This comic is a true story, though an abbreviated one. When I was a wee lad I jumped in a puddle during a rain storm and fell into an aquatic world of magic and mystery. The mer-people that inhabited the strange underworld I found myself in needed my assistance in slaying a particularly ornery sludge monster that threatened their homes and livelihoods. I wondered what a nine year old boy could do that fully grown merfolk couldn’t, but, wrapped up in the majesty of it all I resolved to try my best. It was about this time that I drowned, having forgotten that I was under the water.

After drowning, I woke up from the fever dream I was having. A few days later, the rather nasty disease boiling my brain away abated and I went on to live a healthy and semi-productive life into my 20’s.

True story.

Imagination is a strange and powerful thing. When you actively utilize your imagination, everything has significance in some fashion or other. Every tree could have a life of its own, every toy has a history, and every star harbors incredible alien life the likes of which have never been seen on this planet. Writing comics has forced me to engage my imagination, to grapple with it in a difficult way. When non-artists see comics or art, they are often impressed with the imagination that it takes to create the things they see and read. There is a mystique associated with creativity that most people fall prey to (I do at times, when I see artists I’m impressed by) that makes us think, “Wow, how did they do that?”. We often consider ourselves inferior in those moments, thinking it impossible that we could ever match what these individuals have accomplished. This is, in a way, our own imaginations at work.

The reality is that imagination and creativity are tools. Creativity is as much work as any other, though often more mental work than it is physical. We all have the capacity to create and conceptualize but it requires time and effort as adults. As children, our minds are free from the limitations of the physical and social world allowing us to come up with the most outrageous concepts. Part of being an artist (professional or otherwise) is getting in touch with that side of your mind again and it can be a struggle.

As for me, I find solace in imagination. Stories and concepts allow me to explore other worlds and people while I sit bored in class or at work. That’s a powerful thing. Having the ability to conceptualize the unknown is what has set humanity apart from animals and given us everything we’ve got. Admittedly, some of that has run out of our control to some degree, but it has, for the most part, been positive for us as a species. With a more responsible long term approach to our imaginations, life on this planet could be pretty swell.

At least we don’t have to worry about drowning on the sidewalk.