Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Three Stages of Byron (in pictures)

Yup, I posted another random memories. This one is more of an observation, rather than a joke. That's what these sort of strips are for, mostly observations of things that I noticed as I grew up. Whether they make you laugh or make you think, or both or neither, it's mostly something that I just have to get of my chest.

Don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about? Click here www.room19comics.com and see what all the cool kids are talking about these days.

I like Eddie and the guys, but every five or six weeks, I need a break from him. In these instances, I journey back to when I was a kid and illustrate my thoughts. Though the names of the shows have been changed, the fact remains, each year summer got shorter and shorter. It had nothing to do with the weather, global warming (which should've made it longer) or changes in the calendar. It was the quest for the almighty buck.

When the department stores started advertising their "Back-to-School" wares, I wanted to throw my sneaker through the TV. And those bastards would push the sales up a week earlier every year. When I was young, it would start around the end of August. As I grew a bit older, they'd move it to mid-August and while they haven't been so brazen to do it around the Fourth of July, that day will come.

When drawing a comic, it's sort of hard to show aging (of just ten years)in the drawing of the character. I mean, it can be hard ... especially when you have him or her in a seditary position. Normally, you can make the person taller, more developed, etc. But here, I was in a bit of a pickle, because all I was doing was watching TV. Height, development and other tricks of the trade aren't as applicable.

So, I had to do the next best thing ... I had to change the environment. This also distinguishes this strip from the latest Garfield.

In the first panel, I'm playing with Star Wars figures, the TV gigantic (we actually had a TV like this and was one of the last sets around that were actual pieces of furniture), there's an Atari on the TV and there's the typical bowl haircut. Plus the zeitgeist hosting the show is the popular dude of the day, Gary Coleman.

In the second panel, everything is different: He-Man is the toy, the TV is a bit smaller, there's a Colecovision under the TV and I have a spiky mullet. I couldn't think of a really interesting star to host the show, so I thought of the funniest person. Good old Jackee Harvey. You might remember her as the sassy upstairs neighbor from "227". Just writing that line made me laugh.

By the way, and I don't mean to pat myself on the back, but I really think I did a good job on the jams and the OP shirt in this panel. Especially the shorts. I own a pair like that now, but I thought it fits the whole 1987 vibe I had going there.

In the last panel, I had to keep the pattern going, even though realistically, I didn't collect baseball cards at the time. I did have the Nintendo Entertainment System and I tried to grow a high top fade. Too bad, no one told me that I was white as hell with a misshapen head and already receding hairline. And I grabbed the star of stars in the early 90s ... Jaleel "Steve Urkel" White.

If you were wondering what shirt I was wearing in this panel, it's a 1992 USA Olympic team Michael Jordan shirt. The Dream Team was the best thing that I'd ever seen. Just awesome games, pure dominance. Even though Christian Laetner was on it instead of Shaq or Isiah Thomas, there will never be another team like that, ever. It was the perfect team (11 of those guys were part of the 50 best NBA players of all time) at the perfect time (basketball was becoming the king team sport). It was probably all down hill from there, but what a mountain top. Just stunning.

I added the tag line at the bottom because I thought that the strip needed it. Does it? I'm not sure. I bet it could stand on it's own, but the final tag line is sort of my kiss off to the advertising powers that be. Yes, it's not very forceful, but it does serve it's purpose.

On Thursday, I plan on writing a pretty lengthy Blog entry, so come on back for that. Some interesting crap has happened in the last few weeks.


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