Friday, September 4, 2009

Weird Treasures

As part of the attic clean-out project, I stumbled across some old newsletters from the Texas Instruments users' group that my father was a member of in the mid-80's. There's nothing so remarkable about the newsletters themselves - essentially, since their dates of issue are '85-'87, pretty much every edition is a non-stop litany of misery, the sound of people who have backed the wrong horse but refuse to give in to the inevitable.

The thing that holds my interest is that in pretty much every issue, there's a one- or two-page comic from me, solicited by my father (who paid me, but I don't recall the amount). The comics starred a character called 'T.I. Man.' The strip itself was called The Adventures of T.I. Man, and even the comic is only of interest as a way of tracking my growth as a draftsman over a relatively brief period. (I hesitate to say 'artistic growth,' given that it's a comic about a superhero who happens to be a T.I. home computer, but there's definitely some ambition on display in these strips.) Even though it is only two years, the period turned out to be the big hinge for me as an artist, the point at which you can see the pieces falling in to place and genuine skill taking root.

Which isn't to say the strips are any good - honestly, they're lousy - but to this day, the serialized story that makes up the bulk of the strips remains my longest completed single comics narrative to date, and that's both impressive and a little depressing. Probably around 24 pages, so it's the length of an average single comic book, in all. But what especially strikes me about them is the density of the narrative, in which a literal shitload of things happen. Seriously, the thing is packed, being created before the twin influences of Cerebus and Making Comics convinced me that extended pacing was important in comic storytelling. Maybe that wasn't such a good thing for me, after all...

Unfortunately, some of the comic is missing - the earliest pages - since the person who was responsible for assembling the newsletters never returned my art and some of my father's cache of TI-NNJUG newsletters were lost over the years (or possibly tossed during the attic clean-up), they're irretrievably lost, but I'm not particularly broken up about it. But what's there will hit the scanner and I'll put up some select stuff when I get a chance.


1 comment:

Ansley said...

TI Man!! Hahaha.. I remember that...