While I was living in Mexico City between 1998 and 2000, one of my jobs was to tutor two young girls in English once a week. It was fun but always exhausting, I had to constantly come up with activities that would keep the attention of two ten-year-olds for a whole hour. Sometimes I was reduced to watching them play video games and begging them to at least explain the rules to me in English. Eventually, I decided I would have them write a comic. The deal was that every week they had to write one, four-panel episode. They had to decide what was going to happen, then write the dialogue and narration. I would then take home their notes and ink the page for the following week. Here’s the first installment:
I bleached my hair around the fall of…1999 I think. The girls loved it and called my hair radioactive, although how that led to the character of Prof. P. Brain I can’t quite recall. To continue a bit with the story: I’m missing a few pages (see below) but as I remember, Prof. Brain’s two test monkeys get loose and knock off his glasses so, unable to see, the professor accidentally sends Sara and Julia into the time machine instead of the monkeys. When given the chance to travel through time, the girls chose… 18th century Connecticut (!?!?) where they eventually make friends with a girl their age:
Now we must switch to VH-1 Behind the Music mode: “But then, on November 16, 1999, tragedy struck…!!” Walking home from a different English class in a nice part of town, I was mugged at gunpoint while waiting for my bus home. It happened very quickly, and I didn’t lose anything irreplacable–except, that is, for the original pages and the last few installments of the Sara and Julia comic! They were included in one of the “five folders containing materials for my English classes” underlined below in the police report excerpt. I reported the crime in detail to a man sitting with a typewriter (working in triplicate, of course) in a VW microbus converted into a makeshift clerk’s office in the parking lot of the Lomas de Chapultepec police station. He dutifully translated my experience into charmingly stilted bureaucratese. If you can read Spanish at all, click to enlarge:
The comics I have here are from photocopies I had luckily made earlier of some of the earlier episodes. Otherwise, all that was left was one of the thumbnails the girls created for a later installment, where Professor brain finally realizes his mistake:
No one knows whatever happened to Sara and Julia in olde Connecticut (although I’m pretty sure things turned out OK). We got sidetracked on to other activities and then I moved to New York in March of the next year.
Just recently I got an e-mail out of the blue from Julia and then Sara–in flawless English, I might add!
Great story Matt. and you’re a gorgeous rubio!
Jazmin Velasco says
I love this story. I didn’t know you were mugged in Mexico city. Or did I????
I was just thinking in that story I gave you to finish. You made the last two pages, remember? you were the magician of the inks or something like that. I wonder in which box and in the house of who is that comic now…
Matt Madden says
Hmm, I do remember those two pages, Jazmin, and I think it’s probably better that they never see the light of blog!
i had forgotten we drew first, you second.
and the robbery!
i remember you getting to class very distressed, but forgot our comic was stolen.
i sort of remember us discusing what would happen, when there was an earthquake, but don’t remember even holding a pencil. the drawings are nice though! Sara made them, i could never have…
Brent Snook says
Have you been waiting in line to enter the Academia gallery in Florence by any chance?
Matt Madden says
Weird, it’s like García Márquez’s story “Ojos de perro azul”.