If you’re a long time reader, you may know my 11 year old son, Thomas, has taken a hankering to make some comics (and you can download them from free from here).
Well, he decided he wanted to do a Christmas Special, and here it is – the Why Not!? Xmas Special! Free to download.
If you want to let me know what you think of Tom’s comics, please leave a comment and I’ll make sure he gets to read it (and if you’re of a generous spirit you might want to reward him by donating to my paypal – he’ll get it all, don’t worry – he’s too young for his own paypal…)
So, couple of days ago I put Tom’s comic Why Not!? online. I figured I’d put it up as a free pdf download, and if anyone wanted to donate something, that’d be awesome – Tom could have a little extra friday treat money (which is what we call pay day round here…)
(he’d prefer it if you called him Thomas, he lets me call him Tom…)
I told Tom about it and, when I picked him up from school, we had a whole £6 in paypal. This was great, as he’d already blown his friday treat money on Thursday as it was the European elections and Tom’s school was closed so we had to entertain ourselves.
He was pretty excited about how he’d spend his money.
By the time we got to the toy shop (a 2 minute drive) it was up to £8, and Tom was giddy with delight. He started looking around for what he could buy. I offered him a couple of quid to bring him up to something around a tenner if he needed it.
My phone dinged a few times and suddenly we had £16, so he decided he’d buy an xbox game (he doesn’t have an xbox, but he is getting one for his birthday on the 6th of June when he’ll be 11).
He picked up a game (for £15) and we went to pay for it – turned out it needed the microsoft gaming network thing which we didn’t think he’d be getting, so he put it away and got a different game for a fiver. Never mind, Tommy, you’ve got an extra £10 so you can spend that later. No, wait, it’s £24. Hang on, it’s £30, it’s £50, It’s £70, it’s £80, oh blimey, it’s £100.
Right now, he’s sitting on £220 and I don’t think he’s been able to process it! At one point I was getting enough little notifications Tom was just “why!? why are people giving me money, surely they have better things to do with it??” It was a really fun day for both of us.
Tom’s never been great with money (well, he’s 10, so every penny suddenly gets spent) but this big chunk of cash he’s decided to save – at least until his birthday – when he can blow it all on some cool xbox games (though we’re off to disney land paris soon so I’ve suggested he can save it for that).
We’re both super appreciative of everyone who’s donated, especially those who donated a silly amount (we’d worked out £2.40 was a reasonable amount since it’s the same price as the beano) and lots of people paid way more than that!
But one thing Tom has really really enjoyed is all of the comments, and he’s made me read them all out to him, multiple times. So thank you for those.
Tom’s surprisingly shy. He really doesn’t want to show his comic off to people he knows (I think his older brother, who has a habit of browbeating you is to blame for this a little) but this I think has really helped him.
He was already working on issue 2 before we’d put issue 1 online (and he’d written a very sweet intro where he talks about hoping people liked issue 1 -they did, Tom, they did) and we’re a few pages in to it.
I’ve told him to readjust his expectations of issue 2s sales, no way can we match issue 1 for income.
But I’ve also told him let’s try and make it better, let’s add more backgrounds, let’s make some stories a little longer, let’s see what we can do.
I’d like to say all the money has really encouraged him, but like most poor doomed artists he’d be doing this even if he’d only made £5 on it and if you don’t believe me, here’s a Tumbler blog I made when he was three years old and was writing stories literally before he could write – he’d dictate the text to me and I’d write it down (the blog only talks about a few of them, in the end he made maybe twenty or thirty of these crazy little books).
Anyway thank you for everyone who downloaded it, paid for it and left a comment. It means a great deal.
Thomas(10) has been writing up and drawing up a storm. He’s written and pencilled a 24 page comic called Why Not?! – which is largely inspired by the Beano and the Phoenix.
One of the struggles of being a professional comic artist dad is knowing just how much help is too much help. When Nathan (now 14) was younger he used to stop drawing and just say “You do it, you’re better than me” – now I’m not sure if he’d say they same about any adult, but I can’t help feeling I was to blame on this one.
With Tom as much as possible I’ve tried to encourage but not overwhelm, but I think we’ve made a happy compromise. Essentially, I’m inking and lettering his comic. (Actually, I think I’ve got a raw deal).
Now, in his defence, he did offer to pay me. 50p. I refused, and he upped it to £2. (I didn’t take it, but there was no back end deal, so again, I’m feeling like I’ve been taken advantage of)
The line up of issue 1 (he has plans, we’ll see how far they go, but I’ve been slightly taken aback at how steadily he’s worked at this, chipping away a page or two a day) includes:
Monkey Arms (the boy with the long arms)
Galaxy FC (two pager adventure strip!)
Head Bump Hero
and a page of Dad’s Jokes (which Tom included under protest)
So we’re gonna get this thing printed up and try and price it at £2.50 and I’ll probably point a limited run of about 10 (unless, you know… people ask for copies…) One thing I’ll say, it’s been fun doing it, Thomas is very very funny.