From time to time, I dig out some old material from what I like to call the archives, and post it under a From the Vaults category. Sometimes it’s because I have found something that I really want to show off, and sometimes it’s to fill a gap in the schedules when I’ve not got any posts lined up. This is most definitely one of the former.
For this post I’ve dug deep into the archives; very, very deep.
A couple of days ago I met up with a very dear old friend Sam, who I hadn’t seen at all in over 12 years (which is alarming in itself as I’m only 27) after his family de-emmigrated back to their native New Zealand 18 years ago. It was quite harrowing as a 9-year-old having your best friend move to what is, according to this handy little tool, the landmass closest to the exact opposite side of the world to you.
Catching up we reminisced about the old days, including a cartoon character we used to draw called Harry. Which, as I’m quite an extreme sentimental hoarder, I still have most of the comics of.
This is the very first Harry comic, drawn at school (I think) when I was about seven, 20 years ago. Sure, the edges are yellowed a little, but for a sheet of paper that’s followed me around for two whole decades, it doesn’t look too bad.
I’m not sure what my teachers thought when they saw a seven-year-old making a comic called Harry Gets Drunk. They probably thought all sorts of things about my home life.
In fact, the inspiration for the comic came from a mug my dad used to own (it’s possible he still has it, as a matter of fact) that proclaimed “I don’t have a drinking problem. I drink, I get drunk, I fall down. No problem!”. It also came from me doodling someone lying on the floor with stars over their head, one of the first times I drew perspective.
I’m not sure what’s the more depressing, that this comic was drawn twenty years ago, or that due to lack of practise seven-year-old me was probably better at drawing than I am now. What a bastard.
Harry stuck around as a comic character for quite a few years, seeing a couple of regenerations and amassing a group of family and friends in a comic that was eventually catchily titled 3rd Harry and Friends, which was definitely not a play on Garfield and Friends despite the fact I can’t even type ‘3rd Harry and Friends‘ without hearing the voice of the narrator from the Garfield TV cartoon saying it.
I’ve still got many of the Harry comics, if not all of them, although much to my chagrin a lot of them aren’t finished. I didn’t really plan them, I wrote them panel to panel most of the time so I can’t technically say I’ve forgotten how they were supposed to end, it’s just that I never got far enough to have to work it out.
I plan to scan and publish as many of these as seems practical, although I should note as a young’un I was quite partial to bouts of plagiarism (I also made an incredibly short-lived comic called Acorns which was definitely not in any way inspired by or copying Peanuts. Not at all) so I may have to tread carefully depending on what I find in the archive.