I decided to try Inktober this year. I’ve never participated before. I was usually drawing comics in October and didn’t feel like I needed more to do. But this year, I found that I have been so busy building websites that I haven’t had much time for comics at all. Plus I wanted to try something different.
I’ve had peers, doctors, and family try to convince me that I should do a comic about my open heart surgery. It’s been too painful a topic to share. I have a hard time not crying when I do have to talk about it. And I don’t like talking about myself under normal circumstances. I’ve never felt confident in doing autobio comics.
But while my heart is doing well, my mental health is not. I’ve always had some low level anxiety and depression that I’ve learned to cope with. But surviving this experience has left me with a new understanding of depression. There is just something about knowing that you “died” that is hard to reconcile in your brain. It makes it hard to care about much of anything at times. So maybe I do need to create a comic about the experience, just for catharsis at least. But if you already are dealing with depression, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself.
Then I remembered Maus. I remembered why Art Spieglemann used anthropomorphic animals for his family’s Holocaust story. I asked my friend Steven Krall what sort of animal I should be and he said “Duh, a bear.”
I did a drawing of myself every day in October, using a bear as my stand in. Coincidentally, my beloved Chicago Cubs fought their way through the postseason and (oh my god I can’t believe I get to type this) won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. If I was going through emotional highs and lows before, you have no idea what it was like to sit with me and watch baseball in October. I think I cried more during this month than my entire cumulative childhood. I’ve waited my whole life for this, along with several generations of Cubs fans. My Inktober drawings reflect my journey as a fan watching this team very well.
The magnitude of this championship has been life altering in ways that I am still trying to comprehend. Which sounds funny unless you are a Cubs fan. I’ve learned to enjoy the game for the game, win or lose. Because odds were for years, the Cubs were losing. And now they are champions? It’s so hard to wrap my brain around it. But what a ride. Inktober and the 2016 World Series are going to be wrapped together in my memories. It was a great month.