Inspiriation can come in many forms. A few years ago while at a comic convention, I was able to snag an original page from a comic I read growing up, Books of Magic.
Being able to purchase this page was like stiking gold for me... because I distinctly remembered it.
Now, to be fair, a mind raised on comic books is a unique mind indeed. My brain is trained for long, but constantly shifting narratives. If you were to ask me tomorrow what happened in a comic book I read last week, I would have an incredibly hard time tell you anything... even to the point of not knowing exactly what books I read, let alone what happened in them. The moment I pick up a new issue, however, I know exactly what happened last month. And all the 20 years of history that's in my head since I've been reading.
So, seeing this page... instantly I knew the gist of the story. But more important was something that, admittedly, doesn't happen nearly enough for me: I felt (and still feel) a deep emotional tie to this specific page.
I remember being 16 and this page literally changing my life.
Being 16 means going through the whole puberty thing. Dealing with emotions and sexual awareness. And dating. And when you grew up as the chubby kid, you end up thinking that there is no greater feeling than having a girl like your body enough to want to make out. And, thus, you quickly equate making out with self worth.
So when you're reading a comic book and the hero, Tim Hunter, is going through puberty and relationships just like you... and you're sad because he isn't with the one he's supposed to be with...
But then Tim reconnects with Leah. A succubus. A girl whose entire existence is to entice mean with sexuality. For a teenage boy? Seeing his hero Timothy Hunter get a chance with the hot girl, the popular girl, the one you know would be fun to make out with... I have to admit. In my head, at that age of 16, I couldn't wait to see what would happen.
And then I read this page.
From this page, from Tim's journal:
Leah just kissed me again. I don't think she meant anything by it. She was just trying to cause an accident. It must not be easy, being a girl and a succubus at the same time.
She still wears the same perfume. If it is perfume, and not just her. Maybe succubi don't have to wear perfume, they just make you dizzy naturally... Or supernaturally. I don't know. Whatever.
Molly doesn't wear perfume.
I still remember the feeling, the emotion: caught. Here I was, excited for Tim's new romance. Excited to see the hot, sexy girl walk into this narrative. But in that moment, with those four words came a surprising amount of emotional weight for me.
Molly doesn't wear perfume.
It's not about the glitz, the glamour, the short skirts, the sway of the hips or the perfume. It's about love. And even there, sitting next to her... my hero knew who he truly loved. I already knew all that. I already knew to look for love, not sex. But seeing this finctional hero of mine struggle through it all too... somehow it gave me the courage I needed at the age of 16.
Changed my life, this page did.
Begin reading Tim's story with the first volume of Books of Magic.