A few years back I got the bright idea to draw a cartoon a day for a year, never actually considering how really long a year can be when doing a task like this! The idea was to capture the past and tell the story of the early years of Labrador City, a mining town built in Western Labrador by the Iron Ore Company of Canada. This would be a kind of memoir as I recollected the experiences myself and the other kids of town lived through as we came of age during the 1960’s and 70’s.
I called the strip ‘Sculpin Tickle’, a fictional place in my mind which represents to me a cultural homeland or an ‘all encompassing’ community. I commenced to draw ‘with both tails wagging’ so to speak. Well, to my credit I made it nearly nine months before the rigors and influences of daily life brought the project to an unceremonious halt. I am happy with the volume of thoughts I did manage to preserve and I thoroughly enjoyed all the comments I received from friends and strangers alike who were reading this strip.
Note: the earlier strips are on this site under their own tab!
Ever since shelving this project it has annoyed me that I did not complete the 365 panels I had originally intended, nor did I actually bring any closure to the story and as everyone knows, endings should never be left dangling. In the time since I’ve wondered how I might close the loop. I’ve considered a darker, Part Two of Sculpin Tickle (which up to this point dealt with the brighter aspects of life in Labrador West) in which I would discuss the issues of substance abuse, broken homes, relatively high suicide rate, and so on. This avenue I’ve decided would be too depressing to relate and I would certainly struggle to discipline myself enough to complete.
So here and now I find myself on the road again, working three weeks of every month on a shipbuilding gig in Quebec, far away from my home on the Island of Newfoundland. This affords me some time to progress further in the project, a task that I feel is important to complete as it not only relates our story in Labrador West, but in effect tells a story similar to many other mining towns within the Canadian Shield that sprang up during the last half of the last century! I think that is reason enough to continue for the pure personal and historical account of those times.
And so I begin now, to pick up the story a few years on and I hope to show how some have stayed, some of us have moved on, some have returned, and yet, throughout it all the consciousness instilled in our psyches; that feeling of being a part of something that only a small number of people have ever experienced, has permeated into every aspect of our lives, careers and families.