We never forget our first loves, and mine was and still is comic books.
My original dream was to drop everything else and write comic books. That was all I wanted to do. All the movies and TV series, animated features, newspaper work, books and all just came and gave me something to do and fed me, clothed me and provided a roof over my head.
I am also a public relations/political/corporate strategist specialising in social media, but my roots and my greatest education, was in comic books.
My parents were poor. Bla bla bla. My family lived on top of a hill, in the swamps on the outskirts of Kuantan, so comic books were a luxury. Growing up, I had a total of three comics magazines. Just three issues. One Gila-Gila, one Batu Api and one Gelihati. They were unsold back issues I found at the market and after some emotional blackmail, managed to get all three.
When I was in high school, I begged, borrowed and stole reading material. The Sun's Megazine at the time reprinted some pages of The Sandman Comics - a very mature fare years beyond my comprehension.
I didn't have money for comic books so all I could do was read the reviews of comic books. I read them, and as soon as I was online in 1994, I began looking for more material.
Back in those days, it took three hours just to download one picture. But there I was, in 1996, when my father bought our first computer and 14.4kbps dial-up modem, downloading porn.
Besides porn, I also downloaded studies on comics (comics were not online back then and the bootlegged versions still required a lot of downloading). There was an English master's thesis on The Sandman and another on Watchmen, so I read those. For days, over and over again. There was hardly anything else, other than porn.
So with my first paycheque from my first real job, I spent most of it on comic books. Buying comic books sent me into credit card debt which took me five years to clear.
There is something I am working on right now that might allow me to write and publish some comic books I have always wanted to do. These stories I have kept with me since I was 19 years old. Some are even older.
But first thing's first. There's that novel I need to finish.