Veteran comic creator talks to In Central Pennsylvania about the webcomic
based on his five-year old son.
Cartoonist Mike Hawthorne and drawn them everything from Marvel Comics greats to the underbelly of DC, and done stories with Harvey Pekar and worked on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - but his current project has proven the biggest challenge yet. While he spends his days drawing the Dark Horse comic series Conan: Road of Kings, Hawthorne has struck out on his own with a webcomic chronicling his (mis)adventures raising his five-year-old son Michael called Raising Crazy. After debuting the one-panel gag strip back in February, the regional magazine In Central Pennslyvania picked up on his story and put it on the cover of their May/June 2011 edition on shelves now.
“Cute has become something of a dirty word in our society, usually with good reason, as it tends to refer to the saccharine or overly twee and lacking in any real bite. Not so with Raising Crazy, Mike Hawthorne’s single-panel gag strip about dealing with his hyperactive young son,” explained Chris Mautner, reporter for Harrisburg, Pa.’s Patriot-News newspaper and writer of the magazine article. “Comics documenting the foibles are a dime a dozen and few of them get it right. Hawthorne’s is one of the ones that does, managing to provide just enough “aw shucks” moments leavened with a slyness (and weariness) that comes from observation and experience. That, combined with the fact that he’s a local boy made good, made him an easy choice to feature on the cover of In Central Pennsylvania magazine.”
Hawthorne has crisscrossed the comics world in the 10+ years he’s been in business, from work at Marvel on The Punisher to working at DC’s prestigious mature readers imprint Vertigo. Although he keeps busy in the world of comics, he recently expanded his reach into the world of film where he worked as a storyboard artist for the animated movie Hop.
“Mike Hawthorne is a singular talent and can draw literally everything,” says Hop‘s director Chris Bailey. “From the cartoony to the real, from the scary to the thrilling, he does it all with equal aplomb. With Raising Crazy, Hawthorne proves that he can write and draw the charming as well! If Mike wasn’t my friend, I would hate him for raising the bar so high.”
Comics legend Jerry Ordway sees a bit of himself in Hawthorne’s struggles as a parent, but enjoys the webcomic that results.
“What a great idea, and a funny one, to catalogue the moments of a spirited child, in a comic strip,” Ordway exclaimed. “Having watched three children of my own grow up, and witnessing similar bizarre moments, I regret not committing them to paper, as Mike has done.”
And Tony Moore, who worked with Hawthorne on Marvel’s Punisher as well as the independent series Fear Agent, knows how crazy the real boy behind the comic is.
“Mike Hawthorne is one easily one of my favorite cartoonists working today,” says Moore. “He’s one of the only people I fear as much as I respect and love, which is good because he’ll need to be damn tough to survive the beautiful madhouse of his own children.”
Raising two children with his wife, Superstar comics writer Matt Fraction (Fear Itself, Invincible Iron Man) sees a lot of himself in Raising Crazy and the stress of dealing with it all.
“The other night, as my child projectile vomited twice in bed, all over his sister, and, again, a third time as I raced him to the bathroom where it went all over me and all over the floor, rather than lose my mind, taking a Silkwood shower, and/or selling the little guy on eBay, I was wholly and entirely at peace. Because I have been reading Raising Crazy. And oh my god it could be so much worse,” explained Fraction. “As a daddy to a little maniac of my own, I love this strip more than words. Every father coming down the home stretch of the terrible twos needs to be reading this– because it gets better. And it gets worse. Way, way, worse.”
“By worse I mean “more covered with urine and vomit and kicking and farts.” You guys got that, right?”
For more information on Mike Hawthorne and his work, visit http://mikehawthorne.blogspot.com/.