Okay, so here's the story.
In one of my grade school science classes, my teacher asked the class to bring in something from home for an experiment the following week. He suggested maybe a baseball might work, or a basketball, or an apple. You get the idea, right? Something roundish. Something that could be easily rolled.
Honestly I don't recall the specifics of the experiment or what we were testing. More than likely this is because I honestly didn't care.
I was a terrible student.
I was a worse student than Dr. Phil is a therapist.
Anyway, most everyone int he class managed to bring in something roundish, and something capable of rolling. Most everyone, except my friend, Mark. Mark was a dunderhead. (Yep, I typed the word dunderhead) and Mark forgot to bring something in at all. With nothing available, he opted to try and roll his pen.
He failed miserably.
And I mocked him mercilessly for it.
Just when he thought I was done making fun of him, I decided to make him the lead character in a comic book called Pen Man.
Soon enough my little seven page joke was making it's way around the class. My friends liked Pen Man. The class liked Pen Man. A few of them wanted a copy, so I made some photocopies and sold them for a buck each. It wasn't long before they wanted a second issue.
People started calling Mark, Pen Man.
In fact, they called him Pen Man more than they called him Mark - which annoyed him to no end.
When I moved away a few years later, I kept on drawing Pen Man.
I don't really know why I did it. Pen Man expanded into other books and soon enough my little brother (who came up with some characters of his own) and I had created, Novak Comics.
When I got into High School, I was still drawing Pen Man. I drew him in the library. I drew him at lunch, and I drew him in class when I was continuing my legacy of awful studentry. (Which I know isn't a word, so shut up.)
You might think I would have stopped scribbling on typing paper in my free time and stapling the pages along the edge, but I didn't. Pen Man was still a part of my life. Though the time I had to draw Pen Man had dwindled to almost nothing, I was still plugging away.
When I graduated, moved to California and got married?
Yep, still doing it - at least for a little while.
Eventually I did put the kibosh on the adventures of Pen Man and the whole Novak Comics thing as a whole. It was hard to do, but it had to be done. By that time I'd probably drawn well over five hundred issues - which is both sad, and a bit remarkable.
Mostly sad, though.
For years now these books have been gathering dust in my office. The paper is crinkling. It's turning yellow and its getting brittle. These things simply weren't made to last, and because of that I've been slowly scanning and converting them to digital files.
Because I have nothing better to do with my time and apparently love to embarrass myself, I've decided to turn them to PDF's and upload them all to Scribd for the world at large to "enjoy."
A part of me hopes Mark is still out there somewhere and he'll stumble onto them.
Maybe, for the briefest of moments he'll remember how much he hated it when everyone called him Pen Man and cruse my name through clenched teeth.
Thats the kind of stuff that brings a smile to my face.
You can find all 35 issues of the original PEN MAN series HERE with more on the way.