Ben Edlund (YGtCTO #108)

The Tick

Comic created by Ben Edlund

I don’t think that it is any great secret that artists need a certain degree of hubris in order to be artists. You don’t create something from nothing without a bit of an ego. Sure, Emily Dickinson never showed a single poem to another living soul. That would be entirely untrue, by the way.

Even the most precious of us who create only for ourselves have an intended audience. We might look askance at the final product, but we still had the courage to initiate the effort. Enough tries and we develop a certain degree of pride in what we make.

That said, I read a lot- all sort of things, but that’s part of the deal if you want to write. I try to get to museums and concerts, too. You can only have output if you have input. If you are around when the hankering comes along, then I might make you go with me. My parents were always good for a trip to the museum, especially the Butler where my Mom volunteered for many years. Whenever we first came upon a painting, they shared one initial criteria in their opinions before they diverged. Could they have painted it themselves? For my Dad, the answer yes was not a compliment.

I am my Father’s son, but I recognize the rights of the first arrival. Just because I might be capable of creating a similar story or play does not mean that I have done so. Your fortitude and creativity and good fortune have done you proud. You may even have blown my mind, but enough reading and enough writing have granted me enough knowledge to see the craft at work. In short, I see what you did there. Well done.

Every now and then,
I come across something that I know deep in my heart was not coming out of me. I’m not talking about my lack of patience. I do not mean in a life experience sense. Essentially, we are talking about something that I was never going to manage. A little bit of magic seems to have gotten into the brew.

Ben Edlund

About the same time that The Tick cartoon debuted, I happened to live in Boston, where I could stumble on the original comic book. Both were created by Edlund. The comic, which he wrote and drew, started when he was in high school. I think that would make him the Mozart of comic books.

You can see where I am going with this.

As a teenager, I could never have created The Tick #1. More than that, I don’t think I could do it now, and not only because my drawings of people look like misshapen mushrooms. Humor is hard in a static medium. The pacing required to sell a joke is usually mastered over years. Building humor out of characters is hard to do if you can’t build characters. Edlund got a lot right in those comics and cartoons in a way that I doubt I could now.

Read and watch for yourself. Those little thoughts start crawling up from the depths of your creative heart. Mad genius at work. Sit back and enjoy the alchemy.

What’s it all about?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 192 more to go.

New additions to You’ve Got to Check This Out release regularly. Also, free humor, short works, and poetry post irregularly. Receive notifications on Facebook by friending or following Craig.

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