If you’re a die hard fan or enthusiast of anything it won’t be long before you start to consider the possibility that maybe you could take part in that activity yourself. If you grow up watching and loving football, you’ll probably want to play football in school. If you love movies, you’ll most likely want to act in or direct one yourself. If you’re an avid reader, you’ll eventually consider writing your own book. Well, I was a comic book kid and I quickly thought I could make my own comic, natural talent be damned.
Say hello to Super Changer Guy.
Super Changer Guy is a comic book character I came up with when I was about 10 or 11. This super hero is essentially Plastic Man who can transform his body into any shape which was brave because obviously I could only draw basic, simple shapes (see the square, rectangle and circle heads).
But at this point in my comic fandom I had never read a Plastic Man comic or would’ve even seen a Plastic Man cartoon.
The main inspiration for Super Changer Guy was the old Nintendo NES game A Boy and his Blob. This classic, somewhat obscure video game featured a boy and a white ghost-looking blob that could transform into various objects based on the flavor of jelly beans the boy fed him. One flavor jelly bean turned the Blob into a ladder and another flavor would turn it into an umbrella or a bridge or a blowtorch, or whatever the boy needed to get past certain treacherous obstacles. My cousin David and I played that game on our grandparent’s old NES system when we were kids. We would stay up literally all night playing that game until we beat it.
Fortunately, before David and I were born, my Granddad drew a detailed map of the first level so he could know which jellybeans to use during the game. (He did the same for the original NES Legend of Zelda). Discovering these maps was like discovering the Dead Sea scrolls. They were the travel journals of John Smith and Louis & Clark. This was before video game magazines like Tips and Tricks and before countless blogs and YouTube channels would easily help kids get through difficult levels and bosses. OG gamers like my Granddad had to do all the digital cartography themselves and put in the man-hours of memorizing and mapping out whole levels to conquer those 8-bit landscapes. It was a journey.
These video game memories obviously rooted themselves deep into my psyche because when it came to creating my own comic book hero he was a character that could transform himself into any shape or machine just like the Blob.
There weren’t many adventures of Super Changer Guy recorded in pen and paper. I remember I had a few other pages of comics that featured my best friends Drew Pond and Christa Stone as supporting characters but sadly those pages did not survive the perils of time and relocation. But I’ll always have these memories of my friends and family that helped shape the creativity of my childhood.
I hope my own children always have a creative outlet of some kind and I hope they actually have talent to go with it.