early 1978 | age 9 Darth Vader strikes down Ben Kenobi, and Ben disappears! This might actually have been one of the most bizarre occurrences in the 1977’s Star Wars—truly in your face supernatural. Vader choking Motti without touching him, could be mesmerism, but not this. It also might be one of the most bizarre moments in my comic version—and Marvel’s!

Art Notes: Not this time—short arse!

It’s hard to believe this was done after I saw the Marvel comic version in April or May 1978, but it might have been. And look at how it was drawn the first time—below? Ben is so small! You know, before I did a Lucas-style tweak and perfected it. I did fix it straight away though. Not 20 years later. I think that’s allowed. (I stripped away the revisions in Photoshop)

ben Kenobi and Darth Vader lightsaber duel in this 1978 star wars comic page

Short-arse Ben! (I stripped away the revisions in Photoshop)

Ignoring the Rules of Basic Anatomy

Over-confidence in your own abilities is a terrible thing. You get told in every school you go to to that you’re the class artist, brilliant, etc… so don’t bother to learn about BASIC RULES OF ANATOMICAL PROPORTION! “Nah, I’m brilliant, what do I need rules for? Borrrrr-ring.” Lightly sketching in the proportions of the figures before committing them in ink is such a chore, if you’re a kid. You just want to get stuck in there with your pens and let rip! It’s almost like stream of consciousness stuff.

Art Notes: I love these ones

vader strikes down kenobi and kenobi vanishes

“What, he’s disappeared!”

I’m sorry, but I get such a warm fuzzy nostalgic feeling when I see the earliest, most naively drawn ones from 1977. Oh, to be 9 again. Now—I’m just a boring old git, with lots of responsibilities and a mortgage, who drags his weary arse in and out of a desk job each week.

But there was a time when I—like most of you—had dreams (naive ones) but dreams none the less, aspirations, even lofty ambitions to be a comic artist—or just an artist of some type. I’d no idea what that entailed or how to even get there but I eventually went to art college. I won’t blame college for my being diverted way from that path, but like many people who went to art college I did seriously get turned off art for a quite a number of years. I did go into film and animation and eventually got sick of that when the commercial reality of working in an animation studio sweat shop hit me (Ninja Turtles!) but I wish I’d reverted seriously to illustration instead of wandering, cluelessly in the wilderness feeling disillusioned.

I was in a review at work around 2006—not a pay review (fat chance)—but a yearly chat about performance at my Web Design job; and I was asked:

“What would you ultimately like to do?”

(I was a web/graphic designer back then too, but had started a painting evening course at the National College of Art Ireland) I responded:

“I’d like to be a painter”.

My boss quipped—David Brent fashion,

“Ah, yeah. That’d be nice. Like, when you retire —eh?”

I don’t know if you ever saw the British series The Office? The boss, David Brent asks Dawn, the receptionist, the same question. She replies “I’ve always wanted to be a children’s book illustrator.”

“Yeah. Pipe dreams… Well I suppose you’ll always have something to fall back on, if the receptionist work dries up.”

As for me? I’ve no one to blame but myself.