I get a lot of strange looks when I introduce myself to folks who've read my work. I guess they weren't expecting me. So here's who I am, at least some details.
I was born in Eastern Colorado at the end of the 60s, a town too small to worry about. Spent most of my childhood in a town called Lamar in SE Colorado. The first book I remember reading (Mom says I started reading at 18 mos--Dad has a story about a coworker thinking I was the AntiChrist) was FREDDIE THE PIGEON, a book I recently reacquired and reread. That's one psychedelic book. I jumped from there to Ian Fleming novels; mostly because that's what was around and FREDDIE had inspired an interest in spies. Somewhere in there I was asked not to return to my Baptist Sunday School because of a picture I drew. (I still have it--nobody can figure out why that happened)
Moved to West Texas in 1985, finished high school there in a town called Perryton. Fled there as soon as I could to Lubbock, Texas, to attend Texas Tech University. Got a B.A. in Philosophy (Logic and Ancient Phil mostly) and an M.A. in Classical Humanities (Greek language and culture) there. Went on to the University of Iowa for a Ph.D., but settled for another M.A., this one in Latin. I just got burned out on the whole grad school to professorhood path.
Not long after I left school, I visited a friend finishing a Ph.D. in Archaeology at UCLA. I was working a 3rd shift job at the time, and my internal clock had been inverted for about a year or so, working 11pm-8am with one other person tops at any given time. My social skills were vanishing; I actually hadn't written a word since I started the job, I was so disoriented. I had a bundle of vacation time, so I went for a week to stay with my friend there.
I had never seen an ocean. I had not seen much daylight at all for a year. I almost panicked when I saw California. The size, the light, the ocean, the whole deal.
We went to a party one night, a gathering of the other Archaeology Ph.D. candidates. After a few drinks, talk turned to the future--job prospects, what conferences they were interviewing at. Then after my friend revealed that I wrote comics, talk turned to hopes for the future. One talked of "making the first classical comic"--he could totally do that. I brought up Frank Miller's 300, Shanower's AGE OF BRONZE. Oh well.
Another said that when he gets tenure (after he gets a job), he would write detective novels. Cool, I say; how long have you been doing that? Well, not at all yet, he says. He says he's always wanted to write detective novels, and when he gets tenure (after he gets a job) he will start.
I had no idea what to say to this. This guy is not your average "as soon as someone pays me I'll make art" do-nothing, he's getting a Ph.D. at UCLA. He knows how to accomplish things. He perked up to a level unseen in the conversation when he talked about writing detective novels; Archaeology, not so much. But had he even written a single word? Nope. Frightening.
I came back to Iowa and put my notice in on my 3rd shift job. No more toiling in darkness. I took a job as a frontline counter guy in a pretty contentious environment. The words came back; the sun shone again; and I decided I wouldn't wait for anything when it came to making comics.
So there ya go. Nice to meet ya.