A little over a year ago GIANTS BEWARE came out. Around the same time, my papi was getting very sick with cancer and would eventually pass away in October.
My papi was old school, and was never very quick with the compliment.
I remember years ago, over dinner, we were talking about my career and he said, “Well, I guess leaving law school was not as big a mistake as I thought you’d made.” That was his way of offering a compliment, and of course I took it.
Last year, I flew into Columbus to see him. Coincidentally, Rafael was doing an event at
Cover to Cover with our colorist and friend, John Novak. I was reluctant to go. At that point, my dad’s cancer was affecting his coordination and it was difficult to get him in and out of the car, and he tired quickly. Rafael encouraged me to join him and when I asked my dad if he wanted to go he just said, “It sounds interesting.”
It took some work getting him there, but we went and the event was amazing. It was packed. Old friends from Columbus were there, college professors, family friends. My dad was in the front row watching with his usual inscrutable expression. It was the first time my dad had been at an event for one of my creative endeavors. He got to see kids and adults who had read our book, enjoyed it, and were happy to have us sign their books. He got to see the joy our book was bringing people.
Afterwards, I asked him what he thought of the event. “It was interesting,” he said. I went fishing for a compliment, “But what did you think of all those people there, for our book? Neat, huh?” He responded. “Yes, it was interesting.” I pushed him even further, “But papi, isn’t it pretty cool to see a book your son wrote, out in the world and people seem to like it?” He thought about it for a moment and said, “It was VERY interesting.” For him, that was high praise, and I took it.