After self publishing my first three comic books on a small local level I recently began working towards producing and distributing my work on a much larger scale. As I began this exciting task I started to remember the hardships I endured throughout my life when I began working towards becoming a cartoonist. These hardships came in the form of cruelty from other people whom I had interacted with. Cruelty that I nearly succumbed to.
Being a fan of comic books and animated cartoons (among other things) made me something of an outcast and when I announced that I wanted to be a cartoonist I became even more of a pariah. Several male members of both my immediate and extended families viewed the arts (of any form) as very unmanly and thus vocally condemned my desire to be an artist. In their eyes men were to pursue activities that demonstrated their physical strength and endurance (like organized sports) and creative activities were for "wimps". One male relative in particular was against my creative desires because he believed that cartooning would make me unpopular at junior high and high school (which it did) and he feared such a negative label of me would make him look bad in the eyes of other kids in school. Other relatives loathed my passions simply because it was unusual and they believed that anything out of the ordinary was a bad thing.
Although I had friends at school who shared my passion for comics and cartoons, most of the kids I interacted with verbally assaulted me for being a fan of that "nerd" stuff. When a teenager is labeled a loser at junior high and high school (for any reason) he or she tend to become the target of painful attacks (both verbal and physical). I was a target for most of my school days.
Adulthood seemed to be a lot less painful. I was free of the "school" environment and I encountered less harsh treatment from people. I even experienced the joy of seeing some individuals from my past who were once against my creative pursuits eventually become fans of my comic book work. Yet adulthood has not been without it's share of pain. I had been dating a girl who shared both my artistic passions and my faith in Jesus Christ. Though we eventually broke up we still remain friends to this day. It was shortly after we broke up that I made a startling discovery. Certain members of her family (both immediate and extended) were very much opposed to her dating me. Why was that so? Because I'm a cartoonist (there were other equally ridiculous reasons as well) and they thought that was really wierd. Once again the strange and unusual was defined as evil.
I've dealt with these trials and tribulations and have become a much stronger individual. I've also learned to forgive those that condemned me. Yes, my life goes on in a positive direction. Still, I'm curious, has anyone else out there suffered such ridicule and agression simply because they wanted to write and/or draw comic books/comic strips?