Aaron Archer and I have been bouncing art (him) and words (me) and storytelling (both of us!) and ideas back and forth since middle school – almost four decades ago.
In December 2019, we met up for a long afternoon lunch, bringing bags of books and notes and drawings, and Aaron told me about an Ohio-themed comic anthology he was working on a piece for. He was inspired by the old Marvel comics guides that featured single-page dossier-type profiles on characters or places or events. Being from Canton, Aaron wanted to do something based on the idea that the sword-shaped grounds of the McKinley Monument are, in fact, an actual gargantuan weapon magicked and forged and secreted beneath the grounds.
“Think you’d want to write something like that?” he asked.
That evening and the next day, I spent a handful of hours enthusiastically reading and writing and banging out a first draft, and I had a blast doing it. And Aaron said it was just what he’d been hoping for. (Which look – the guy knows a thing or three about shaping a story, so even though we’re basically brothers and I knew pretty well what he was going after, hearing that I’d delivered what he wanted made me feel really good.) I made a few edits on my own re-reads, and he sent it off.
Below is our page from “Along A Burning River: Stories from Ohio,” published by Singularity Studios in mid-2020.
Thanks, Aaron: Here’s to the first thing we finally collaborated on and completed together.