Damonkey Business: So I Married a Webtoonist
It still surprises me to think of how my wife and I got together.
She's from Atlanta Georgia, and I'm from Eastern Canada (no no, not Montreal – contrary to popular belief, there's some more Canada to the east of Quebec and Ontario). She's a child of the 90s and I'm a freakish byproduct of the 70s and 80s. She can groove to hip hop, slink and slide in her sexy way to sweet velvet sounds on a slick club floor, and the extent of my musikinetica skill is that I can spell the word 'dance'. She loves Austen and Hardy, while I, for all my English Grad background, still prefer Laurel and Hardy. Or maybe the Hardy Boys, if I were to stick to the same page-turning medium.
So many little and not-so-tiny differences between us, combined with that geographic wedge between the two, make for an unlikely couplehood, indeed. But here we are, and do you know why?
You can try to come up with all the alternate "logical explanations" you want in the world, but there is just no denying this perhaps shocking yet still obvious truth: My wife and I are together because of webcomics.
It started out innocently enough, of course. She, being another webcartoonist, had been posting her work independently a few months prior to my own webtoon debut; but then she took a fateful step, and joined Keenspace in the Fall of 2000. At that time, we both happened to be subscribed to the Keenspace YahooGroup, and her posts quickly caught my eye. How could someone NOT find a person whose email nick was "Waiter, there's EVIL in my soup" incredibly interesting?
We shared a few witty exchanges over the Group, and as time went by, we found ourselves bumping into each other more and more on message boards and chatrooms and so on and so forth. Our interests were the same, and we found ourselves grooving on each other's webcomics, to boot. Soon enough, we were decent online friends. We even started making plans for future collaborations... never aware that such innocent propositions actually bore the weight of a more intimate foreshadow.
Of course, at the time, circumstances dictated certain things, and she and I never thought anything more of each other aside from being fun acquaintances trading humor and wit, or the odd piece of comics advice or convo. Then we met at the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2001 (where a large group of webcartoonist friends had decided to converge), and our worlds collided and our hearts exploded with spontaneous First Sight Love Disease.
It should be mentioned that we almost DIDN'T meet, but webcomics came to the rescue yet again, this time in the form of fans and peers who not only managed to encourage me to come down, but who also bought me an airline ticket, some hotel room space, and admission to the convention – how could I refuse a free vacation, even BEFORE I knew that I was also going to be meeting the love of my life?
Webcomics didn't just get us to meet and fall in love, though. In the two tenuous long-distance years to follow, it also KEPT us together.
* * *
With limited communication means, many a time occurred when we just weren't able to write or talk to one another for certain painful periods of time. In these absence-filled moments, we both found ourselves going to one another's webcomics for comfort. Somehow, the essence of ourselves, deeply infused in the ink and imagination of our linked artistic passion, could seep from data packets right through the monitor, to reach right for our hearts and souls, and fill us with enough strength and love to endure the pains of separation for at least one more day.
Our alter-egos were always there to comfort us, too; while you'd think that my crazy silly madman of a noseless jalior would have scared her away, even HE found himself getting a bit of some Meaghan action in BOTH our comics, sometimes as part of the storylines, sometimes as spontaneous surprise omake or art. In a sense, we were using our alter-egos to fill in that space that we longed so much to share ourselves. And these cartoons us-es, while seemingly having all the fun, helped us endure until we were able to make all those little fantasies a blissful reality.
Long story impossibly short – I proposed to her at the following year's convention (ask me about that sometime), and now we're blissfully married (well, almost blissfully – still waiting for our visas, she being American and me being a Canuck). And all of this was thanks to webcomics.
* * *
Think all this a coincidence?
Since then, I know of at least half a dozen couples in my circle of peers and friends who have linked up through webcomics, and those are just those who are close to me. Maybe it's something in the ink that we pen our strips with, maybe it's the romantic lighting of the 72dpi resolution we format our comics into for web dissemination, or it may just simply be that webcomics have become the new bouquet of roses and box of chocolates in the collective mindset of this wild and wacky global village world. All I know is that had I *not* started my webcomic, I would have likely never met my wife – when you live thousands of miles apart from someone, you usually don’t get many chances to cross paths very often, much less even once.
Sure enough, some of you may think to yourselves that there HAS to be a "logical explanation" for this sort of thing, a solution to this quirky loverrific puzzle. You may try to argue that it's just a matter of people meeting who happen to have similar interests, so of course such pairings must happen. Others may decry this as "just another spinoff of the Internet Love craze" of the new millennium. More of you may dare say that a half dozen, or a dozen or a dozen dozen people getting together is not something that out of the ordinary – that you'd see the same percentages in ANY realm of interest or hobby circle.
Still, the fact remains. Those who draw webcomics attract mates.
Two of my closest webcartoonist friends have just recently started their OWN little romantic escapades (oddly enough – they have paired up with school chums of my darling wife's, without either her or I having ANYTHING to do with it!). Another pair of cartoonist buddies have just recently announced that they will be getting married soon. Every year at the 'Con, we watch and smile as new connections are made and an infinite canvas of potential romance is kindled.
This has to be more than just coincidence or random chance or a game of percentages.
So if you find yourself looking for an excuse to start a webcomic, and you happen to also be looking for a Mr. or Ms. Right, well, here's your chance to kill two cartoon birds with one well-doodled stone.
Draw a webcomic, and you'll get nookie.
Could there be any better incentive?
Note: Since writing this column piece, Damonk has *finally* been awarded the right to see his wife again -- the visa documents have been processed after a YEAR of painful delay, and the couple has been told to expect them in the mail by the end of September. Needless to say, Damonk and Meaghan are two happy cartoonists now.
NOTE 2 (Nov. 6, 2003): As it turned out, the visa good news proved to be short-lived. The visa was deemed invalid since the couple was now married, and not fianceed anymore. This despite the couple having told the agenices involved that they were going to be married on a specific set date, and they ASKING the authorities back in January if they had to change their application now that they are married (to which they were told at the time that they didn't have to change anything. So the two remain exiled from one another, and wait patiently to be reunited.
NOTE 3 (Mar. 1, 2004): After fourteen months of separation, good news has finally struck. Damonk was offered a sweet permanent job in Ottawa, which means that the couple will be able to afford having Meaghan move up to Canada. Plans have already been made, the apartment has been secured, and the expected moving date is April 15. The waiting is almost over, and the two can smile one again.