It’s rare that I pick up a comic so precisely aimed at my own personal situation. As a dad recently returned to skateboarding myself I felt obliged to check out Brett Hamil’s Sk8 Dad Summer. But I was nervous. Other parents often horrify me. What if I dislike this Sk8 Dad person? And what if that hits a bit too close to home and opens up a fresh vein of self-loathing?
I’m happy to report that my fears were unwarranted. This ~60-page volume published by Birdcage Bottom Books is a thoughtful, sensitive examination that got me, yes, stoked. The book starts with a middle-aged man deciding to build a backyard skateboard ramp while thinking back upon a beloved ramp of his youth. From there it’s a chronicle of how that decision fits with the complications of adulthood and fatherhood.
Hamil’s drawing is lovely. Pared-down yet vivid. Most of the book’s text is narration and the drawing always enhances the message–no talking heads or rote illustration.
Though highly readable this is no lightweight fare. Hamil left me with lots to chew on, from how childhood experiences become formative, to the importance of life-affirming activities, to the expectations others put upon us and those we put upon our children. Despite the personal relevance of some of the details for me, it’s not a pandering work. There’s a lot here for anyone in this messy, confusing life whether or not they can ollie.