Hanging up my drawing gear and bidding adieu to comic book making

Drawing and making comic books have played an integral part in my life when in 1996 a bunch of wonderful and talented individuals shared a common interest in unleashing some of the wackiest, zaniest and sometimes out-of-this-world ideas spilling out from their heads with their insatiable longing to share it to the entire, lonely universe… thus the Bedbugs bred into this world and dwelt among the humans. Never was a single day that I found myself not holding a pen as I sat in front of my shabby study table reading the scripts while relentlessly doing the pencils and inking the entire day all the way ’til the early hours of the morning. The satisfaction of seeing your finished work getting published (or photocopied in our case) and selling in several establishments we were consigned to was just indescribable. This went on for several years… and all I ever did was hope and wish that this shindig would last forever, the blissful feeling was a natural high for me even though it was a continuing struggle for all of us to get ourselves, and our works as well, noticed. Our hard work paid off eventually, we’ve made a small mark in the thriving underground art and comics scene then though it may not be grand or overwhelming but Bedbugs was now starting to gain attention… we still had a lot of ideas to dish out and projects to fulfill, but it was during the turn-of-the-millenium when things were starting to change as reality started biting us deep, waking us up to realize it was time to get ourselves a life and a real job as well. I’ve got to admit that I was hesitant to make that move, Bedbugs was everything to me, we’ve gone too far to stop dead at our tracks and make a sudden turn. I wanted Bedbugs to establish itself as a group that people will remember for its tons of published work that they enjoyed reading…

But facing the realities of life was a bitter pill to swallow, and I eventually gave in to that reality in 2001. As I started my new life as a “working class hero” by landing a job as a copywriter/producer for a local cable channel. I was consumed with tons of workload in the weeks and months that followed while I found myself working my ass off meeting deadlines and staying late in the office to edit videos and other stuff… little did I notice that the pens and papers that were once my closest buddies lay silently in one lonely corner of my room gathering dust and totally abandoned.

For almost 10 years my mind was set on just earning money so I can buy myself this and that and surprisingly, never did it crossed my mind to go back and pick up my pen once more and start drawing again, let’s just say that I totally fell from grace so to speak and I somehow lost that fiery urge to be able to achieve and complete an entire comic book like I used to in the early days. I may have that slim chance to rekindle that dying flame within me as a comic book artist, but it was soon replaced by another hobby that I vowed to pursue as soon as I had more free time in my hands… photography. Now that I declared myself a retiree at age 38 after finishing my almost 3-year stint as a web content writer for an outsourcing company in Ortigas and capping-off my “illustrious” career with another freelance work of the same nature for the next 3 months, I began to wonder out of the blue if I do still have that “magical touch” in drawing… to see if I still had that umph! in cramming dozens of panels in just one comic book page. One day I grabbed a pen, a marker and a piece of paper and started doodling on several studies for Made in X’s profile avatar, which unfortunately ended with unsatisfying results…

The two small logo artworks I did for Made in X’s Facebook page

The photo that you’re seeing right now above are the two studies I did and surprisingly, this took me almost an hour just to complete the pencils and inking whereas I could have done these in 10 minutes or less! Well since it’s been more than a decade since I last drew, I said to myself that I just needed a lot of warming up just to get me started, but it was only recently that I tested myself once more and I was able to come up with this female character holding a camera, hoping that I could use her as the main character in an upcoming comic series that I was conceptualizing… but the intensity and enthusiasm that once became my driving force in everything was no longer there, and now she’s only good as a pin-up girl adorning an avatar space for my Facebook page. Though it hurts me to admit but I think I’ve already lost it… a simple artwork can now be a struggle for me, what more if I attempted to do an entire page with tons of panels in it! I wish I could find a way to get out of this misery but for now making comic books is out of my vocabulary and I too on one hand have now retired from this once beloved passion of mine that has kept me afloat in my creative bubble during Bedbugs’ heyday.

The last female character study I was supposed to use for a comic book that I’m developing, which ended up as an artwork for Made in X

15 years have passed and yet the Buggers still get to meet occasionally, though majority of us are now busy doing their own thing it is still nice to know that some of us are still pursuing that dream and now that technology has given us more options in promoting new stuff (and hopefully pick up the others from where we left off) with the use of the internet. It sure would be nice to see the other Mites’ artwork or comic book published online, unlike back in the mid to late 1990’s where we had to rely on P.R., word-of-mouth and getting numerous consignments in helping to promote the group and our works altogether. Though it was my own decision not to participate in their current undertaking in developing an online comic book site, I still am proud of these peeps who still hold on to that Bedbugs dream of  spilling their insects from their heads and infesting the world with more comic book stories that will one day get the attention of the entire human population… And now as I tuck away my drawing gear inside my closet, all I have to do right now is sit back and watch these guys from the sidelines slowly unfold and turn this long-time Bedbugs dream (hopefully) into reality…


4 thoughts on “Hanging up my drawing gear and bidding adieu to comic book making

    • Well, I’m not totally closing my doors on drawing and comic book-making, it’s just that I need more time to gain momentum before I can pick up my pen and finally focus my attention to it. Maybe I’m not just that ready, it’s been more than 10 years since I made my last underground comic book and it’s going to take a lot of patience and perseverance to get my groove back so to speak 🙂

  1. Glenn,

    You know I’ve been writing for over twenty years. Six novels later, short stories up to my armpits, a mountain pile of rejection slips later, I’m still at it. No published work. It doesn’t get any easier, the rejections. But I’ve kept writing. I write and will continue to write because talent doesn’t come into it. I write because I wouldn’t be me otherwise. Self-doubt is the enemy. Always has, always will be. We carry the torch under the threat of rain and pray to our Gods for some shelter down the road before the torrential storm blows out our fire. We write, we draw because talent doesn’t come into it. We write, we draw because we wouldn’t be us otherwise. When you give that up that fire, you give up the world.

    No one is saying what you draw should be great. No one is demanding that every panel be magical. All we can do is do the work. We trudge in the wet and we shout “FUCK YOU!” to the rain. We are who we are. We don’t surrender. We never give up. We shout “FUCK YOU!” to anyone who tells us to quit. Talent has nothing to do with it. We do it precisely because it’s hard. We do it because it’s impossible. That’s what gives it value and meaning. That’s why IT matters.

    Draw. I want you in our corner. All I need is a yes and I’ll send you the script.

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