When I was seven (1983-ish), I wrote and illustrated (at least) four books. This is the third in a short series of four showing the fruits of my labour in what was undoubtedly the most productive year of my life (so far).
The House Of Horror
Wow. Which seven year old boy isn’t a fan of ghouls and ghosts? And then the video game came along! I’m still interested in the paranormal, and aliens. I used to watch The X-Files — and not just for Gillian Anderson — so it’s natural for the seven-year-old me to pen a novella which included as many ghouls and ghosts and creepy-crawlies as possible.
On the cover you’ll notice my the beginnings of my (self-proclaimed) comedic side. There’s a ghost mischievously pulling away the round part of the ‘R’ at the end of ‘Horror’. “It was loose”… comic gold. All the lettering was tack sharp too, ‘cos, y’know, tack-sharp lettering is hella-scary. And the skull has eyeballs. Eyeballs! (I just got chills writing that…)
We get inside the book to find that I was really trying to make a go of this writing thing. At 400 words, I could see a future as a Stephen King-esque author, but I’d have better endings. Unfortunately this led to less space for illustrations but I completely blame my teacher for that. Thinking back now it was probably primary school budget cuts that only allowed for a few pages per book and it’s obvious the teacher was afraid edit a manuscript where absolutely everything was essential to the story.
I must’ve graduated to my pen license by this time, as the compositions are largely (and tastefully) in blue ballpoint. And if you look closely on page two, you’ll see smudges of a gold paint marker that was almost bone dry (for that super-scary scratchy vibe). Also from page two, you can probably guess which He-Man figure I used to have.
On page three I dabbled in self-portraiture. Not a bad likeness if I do say so myself. That black jumper was based on a t-shirt I borrowed whilst on a holiday to Taralgon with the Stonehouses. My t-shirt was wet from
falling into swimming in the lake and I wore one of Jeremy’s, a black t-shirt with a iron-on-the-reverse-side sparkly plasticky print (like this Beastie Boys tee — official retro from the 80s). Also, it seems I was into army pants years before everyone else.
The story’s good too.