Today is my Birthday…

This is something that Frank posted on the main Bob the Squirrel website. I’m cross posting this just because…

first bob the squirrel
First published Bob the Squirrel strip…
February 10, 2002.

Today is bob’s 11th birthday. He made his first print appearance in the Sunday Sentinel on February 10, 2002. It wasn’t something that happened with a lot of fanfare. I honestly didn’t even really know who he was. I had only created him literally days before this panel was drawn. Those of you that have heard me at speaking engagements are already familiar with this origin.

This is the paragraph where I dump all kinds of cliches on you: It doesn’t seem like it’s been 11 years. Where did all that time go? Hard to believe … blah, blah, blah.

I do know where the time went. It went into drawing 3000+ strips. It went into molding a character into someone who has life… adding and subtracting along the way.

It does seem like 11 years… my face looks way different than it did in 2002. My hairline is not only thinner than it was, but I now have the added bonus of flecks of gray in it. I’m more sore than I used to be.

Hard to believe? No way. I wanted to create a comic strip that had legs… that’s not easy. It’s not hard to believe because I know how HARD I work on this. I work harder now, even with 11 years in the rear view mirror. But, in addition to working harder, I work SMARTER.

The person who created this character is not the person who is now writing 11 years later.

This strip is a huge part of my existence. HUGE. At the end of 2011, I was giving some serious consideration to ending bob and just moving on. If you have a moment, go back to that post and read it. It pretty much says it all.

I’ve sacrificed untold amounts of everything in order to keep this strip going. Financially, in time, effort, blood, sweat, tears, earth wind and fire. In 2011, I wanted to maybe see what my life would be like without Bob…when hundreds would kill for the privilege of what I have.

Could I have done things differently? No doubt. Could I be making much more money with this thing? Probably. I could change this strip to make it more popular…ride the wave of the moment and benefit in the short term…It would be easy. Too easy. I won’t do that. If that means I lose out, so be it. In a world that more often than not turns its back on that which is genuine, I will not change. The strip is as perfect as it’s going to be… and I should know, I’ve invested nearly a quarter of my life into it…and I’ll probably invest even more.

When this began, I dreamed of a day where Bob would be everywhere. Everyone would know the strip, everyone would want to wear the clothing, watch the cartoon…etc. THAT was something important to me… when I didn’t know who the character was. Today? I would absolutely welcome all that stuff… but not for the same reasons. It’s not about that anymore… it’s about (and forgive my MFA coming out right now) the art. It’s about the reliability… you always know Bob will be there for you. He may not always make you laugh, but he’ll be there. He’ll always be there.

Happy Birthday buddy, Happy friggin’ Birthday.

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