When my daughter was younger I wrote, illustrated and shared an online web comic about fatherhood. It documented some of the quirky things we did and used some of the funny things she said as the heartbeat of the humour.
Whatever humour I managed to inject into these little stories usually came from a blend of “kids say funny stuff” mashed against those parental expecations falling short. I usually salted in a generous helping of dad jokes, to flavour.
I dabbled in a lot of formats (single panel, four-panel full colour, black and white, and other various dimensions) and a diverse range of topics. One of my very early black and white three-panel series was brought to life from a camping trip we had then recently taken.
So, for example the first strip blossomed from my frustration at being the one who always needed to spend half my first afternoon setting up camp (tho let’s be honest… I love that part too!) while the Kid ran off to play with her friends. When she was that age, setting up to her was about getting her treats out of the car, never mind eventually needing a place to sleep. I guess that’s what dads are for.
A second memory was locked in as she remarked at all the effort it took to cook while we roughed it in our campsite. To be fair, when I was a teenager camping out alone with my friends we scarfed bags of chips and ate hot dogs for three meals a day. You’d think I would have learned something in scouts for twelve years and made us all a nice bit of tuck. There’s something to be said about simplicity, I guess, and when you’re young who actually has time for meal prep, anyways… not to mention the cleanup?
The final strip reflected this odd mix of hesitancy and urgency of the Kid exerting her own independence. She always wanted to do everything herself but with dad standing by as a safety net. Out camping is a good place to dabble in this because away from the routine of home there are lots of new experiences to be had, particularly around things as simple as sticking your food into a fire. Obviously, accepting the consequences for your independence is a whole other lesson and dads tend to eat a lot of burnt marshmallows.
Side Note: I’m thinking of digging some of these characters out of retirement and putting together some new strips for this blog. There won’t be any regularity to those posts, but let me know if you’re interested in that. Encouragement and interest are like kindling for creative fire you know.
These original comics and a couple hundred more are still (mostly) online at www.piday.ca.