Raising the Bar and The Comic Book Obsession.

A couple of days ago, I printed a weekly planner to start using it on Monday. Today is Wednesday and I’m already behind. I don’t know about you, but it feels extremely hard to get productive on quarantine. Getting less productive doesn’t mean you are getting less creative. Finding ways to cope and getting yourself entertained during this time is essential not to go crazy. I entertain myself learning how to draw on Procreate. I only have the iPad for about 6 months, but I have been drawing on paper for about 3 years. It’s something that keeps my mind away, I don’t get to focus on anything else but my drawing. Yesterday on my Facebook memories, it showed me the comic strip I created based on my years as a waitress.

I grew up reading comics. My cousin was a collector of Marvel Comics and he used to take a lot of pride in the way he took care of his books. I remember the pile all organized, some of the books still wrapped on plastic and the fascination I had on the unreachable only grew stronger. I also remember being yelled at when I flip the pages of the new ones without permission. I never had permission anyway. Me and my other cousin, same age, used to read it when the owner of the comics was not around, it was a fun, sneaky thing to do as a child. I used to read my own kid’s comics and the English translation for those would be “Monica’s Gang”.

“Monica’s Gang” is a child comic series from Brazil, also translated to English and Spanish, about a group of children living in the same neighborhood having fun, while dealing with different adventures. The cartoonist/creator also implied many different values to the stories and that was the most captivating thing to read, to be able to put yourself in the character’s shoes. Like instead of Rogue and Wolverine with superpowers, you would have a character that is from the countryside having to deal with cousins from the big city, while being a kid, with all the prejudice behind that situation. Another point that wanted me to become a writer, I wanted to be able to create the same kind of story.

A few years ago, while working at the bar in Georgia, I started observing my coworkers. It was a good away to keep the stress levels down and laugh about the situations we were having to deal with. Everyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows that we have to handle the same type of people over and over, the only difference is on the reactions to certain conditions. From that point, I began to compare all the other restaurants I have worked before and the characters were born into my mind like magic. At home, I started drawing those people and to give them a personality, based on the position they had in the restaurant, like for example, the chef is portrayed like the Wolf. Mean, powerful and loud. The hostess is usually a 20 something naive type of person, I only worked with a mean hostess once. To clarify she was mean to me, not the guests. Another very admirable position at the restaurant is the busboy. Snarky, funny and can cause disaster at the entire dining room in no time. There are multiple characters you can create with this environment, so I started creating comic strips about the restaurant industry. I had all the characters and personality types written and drawn, but I can’t find the piece of paper anywhere. I found the strips, but not the character’s sheet.

Here is one of the first ones:

Bartenders are ruthless. Don’t you dare waste their time with stupid questions

For now, drawing these comics strip its what’s bringing me joy right now. It is indeed a bit hurtful to think about what I’m going to write next because they mostly about situations I had to deal with a lot of pressure. Some of them were funny at the moment, and some of them are just funny now.

Last month, read a graphic novel by Robin Ha, called “Almost American girl”. It’s a memoir of Robin and the struggles she encountered, while moving to the United States from Korea, at 14 years old, with her single mom. As an immigrant, I got emotional while reading the book, because the situation she went through are very similar to what we have to face when we move here from another country.

Thats all I have for this week my writer friends! By the way, I got 9th grade level writing on my WritersWorkers app today. I feel smart!

J. Snell

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  1. I totally identify with this. After years of thinking I should produce a graphic novel, I’m finally doing one during the coronavirus. I very much like your art style and the writing is straight-up funny. Publish more!

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