In 1909 my grandfather won the Belfast Marathon.
On Halloween of that year he left for America where he would run in both the New York and Boston marathons. Eventually traveling across country with his family to settle in Fullerton, California. Yet, our family has never been far from Ireland, having visited many times. We call it ‘Heaven on Earth.’
I have been thinking a lot about how far my grandfather traveled and ran through out his long life and how it relates to my own race of a job search.
Life is a marathon. Everything you do is part of that race, there are no sprints, and hundred yard dashes. Marathons are long races in which you have to pace yourself, there will be long straightaways, up hill climbs, and sharp hairpin turns that take you in unexpected directions or make it feel like you are running in circles and heading back the way you came. You have to be willing to keep at it for the entire run, ever focused on the goal even if you can’t see the finish line.
My marathon began when I was young and fell in love with comic books and television animation. I wanted to be a part of that! Run that race. After all the run to Hollywood from my home was relatively short, but I didn’t realize just how far that run would actually be. The slow jog through school was a struggle until I stumbled upon a university professor in art who understood what I was running for.
My first real milestone came when I was hired as a background artist on the pages of the first issue of SUPREME for Image Comics. I thought that would lead me on a long straight away working in the comic book industry, but a turn too soon had me going in another direction.
Miles would pass and I kept on running. Along the way I would meet another running nearly the same race as I. She became the love of my life. Together Shannon I would run and create the webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY which has become a major part of our race for many years and miles. Though Shannon’s race had already lead her to work in television animation production, we soon found a mile stone together writing episodes of an animated series in Japan called MIDNIGHT HORROR SCHOOL, though very few people have ever seen it in the U.S. Along the road we have both written short stories and novels, and I have been hired to do book illustrations. After running our race for what seemed like forever Shannon and I were finally married.
Last year my marathon lead me to working as an Associate Producer on an animated feature film. Again I thought I was on a straight away towards my goal. Unfortunately, it was a short run when the project got canceled. I learned a lot from the experience and hope to use my skills as I race for another production job.
I just passed my latest milestone having a comic book published in which I both wrote and illustrated the story. All-Star Pulp Comics #4, from Airship 27 Productions, contains my story “The DA’s Dilemma,” staring the Veiled Avenger, a heroine out of the Golden Age of comics.
Many times I have run long distances with nothing around and feeling very alone, no one to hand me a cup of refreshing water when I need it or provide needed encouragement and direction, and yet I refuse to give up. This race is too important to me.
Now, with thoughts of my grandfather, I have begun to wonder if my marathon race may lead me back to Ireland. I have discovered there are many great animation production houses in Ireland and if I got a chance to work with them my race would bring together two of my great joys; Ireland and Animation.
Marathons are, as I have said, long races and I am nowhere near being able to see the Finish Line. For all I know it hasn’t been installed yet. Just know that my shoes are tied and I’m still on the road. It’s time to run!
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
October 6th, 2018