Okay, let’s see if I can do this without getting emotional.
While I know many of you may be expecting another silly comic today, I’m sorry to say that recent events in the city of Gwangju have left me feeling too emotionally and physically hollow to draw something worth giggling at. Instead, here’s some art I’ve done in the past few days.
A few days ago, a dear friend of mine passed away after years of being one of the strongest yet funniest men I had ever met. When I first arrived in this wonderful city I now call home, he was one of the first people to help my still culture shocked self feel at ease. I believe he had this effect on a lot of people who have passed through here. Our love for fatty foods, as well as his constant approval of my drawings of curvy women, brought us closer together, and I have considered him a great friend ever since.
Thanks to him, I have grown as both an artist and a person during my time in Korea. When I first started this comic, he was always eager to give me ideas while using any excuse he could to post my content on the city’s blog (which he ran). He was always there to congratulate me on even the smallest of achievements while having his share of colorful things to say whenever I was met with negativity. In recent years, he had enough confidence in me to let me take over the very blog he felt the need to advertise my work. Seeing how the blog in question started off as his project to make Gwangju a better place, it’s been an honor to have it trusted in my hands.
Honestly, I could go on for days about what he meant to me. My terrible addiction to poutine was triggered by him forcing me to try some. His likeness was featured in one of the earliest Dear Korea comics ever made. Due to his meddling, my artwork and designs can now be seen all over his restaurant, which serves some of the best food I’ve ever had. Sadly, despite him trying to convince me otherwise, I still think black licorice is absolutely disgusting. It’s a shame I never got to cook him a hot bowl of shrimp and grits.
Michael Simning was a hell of a guy, and the world is now a darker place without him. Beind told by his amazing wife just how proud he was of me was one of the most beautiful, heart wrenching things I had ever heard. Growing up the way I did, I was never the one to make those around me proud. To know that someone I looked up to so much saw me in such a way is something I’ll treasure forever.
Rest in peace, Mike. We all miss you. Thank you for everything you’ve done. Here’s hoping I can someday become half the bad ass you always were. You may be gone, but your legacy will continue to be an inspiration to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing you and beyond.
To learn more, feel free to check out this link. A simple internet search should also yield a number of results.
Welp, it looks like I failed at my own challenge.