Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Hello, I am a middle school art teacher. Most of the time I have a few students who are interested in cartooning. In addition to doing my bit, (inking, composition, page lay-out, and so on) I will generally direct them to a variety of web addresses, including several related to you (thanks) or that I have found by following your links (I delight in directing them to Coleen Doran's biography... so motivating!) ...I currently have a student who creates amazingly well drawn, funny, dark, deep, and creepy work which leads to my question: at what age did you develop an interest in horror? Did your folks or friends express concern / dismay at the dark content of your work? What do you tell people who question the validity of violent or horific content in your work? What advice would you have for a young creator who is feeling pressure to "lighten up" his work? My student's work is really somthing special, like many in middle school (8th grade) he feels he is all alone, and although he is very unique I am hoping to convince him that he will find others who appreciate his particular kind of humor, and I suppose, reassure him that he is okay. Thanks so much for this journal, it is a tremendous resource for my students who are interested in writing and comics. Rachael

Er... I don't think I wrote any horror/weird/creepy stuff before I was ten. Although I loved The Armada Books of Ghost Stories, Mike Moorcock's Elric stories, and the creepy bits of the Narnia books before I was ten.

By the time I was eleven I was writing stories for school crawling with Vampirism and Lycanthropy, and doing a sequence of drawings of severed heads on plates (mostly through laziness, because it meant I could skip drawing the rest of the body). For several years (aged 13-15) all of my stories ended with the Earth being destroyed, because I couldn't figure out how to finish stories. Nobody seemed to mind.

I hope that no-one stops your student from writing or drawing what he wants to.