i created this comic for Found, a book by Found Magazine editor, Davy Rothbart. while drawing it, i noticed a coincidence. i've had two best friends named Simon. they both encouraged my interest in comic books.

my best friend in elementary school was a magnificently freckled boy named Simon. his family lived right across the street from school. so, i slept over frequently. one evening, he decided to tell me about Marvel Comics. the only comics i read until that night were the ones that came free with my g.i.joes and he-man action figures. but simon synopsized several superheroic origin stories and insisted that i read his copies of X-Men. i was hooked after that. every week, i spent my entire two dollar allowance on sixty cent comics. by the time i graduated to middle school and a seven dollar allowance, i had hoarded at least one copy of every single x-men story. there were times, truly, when i was frightened of dying because i didn't want to miss any of the mutant soap opera.

in high school though, i discovered girls. i could not afford a girlfriend and comic books. so, i packaged my comics in mylar and forgot about them.

years later, in art school, i discovered new and better comic books like Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Cages by Dave McKean. in art school, i made a new best friend, simon boses. he is the protagonist of this almost true comic strip. i didn't remember until drawing it that he is the person who convinced me to draw a comic in the first place. he and our other roommate, dan, drew comics all the time. i don't know why i was so reluctant to make one also but, after several semesters of urging, i came around. in my writing classes, i'd written an overly ambitious play called Certainty. so, i adapted that into an overly ambitious comic book. i only completed one chapter. if i had finished the whole story, it would have been a thousand pages long. in retrospect, it's a good thing that i quit because the story itself was horrible. that one chapter inspired me to draw more comics though. simon and dan and i drew a comic strip every week about our lives together. and, before graduation, i finished a comic book version of John Updike's Pygmalion.

now, i'm as interested in comic books as i ever was. i don't worry about missing issues any more but i spend a lot more money at comic book stores and i treasure what i find there as some of the most exciting artwork in the world.

© 2003 rama hughes