just pen & ink.