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Hey kids,

Well, those of you who are long-time readers – yeah, like I have any of those! – or have known me for more that ten minutes, will know of my somewhat eccentric upbringing and untrusting relationship with my father.

Ah, my dad:

The man who taught me Mumbly Peg – a “game” where opponents throw a knife at each others feet – at the tender age of six.

The man who is solely and directly responsible for my crippling fear of heights.

The man whose idea of an April Fool’s joke was to tie me to my bed in the middle of the night and wake me up in the morning by dripping water on my head. In China, I believe that’s called torture.

I could go on for hours.

Anyway, over the past several years, my father and I have grown closer and have started having actual adult conversations. It may have something to do with the fact that I moved a hundred and fifty miles from home, close to ten years ago.

We’ve compared favorite movies and argued over who has better taste in cinema. (It’s me, by the way.) We’ve talked about my job working customer service in a small urban library that’s located next door to a home for the mentally ill. We’ve discussed my books and my attempts to get them published. I’ve explained to him how I write a script: act breaks, action beats, character arcs, plot points, realistic dialogue.

So I called my dad last night, as I usually do on my day off, to tell him that I just received a couple of new pages from Dave, my artist on Punch-Up. I described to him how amazing they looked and then relayed a conversation between Dave and I from the previous night, where I said that these new pages looked so good that I hated to cover them up with my ugly words and asked if it was too late to make Punch-Up a completely silent book. Dave and I had the same thought at the same time.

Why couldn’t we do a completely silent book together? It would challenge me, as a writer, to come up with a story that can keep the reader’s interest, without any dialogue, caption boxes or thought balloons. And it would strengthen Dave, as an artist, to have to carry the weight of the story through action, facial expressions and hand gestures.

“So what are you going to do?” my dad asked.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“If Dave’s going to draw the book – and there’s not going to be any words – there’s not going to be anything for you to do.”

“Well,” I said. “I still have to write the script, you know. Even if there’s no dialogue, I still have to write plot and panel descriptions and all.”

“Oh.” my dad said.

“What do you mean, ‘oh’?”

“Nothing,” he started. “I just thought you put the words in the little balloons.”

Ninety percent of the time, whenever I tell people who aren’t in the comic industry that I write comics and graphic novels, I get the same response: “So you’re the guy who puts words in those little balloons?”

As you can no doubt imagine, this pisses me off to no end; almost as much as it pisses me off when I tell people that I work in a library and they ask “So you just sit around and read books all day?”

For the first time in my life, I thought my dad got me. I thought he finally understood who I am and what I’m trying to do with my life.

But, just like every March 31st, when I thought that maybe this I wouldn’t wake up tied to my bed, maybe this year the outside handle of my bedroom door wouldn’t be tied to the outside handle of my sister’s bedroom door, so that neither of us would be able to open our doors when we pulled on the handles, I was wrong.

So wrong.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put words in little balloons and cry myself to sleep.

Working for the weekend (and to pay off my massive therapy bills),
Frank Cvetkovic

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All the “cool” library nerds were doing it, so why not?

1. Only three people in the world are able to pronounce my last name. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.

2. When I was in the (I think) second grade, we were given blank books – real books that were completely blank, cover and all – and were told to write and illustrate our own stories. I wrote some sort of cheap E.T. knockoff and ended up winning a state-wide competition for it. I think it was at that point in time that I decided that I wanted to seriously pursue a career as a writer/artist and live in poverty for the rest of my life.

3. My family has a history of the same disease as the Elephant Man. That’s right, major-high-school-crush-who-totally-rejected-me-which-trampled-what-little-self-esteem-I-had-to-the-point-where-I-was-too-terrified-too-ask-out-another-girl-until-college: I can get uglier!

4. Apparently, alledgedly, when I get reeeally drunk – back when I drank — I have been told that I tend to “liberate” other people’s possessions.

5. When I was about eleven, I spent almost nine months of my life in a wheelchair after an operation on both of my legs. If I hadn’t had the operation when I did, I’d still be in a wheelchair today.

6. When I was a kid – like, six or seven – my dad taught me a game called Mumbly Peg. HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED: Two opponents face each other, standing about five feet apart. Then – and this is where it gets interesting – one pulls out a knife and throws it at the other players feet! If the blade sticks in the ground, the second player must move his foot over to where the blade landed; if the blade didn’t stick, the player doesn’t move. Then, the second player picks up the knife and throws it back at the first player’s feet. The loser is the first person to have their feet so far apart that they can’t stand any longer and fall. Or bleed. The first person to bleed loses, too.

7. Whenever I talk to people with accents, I cannot help but imitate their accent afterwards. I know I shouldn’t, I even try to stop myself or talk lower so they can’t hear it, but I just can’t help myself.

8. I am a ninja-level theater-hopper.

9. I have a near-unhealthy obsession with pirates and zombies.

10. I have been told by someone who once told me that she was my arch-enemy that I have “really pretty eyes”. And, I mean, if your arch-enemy seriously compliments your eyes like that, it’s got to be true, right?