The Comic Strip That the Migraines Couldn't Stop
As far back as I can remember I've enjoyed creating characters and stories about them. I also loved silly comic strips, like Garfield, The Farside, and The Wizard of Id, just to name a few. So it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that I made my own silly and pun-filled comic strip as well. It was about almost anything, including silly alien creatures.
After a time I had even started to work on submitting it to local newspapers. And a daydream of mine was to see my very own compilation book on the shelves of my favorite bookstore: Barnes and Noble...
The start of my migraine life
Then one day in 1998, a month into my 16th year, I woke up with an (intractable) chronic migraine that has basically never gone away. My life changed forever on that day. The pain goes from "manageable" to excruciating, but it never stops completely. The symptoms are basically similar to hemiplegic migraine (blackouts, temporary vision loss, stroke-like symptoms, etc.). Essential tremors also began at that time and seem to coincide with the pain. Sadly, despite years of blood tests and enough MRIs to always know which way north was, the neurologist couldn't find an easily fixable cause nor a completely successful treatment. The cause we could figure out was that I had previously suffered from a number of concussions.
Commonly uncommon symptoms
As you can imagine, due to essential tremors, my handwriting went kaputz! While I could still usually (on manageable days) draw those silly aliens, and comedic action words, like say "POW" or "BIFF", making neat publishable and understandable speech bubble words, especially for long sentences, became frustratingly near impossible. Not to mention the adventure of eating a bowl of cereal...
As the years past, despite the pain, I continued to make the silly comics. I couldn't help it. The characters were a part of me. I could still think up silly comics even on the worst pain days. My comic universe was sorta my biofeedback happy place. It was like a form of therapy for me, a silly way to brighten my day and make those around me laugh. I tried to remain positive. And to be honest it hurts to much to find the energy to be grumpy.
Ludicrous positivity, my lucky break
In the fall of 2013, a culmination of a local fair/carnival event and weather (flooding) caused me to make a silly cartoon. People I knew thought it was hilarious. As if God poked me on the shoulder, I realized that it was quite possibly a once in a lifetime event. So, out of desperation and/or ludicrous positivity, I drew it the best I could and submitted it, imperfect handwriting and all, to a local newspaper: The Harvey County Independent (Halstead, KS)... It was published the next week!
Eating Crow: 5 years of comics
This encouraged me to no end and made me want to submit more comics. The next comic I made proved almost too difficult to write because of those blasted tremors. However, I found out that I could use a computer at the local library to enter text in for the speech bubbles and edit small drawing errors. This opened the creative door for me, and my weekly comic strip "Eating Crow" was born shortly after. I haven't stopped since.
In 2018, after hitting 200 comics in the paper, a fellow local author mentored me in self-publishing my 5th-year anniversary compilation. And since then a couple of my characters have demanded their own graphic novels as well.
And, as of February 2020, my favorite bookstore, the local Barnes and Noble, started carrying on their shelves, my compilation book "Eating Crow: Five years of comics"! Wahooo! A decades-long dream come true!
As for my future plans, I hope to continue to inspire others and brighten their day (and mine as well) with silly humor...
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