A long time ago, on April 19th, 2010, I dipped a first toe into the webcomic pool with ‘Buster Drake.’ The tagline was ‘Rayguns! Rockets! Adventure!’ and was conceived as a love letter to Buck Rogers, 30’s adventure serials, and of course, a daily comic strip.

‘Buster’ was an idea that I had been kicking around for a long time. I’d first wanted to attempt it as a cartoon back in 2004, 2005? But holy crap are cartoons a ton of work! And I wanted to do it as a traditionally drawn cartoon in the same style as the old Fleischer Superman cartoons (by which standard I measure all other cartoons and find them sorely lacking.) Cartoon ‘Buster’ eventually happened in 2007 as final project in a special studies class for a degree I have, but have never used. I hesitate to share the cartoon even now, because truly it is terrible, but I am still proud of it in an odd way. Start to finish, I made that thing! And I’m not typically a guy who finishes things. I found a program, Blender, learned how to use it, with plenty of help from forums and tutorials, and put together a four minute short over the course of a year. So for better or worse, here it is.

After that Buster lay fallow for a few years. Every six months or so I’d dust off the idea, doodle around the edges of it, and then move on. I’d recently started my career as a stay-at-home-parent, and a three-year old was a lot of work. Creatively I wasn’t real sure what I wanted to do with anything at the time, so I did nothing, until I met my friend Sheldon and I began to accomplish things again.

Working on a thing, and suffering along with the ups and downs of it, whatever the final fate of it may yet turn out to be, was a powerful feeling, very motivating, and I started to work on Buster in earnest again, writing out stories, setting goals and deadlines, just kind of getting my ass in gear. And on schedule that first strip went up Monday the 19th. It felt amazing.

Anyway, a few years later, after some starts and stops and changes for the better, changes for the worse, it finally died semi-permanently (which I say only because I would like to resurrect it someday,) on September 29th, 2013, on strip number 203. Which at the time felt like a lot, but now feels tiny! Here we are at 203 and it hasn’t even been a year, and I’ve got stuffed planned out to 400 and beyond at this point.

I would like to revisit Buster again someday, but I don’t know if the original run will ever return to the public eye. I was lucky enough to learn the basics of comicking on a small unlit stage without an audience, there’s not much call to re-enact those painful formative times now that you’re benefiting from the lessons learned. But I do occasionally read through the body of work, and it only reminds me how much more fun, and how much better Merunga is, not in spite of those early strips, but because of them.


*As measured in number of strips posted online, not in terms of amount of art produced, or time in existence.