Comics were a pretty big influence growing up. And what I realized later as I got into filmmaking is that comics were really my introduction to storyboards, which are in essence little frames of a film.
I was never a die-hard DC guy (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, etc.) or a tried and true Marvel fan (Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, Thor, etc.). I was a little bit of this, a little bit of that. I loved Spidey, especially when he’d wax philosophic against the dramatic New York skyline at zero hour. But then I also loved The Justice League of America because it was this great cornucopia of Superheroes: Superman, Batman, AquaMan, Wonder Woman and then if you were lucky you’d get a special appearance by Hawkman (a fav) or The Atom.
Sometimes when I was little and Mom was away on vacation with friends, I’d crawl into bed with Dad with my pile of comics. I’m thumb through my latest issue of Metal Men or lose myself in The World That Time Forgot (Army Men vs. Dinosaurs – how cool was that?!) and Dad would glance over from his novel (he was a big reader) and smirk. Once he put down his book and said, ‘I know you love those things but wouldn’t you like to read some real adventure, with all the thrills of being there, scared, excited and running for your life?’
Are you kidding?
I’m sure my eyes were wide and I couldn’t fathom what could be better than my beloved comics, but I burst out, ‘You bet!’
Dad nodded, got up and went into the living room and came back with a novel that had no cover but was blue with red binding. I opened it up and it read: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I looked up at Dad who caught my eye as if waiting for my response.
‘That is great adventure. It’s one of my favorite books. Trust me. you’ll love it.’
I remember opening it up and sinking deeper into the covers as he climbed back into bed and resumed his novel. I know he glanced my way every now and then but I was already lost with Jim Hawkins and this frightening guy named Long John Silver. But something told me I’d eventually get to like him. I was right, of course, I did like him, but I fell in love with the novel and from then on began asking Dad about other adventure novels. King Solomon’s Mines was followed by Huckleberry Finn, followed closely by The Red Badge of Courage. Dad even let me read The Poseidon Adventure after he finished it but warned me it didn’t end so well for one of the main characters who was a boy about my age. But it didn’t matter because I felt like Dad and I were on the ship together and wherever he was I knew I’d be okay.
After all, he’d brought me safely back from Treasure Island, hadn’t he?