June 5 - Not that I have created a "character for the ages" or anything, but I'm pretty proud of Monkey. Considering that I was six when I first drew him, I'm surprised that he has changed so little over the last - GULP - 35 years! Yes, it has been 35 years. That nearly floored me when I remembered. In many ways, other than my family, I've had a close personal relationship with Monkey longer than I have with anyone else (heck, The WOMP Staff wasn't even born when Monkey came into being). Like any relationship, ours has waxed and waned over the years. He has been my best friend, my kid brother, my avatar in the world of daydreams, my embarrassing past, my treasured childhood, my potential, my future, and my burden. Today? Hmm. It's sometimes hard to exactly describe a relationship without hindsight, but I suppose he is something like my kid...a kid who is growing more distant every day. I don't have any real children, you know. Just cartoon characters (and Monkey isn't even my oldest). After I had left the Joe Kubert School way back in 1985, I had nearly abandoned Monkey. Although I'd made a couple of stabs at reviving him with a horrible, Disney-inspired look while at the school, it was only in the lonely year after I left New Jersey that Monkey came back to me. The following years were, in retrospect, Monkey's actual "Golden Age." No longer a child's scribbles, Monkey truly became what I had only imagined before; a real comic book character. I suppose that, because the comics are "out there" in the world, he always will be a comic book character, but our relation-ship has hit a few rocks and has begun to sink. How? First, the sheer expense of self-publishing became too much for me as I was newly wed, recently unemployed, and increasingly aware of my shortcomings. Those factors alone may have raked us against the shoals, but another, far more serious threat from beyond my control has virtually sunk us. Decades (mind you, DECADES) after Monkey was "born," and years (mind you, YEARS) after my The Adventures of Monkey was published, advertised, and sold to people from literally every corner of the Earth, Monkey and I have been unexpectedly, and cruelly, slapped down into the shadows by a villain...a supervillain...named Tony Millionaire. It's the elephant in the room, isn't it? You comics-savvy WOMP-Blog readers know that I am speaking of The Adventures of Sock Monkey, the comic book that has destroyed my life. Destroyed. Whatever I, and Monkey, might have been is now dead, isn't it? I'm in a better position to make some sort of life from the scraps, but for Monkey? Thirty-five years of character development, and any hope of ever, ever seeing a future outside of my own memories, are now gone, wiped out on a whim by a more famous cartoonist. Couldn't I sue? Maybe...but I don't have the kind of money it takes to hire lawyers and file claims. In fact, I don't have any money. While that may or may not be due to this predicament, who can say? All I know is that, for all intents and purposes, Monkey...my Monkey, the real one...died. With all of his fictional powers, he was, perhaps ironically, felled with a few penstrokes from some unwitting assassin. Oh, if only Millionaire's comic sucked. If only I'd known about it early enough to stop it. If only I hadn't wrapped my fortunes up into a single, pivotal creation which I could not afford to defend. If only...if only. So, what do I do? I go on. Blindly, stupidly - but morally certain, I go on. Even so, I am doing little more than wildly pulling on the wheel of a ship that's sunk, all the while shouting "I'm still the captain, dammit!" Maybe everything will work out somehow. Maybe it won't. Either way, it's really out of my control now. I have been trying to find other ways to advance my "career," and may find some sort of success (or "success enough") there, but I feel like my best chance has been torn from me like...well, like being de-pantsed. Hmm. Am I, then, the true pantsless character? I feel like it. I am living a version of the "at school in your underwear" nightmare, that's for sure. Hmm. Well, I think I should wrap this up for now. Here, just because I can't run from it so I may as well acknowledge it, is your Pantsless Comic Book Character of The Day - Sock Monkey!