In which I talk too much about a comic strip I drew 31 years ago.

§ July 7th, 2021 § Filed under wood eye § 4 Comments

So I’ve been in the process of recovering files from ancient (like, 30+ years old) 3 1/2 inch computer diskettes, such as old college papers, textfile back-ups from BBSes I used to frequent, and, yes, my occasional forays into what passed for digital art back then. I posted one sample here from 1991…a silly picture I even used as a start-up screen on my Mac for a while.

And then there was this, a digital comic strip I drew my own self:

My dad had a laser printer at work (an amazing piece of technology no mere college student such as myself could ever hope to afford), so I threw this made-entirely-in-MacPaint drawing on a disc and asked him to print out some physical copies for me.

Printing seemed to smooth out a few of the rough edges, and all the lines seemed a lot darker and thicker. Frankly, I think the printed product looked pretty good…and eventually,. during my Full-Frontal Harvey mini-comics days, I included said print out in one of our publications.

But here’s the image from the original file, in all its jagginess and “humor.” Mostly this was me seeing if I could do a digital cartoon, experimenting with the form, rather than trying to do a knock-out gag. (Figuratively, I mean…Hawk is pretty knocked about at the end there.) And…it looks okay, I guess. I’m no Mike Saenz but I accomplished what I was trying to do.

Some notes:

1. “Hawk” may or may not be named after an actual person I knew. YOU CAN’T PROVE NUTHIN’

2. All the figures in the crowd are the same, just copied-and-pasted over and over again, which I thought was kind of a neat trick at the time.

3. Some work files I made in prepping this strip included something I’d long forgotten about…I had actually written lyrics for Hawk to be singing. They are as thus:

Don’t know why I discarded these lyrics for the gag I ultimately used. I think they’re pretty funny and fitting for Hawk’s sensitive nature.

4. The band’s name “Choleric Wastrels” comes from a handle I used on a local BBS. I may or may not have used that account for some gentle trolling.

5. Why the “F” on the drum kit? I presume that stands for Hawk’s philosophy of “Fair Play,” just like Mr. Terrific.

6. The background in panel six I believe is the standard “brick” fill pattern that I went over with the eraser tool to rough it up a bit.

7. I *think* Hawk’s head shape in panel four is the same one from panel two, just flopped.

8. Somewhere are my layouts for a full (well, 8-page) Hawk mini-comic, in which he witnesses a hit-and-run car accident but somehow gets blamed for it when he tries to chase down the perpetrator. I seem to recall having a good ending to the strip, but this far out I can’t recall it, nor do I have any idea where those layouts may be. Alas, not digital so I won’t find ’em on the floppies I’m perusing…all handdrawn on actual paper, and there is a lot of paper in the boxes I’m looking through.

9. There was a handrawn Hawk strip also in 1990, which had a good gag, but there’s a line from an off-panel convenience store clerk that, in retrospect, didn’t age well. Fortunately the clerk wasn’t the butt of the joke…rather it’s about Hawk’s dichotomous nature of “Sensitive” vs. “Skinhead,” but still, it’ll require being returned for regrooving before reprinting here. Just didn’t know any better at the time.

10. For some reason I defaulted to “nuclear symbol” on shirts I’d draw for my characters. No meaning beyond “it looks cool.”

11. I was going to say that the guitar players on stage look like they’re playing mandolins, but knowing Hawk, maybe they were mandolins.

12. That’s a pretty good trashcan and bag of trash in that last panel, if I do say so myself.

Can’t think of much else to say about that strip. It was fun to make, and frankly I’m surprised I didn’t make more, though I’m finding other examples of digital drawings I slapped together at the time. That includes illustrations I made for the radio station program magazine at California Lutheran University, a school I wasn’t even attending! But that’s a story for another day.

4 Responses to “In which I talk too much about a comic strip I drew 31 years ago.”

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Really enjoy seeing your early creative endeavors, Mike! Thanks for sharing.

  • Jack says:

    Not gonna lie, when I saw the second panel I thought for a second this was some kind of Charlie Brown grown up thing. The art reminds me of all those early attempts at digital comics though, so it gets the nostalgia nod.

  • […] the nostalgia trip from Wednesday’s post are these two free ‘zines which I picked up in the early ’80s at Ralph’s Comic […]

  • […] “brick” paint fill, which you saw on my “Hawk the Sensitive Skinhead” strip I showed you a few days ago. And also like that Hawk strip, I asked my dad to use valuable company time and […]