For some reason in middle school our teachers gave us an assignment to play pretend with our futures. The teachers wanted us to bring a costume for what we'd look like in ten years. We had to write a bio for our future Ten Year Reunion and have our picture taken. Five year plans are ridiculous. Ten year plans? Who's got the time for that? That's how I felt then, and that's pretty much how I feel now.

 Image taken from ImgFlip.

I ditched the costume, exasperated my teacher, and that dumb picture of me is in a bound book somewhere at my folks' house. Ridiculous. I suppose our teacher's thought it'd be a bit of a laugh for us once we were grown. They were always making us do that kind of crap, like having our class make a time capsule. Who the fuck cares what a bunch of 13 year olds put into a time caspule? If David Bowie made one, that's one thing, but my middle school time capsule would be a major disappointment to anyone.

Installation shot from the exhibition David Bowie Is at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Image taken from The Irish Times.

At 13 my dream life was this: I'd be single, living on the beach with two dogs, and working as a newspaper cartoonist. Unlike Jordan Stringer who was probably going to be on Broadway or Shavaun Cotton who would be a doctor, my plan wasn't popular with the teachers. Maybe it was "single" that threw them off or the sheer laziness of a life spent making cartoons and lounging on the beach. My future newspaper cartoon was "Siblings," an actual comic I worked on at the time. It was about me and my brother with my brother playing the straight man while my character acted like a Muppet . Again, not so impressive with the teachers.

A nostalgic sketch about my brother and the comic I made.

13 year old me made a simple, solitary, and amazing life plan. Maybe that's why it's mostly worked out. I've got two dogs, and even though I'm in a committed relationship, marriage has never been as important to me has having my own, independent life and doing my own thing. I make comics, even though I'm not syndicated (I don't know the first thing about newspaper syndication). I don't live on a beach, so that kind of sucks, but overall, I'd say I've just about achieved my goals.

Me and my dogs not being on the beach.

Somehow I've accidentally stumbled into that old, ten year plan, just, you know, 20 years later. It's only been in the last couple of years that I've come back to comics as a serious consideration in my career and mostly for the same reasons I had when I was 13: cartooning is a tough but solid way for an artist to have a real job. So I've got twenty years of cartooning to catch up on. It'll be worth it once I get that beach house.

Tracings of iconic comics for study.


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