Like a lot of folks with a comics obsession, I spent a healthy portion of my childhood putting pen to paper pursuing my own creations. Problem is, I didn't stick with it and now I have the comparable skills of a guitarist who struggles through a Blink-182 cover. I usually mask this regret with lofty notions of my self-improvement in other areas (I think I got better at writing since the ninth grade, right?!), but seeing what Bryan Lee O'Malley achieved in the space of those same ten years of hard work is a valuable reminder that a decade can make a huge difference.


O'Malley's penchant for humor is apparent in this strip from 2000, but aside from a general manga sensibility, his artwork doesn't much resemble the style coveted by fans of his 2003 "Lost at Sea" or 2004's "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life."

It's important to consider that this is a lighthearted strip rather than an entry into his professional portfolio at the time, but compared to what he'd publish less than three years later, it's like O'Malley made an NBA: Jam-on fire-level dunk and shattered the backboard. Today in 2010, his skills and style are even more polished and revered.

Not everyone has a fraction of the talent that O'Malley has, but it's encouraging to remind oneself that maybe modern legends are made rather than born.

Of course, my hippie-level optimism may be blinding me from the fact that he arrived on Earth as a baby via an escape pod from a dead planet (that had been under a red sun)...