Last year I wrote a little story about my Dad on Father’s Day.
Here’s another one.
My Dad wasn’t into comic books when I was young, but he knew my brother and I were crazy about them. It felt like every waking moment was a cavalcade of reading, collecting and non-stop chatter about our favorite characters. If we were good and kept up with things he needed help with at home and the cottage he’d bring us along when he went downtown once or twice a month. He’d go pay the utilities, or the taxes, or stop by the church to make a donation and we’d go to the comic book shop.
I know it sounds weird but I don’t actually ever recall him going in to the store with us. He’d go run his errands and then wait for us outside. He didn’t “get” it, didn’t have any interest and I think staying away from the store kept us from asking him for extra money. The point is, Dad never bought comics for us, never browsed through a comic shop and had zero knowledge of the ins and outs of four-color fandom beyond the occasional episode of Batman or the Incredible Hulk on TV.
Cut to late 2010 and I’d just launched Skullkickers at Image. I’d been working at the UDON studio for seven years at that point on illustration projects and, when ever possible, I’d try to get my Dad a copy of books that were published with my artwork in it. I assumed he’d want copies of Skullkickers too but, when I asked him about it, he told me he didn’t need it. I thought he wasn’t interested because it was comics, but the truth was far more heart warming.
My Dad, the guy I can’t even recall stepping foot inside a comic shop, had gone to one of the stores in town and set up a pull file just for Skullkickers. Every month, a day or two after the new issue came out, he’d head up there and buy a copy.
Apparently this went on for four months until the store owner finally struck up a conversation with him.
“Excuse me, sir. I notice you come in here every month like clockwork and buy that comic, then leave right away. Clearly you’re a fan and that’s great. We’ve got all kinds of other fantasy stuff, games and books. Can I show you some other things you might be interested in?”
From what my Mom told me, Dad was a bit thrown off but then he told him.
“Oh, no. Thanks. I… My son.”
He smiled and pointed at my name on the cover.
“My son made this comic.”
Needless to say, that kicked off a whole other conversation and they’ve been friends ever since.
Now both my Mom and Dad go in to buy new issues and Mom browses the used fiction they have there too while the shop owner keeps them up to date with other comics I have coming out. Dad picks up each Skullkickers issue from the same store, but lets me give him any variant covers we do because those are a bit too expensive.
I honestly don’t know if Dad reads Skullkickers and, if he does, if he understands what it’s about or why it means so much to me. But he knows it’s important to me and that I made it, so it’s important to him too.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. You’re the best.