Upcoming Graphic Novel
These preliminary drawings I made in my sketchbook with a nib pen, studies for a long graphic novel I’m doing on, what else …
This is for a flashback episode called, “The Day I Drowned” — which I did, essentially, when I was 11 — revived on the fresh-water beach by a lifeguard.
It opens with the trip from our modest, mid-century modern house to “the beach”: the giant fresh water lake with, I learned the hard way, a helluva drop-off.
My brother, three years my junior, and I would sit in the back seat reading “Mad” magazine.
My Father would hand out instructions for behavior.
Yes, there were palm trees — not blowing seductively in the balmy breeze. It as 93 degrees and dead calm.
Here, rednecks got their necks redder under the Florida sun. Some entrepreneur had imported a buttload of white sand, and there was that (hooray) life guard stand. Luckily he didn’t spend all of his time looking at the girls.
My Mother watched my brothers while I got my feet wet; I didn’t like to go in over my waist. There was a plane flying over head pulling an advertising banner (made ironic in the comic, of course).
I sank like a stone after I hit the drop-off. I remember coming up twice, flailing arms, gulping for air, and could see my Father swimming for me frantically.
I remember my feet settling in the sand, looked up to see the sun waving overhead like a beacon; and I thought quite calmly, “Now I’m dead.”
I woke up on the beach with a lifeguard leaning over me, and half the beach looking over his shoulder.
Back in school the following day, I imagined people would say “I know you. You’re the boy who drowned.” But the other kids never heard about it. And I wasn’t about to tell them. Let them buy the comic, anyway. There are only 500 other stories in there. But this will be the only one about drowning, and I’ll probably have some other character confessing to the embarrassment. Why not?