Here’s what I remember:
I remember being in the 7th grade and finding a copy of Peanuts Treasury in the school library. It made me want to be a cartoonist.
I remember doing comic strips for the school paper in junior high. There I met another artist who is one of my best friends to this day.
I remember meeting T.K.(Tom)Ryan, the creator and artist of “Tumbleweeds.” If you want to see really great comic strip art, look up “Tumbleweeds.” The two things I remember about Mr. Ryan is that he was incredibly tall (I think 6′ 10″) and he had kind of grumpy phone voice, but couldn’t have been nicer in person (never judge someone by their phone voice).
I remember meeting Jim Davis just as he was on the cusp of stardom. He lived in the city of Muncie then, not too far from the Ball State University campus. He had just gotten the proofs back of the cover of the first “Garfield” book collection. He looked at my comic strip samples and didn’t throw me out on the street as a no-talent hack even though he would have been entirely justified in doing so.
I remember wanting more and more to tell “stories” in comic form, even though I didn’t have the artistic talent for the story I wanted.
I remember starting a family. And giving up drawing comics.
I remember hearing the Vince Guaraldi music for the Peanuts specials every fall and winter and thinking, “Maybe I could still do that.”
I remember finding out about webcomics and deciding that maybe I could do that too. (Krishna Sadasivan was a big influence here)
I remember figuring out how to set up this website.
I remember that this strip was originally going to be called “Rooster & Ryan”.
I remember originally setting up the first publish date as my 50th birthday, then moving it up a day so I could plausibly claim to have started this while still in my 40s.
I remember the strip leading me to interact with people that I still think of as my friends, even though I only met one or two of them in person. If you’re one of those people, know that I’ll always think of you as my friend.
– – – – –
Here’s why Ryan’s Dad is coming to an end:
I’m burnt out on pencilling.
Really, it’s that simple. I still like writing the strip, and I still enjoy inking it. (For all my art flaws — my many, many flaws — I like the pen line I use). Inking feels very freeing to me (unless I smudge the ink. It’s happened a few times)
But pencilling seems like such a chore to me now. It feels like I have to drag myself to the drawing board to get it done. Which would be a little more tolerable if I were at least getting paid for it.
It’s been a while since I started this story. It’s now finally done because I couldn’t stand to just let this go unfinished. That said, this was never intended to be the final story. Fortunately, it works out that way pretty well.
People always say your job should be something you love. My feeling has always been more like, why take something I love and turn it into a job? So I’m finishing now while I can.
I have some other things I want to work on. Including a story that’s been in my head in various forms since I was in my late teens. I’ll get around to talking about that another time. In another place.
This website will be up at least through May. Anybody who wants to is welcome to go through the archive. I’ll find another place to put these strips. Maybe Tumblr.
For now, thank you for reading Ryan’s Dad. Some of you even kinda liked it. And that means a great deal to me.
Farewell from the analog man.