A man with barely usable arms or legs writes and draws comics from a stick in his mouth.
Meet Larime Taylor, a bearded, middle-aged California-based comic book artist stuck in a wheelchair and living in near poverty. Taylor started a Kickstarter project to raise funds for "A Voice in the Dark Vol. 2 - Killing Game," a comic book series on a girl who leaves home for college to escape her evil past.
He's hoping his passion and artistic skill for making comic books will allow him to finish the series while getting off social security. The government assistance barely provides enough to sustain his near poverty-stricken lifestyle. And suffice to say he has trouble finding a job considering his physical impairments and, frankly, it just wasn't his passion to do anything but comic books, he says in a video documentary.
Taylor describes the struggle of the lead character, Zoey, as someone who must deal with the evil characteristics she was born with -- a telling parallel that he admits in part relates to the comic's own physical immobility struggles from which he was born with -- Arthrogryposis, a birth defect that debilitates the arms and legs.
Taylor says he learned how to write with his mouth in preschool at a school for disabled children. The instructors there kept trying to get him to learn how to write and draw with his hand, but he simply didn't have the motor skills to do it. His mother convinced the school to allow him to hold the pencil in his mouth. As it turned out, he was able to write the whole alphabet in his mouth.
The independent crowdfunded project has raised over $4,600 from 173 backers with eight remaining days, as of this writing. The project will be funded on May 15th if it reaches its $6,000 funding goal.
Taylor writes on his project page that he's confident he'll finish the project on deadline, as he's able to pen consistently 1-2 pages per day. The first batch of comics is estimated to be completed in PDF format just before July ends.
This Kickstarter will fund his second storyarc (extension of his original story) in the Zoey series, and will consist of 5 issues at 21 pages each. "Dark Zoey," his first Kickstarter, relates to his first storyarc in the series, which overwhelmingly exceeded its funding goal of $1,500 by receiving $9,404. The project was funded on October 2012.
Among the many people in support of the project include several big names in the comic scene, such as Kevin Smith, Neil Gaiman, and Gail Simone. "Beautiful art for an often disturbing, but completely compelling, story," wrote Simone on the cover praise quote for the comic book series.
He recalled attending a recent Free Comic Book Day at his local comic book store and meeting a young woman who showed him a picture of her two-and-a-half year old daughter with the same condition as him.
"Seeing me as a professional comics creator gave her a lot of hope and encouragement that her daughter can do whatever she wants to do," said Taylor. "It's important for people with disabilities to not let that become their mentality... you have to use what you have and think outside the box."
Everyone's got a dream and we all want to achieve it, but most will never actually follow through. We make excuses that we don't have the time, aren't talented enough, are too stressed with life's responsibilities, it will take too much work, or that it is too late in life.
Yet here's this man following through on his dream, a dream that is no easy feat for an ordinary man, and is seemingly physically impossible given his condition. It just shows us how far we can go in life if we let our mind's believe and have an unbreakable passion.
Indeed, as far as comic book superheroes go, I'd say he's a real-life superhero.