As a young boy, the only creative thing I wanted to do was draw. You couldn’t stop me from sketching the most random things and sticking them to the walls of my family’s home. Holidays especially. When Halloween came around, every window in the house had a drawing of some monster hanging in it. I was obsessed. It became even worse once I discovered the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! God bless the late 1980’s! After my exposure to the Turtles, that’s all I would draw. I even went as far as sketching out each character on notebook paper, two inches tall, coloring them with my crayons, cutting them out and acting out adventures with them.
In the summer of 1990, I had just turned 11 years old. My Grandfather, taking me to get a belated birthday gift, brought me to this little novelty shop he had passed in his travels. This place sold a lot of things, but mainly comic books. More importantly, they sold Ninja Turtle comic books. I was allowed to pick one thing and my eyes fell upon a copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #13, published by Archie Comics. That was it. My first step down the road that would make me the creative person I am today. But every great journey has pain and sacrifice…
A few months later, in the early part of January 1991, there was Winter Storm. My neighborhood was covered in a layer of snow and ice. While playing with my friends in my back yard, a tragedy befell me. Trying to slide from one fence to another, I slipped, fell and impaled my right ring finger on a jagged section of the fence I was reaching for. Blood, pain, screams, more pain, helplessness. When all was said and done, I had severed both the tendon and the nerve in my finger. Two surgeries, six months in a plastic splint and a lot of physical therapy later and I got my hand back. Sadly, I was never able to draw with the same style and detail as I once had.
During my time healing and after becoming frustrated with my inability to draw how I once had, I retreated into the world of my comics. The comics led me to reading children’s books, the children’s books led me to my mother’s collection of Stephen King novels (not everyone was comfortable seeing an 11 year old reading ‘The Dark Tower‘ with such enthusiasm). The only drawback to all the reading was I had no way to take all the fantastical images in my head and draw them for the world to see. I was creatively stifled. Or was I?
That’s right, folks. At the ripe age of 12 years old, I knew I was going to be a writer. What choice did I have? If I wasn’t able to draw the stories floating around in my head, I was damn well going to write them out! No matter how long or short they were. I haven’t stopped since. And I owe it all to comic books. Especially the Turtle comics. Also, I must give credit to my own stupidity and not having the smarts or the respect for cold weather and sheets of ice. To this day, I fear the winter months.
- Back To The Comics: Ninja Turtle Devolution (rockojerome.com)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: City Fall – The Comic Book Covers (thecomicbookstop.wordpress.com)