I sometimes feel bad the kids of today don’t have all the cool things I had as a kid: Superman. Batman. Star Wars. Oh, wait…
Speaking of superheroes, I recently went on an archeological dig in my mom’s apartment in Brooklyn, and unearthed (brace yourself comic collectors!) a rare, original, unpublished Batman layout!
I didn’t say it was Frank Miller! Yes, it was I, “Jonathan Michael Roth”, who did both the writing and the “pichers”. Probably around 1st grade. Thousands of drawings later, here’s one I salvaged from early high school (I keep telling you, kids: practice, practice, practice!):
But when it comes to ancient treasures, my favorite find is what I can safely say was my earliest (around 5th grade) attempt at a novel. Did the Caped Crusader figure prominently in this tale? You bet. And like a post-modern mash-up, the Man of Steel was also a main character. But the mashing goes deeper! My story’s villain, Mr. Mxyzptlk (which I actually somehow spelt correctly, unlike ‘Metropalis’ and ‘Gothem’), in some kind of bizarre rage sends our heroes to the dark, fantastical setting of what was certainly the hippest and coolest book to any young boy reader at the time: Alice in Wonderland.
Okay, well it was the coolest book to me. So what amazing things happen to SUPERHEROES IN WONDERLAND?! Well, like with Alice, mostly talking, I’m afraid. Superman and Batman meet Tweedledum and Tweedldee. And the Cheshire Cat. And the Mad Hatter. And then the plot kind of spirals out of control and putters out after page 50 (plots are always my greatest struggle).
The amazing thing is that it’s printed in neat small printing on lined paper (Mead notebook, of course) in pencil. I was obviously way more disciplined back then. In fact, I just did a rough word count, and it clocks in at more than 10,000, which is around my current word count for each book of my chapter book series Beep and Bob.
Of course, that’s before adding the “pichers”. So write on, kids! And save all your old papers, because they just might amaze and embarrass you someday…