Long-serving comics artist retires from Daily Texan

Albert Lee

The Daily Texan runs on its own calendar: A semester to the outside world is a year to our basement office. So, after 18 “Daily Texan years” over the course of seven actual years, I’m finally saying goodbye. After so much time, I don’t know if there are words to describe what this place means to me, but I’ll try. 

To me, the Comics Department is so much more than just a group of people spitting out comics and illustrations. It’s the dozens of friends I’ve made along the way. It’s countless nights spent drawing and editing, where the relatively business-like chatter of the rest of the office fades away as we talk, laugh and watch stupid videos on YouTube because we’re Comics and having fun is a part of the job description. It’s parties that range from lively blurs of alcohol and music to quiet nights of drawing and playing board games. 

It’s bouncing ideas around with Aaron. Waxing philosophical conversation about Marvel superheroes with Lex over sketches of half-baked comics. Talking animation with Connor. Hours discussing career choices with Audrey, or life choices with Lexi, long after we finished our work for the night. Happy chats over dinner and drinks with Channing, Lauren and Bixie. 

I’ve also made great friends with the rest of the paper. Being the editor or associate editor for Comics wasn’t always easy or fun, but looking back it was worth it for the friends alone. Without those positions, I never would have known the talented and hardworking people who made the rest of the Texan happen. And these friends come with their own memories. Pitching illustration ideas with Claire. Trying to capture the likeness of nondescript middle-aged politicians Alex is writing about. Somehow forgetting that Jack and I had the same piano teacher in high school as he reminds me in front of the whole staff. 

Joining The Daily Texan would be worth it a thousand times over for the friends and memories alone. But I also can’t discount what this organization has done for me personally. I owe my current level of skill in art and writing (such as it is) to the endless hours spent drawing and writing comics. I learned how to understand and befriend a wider variety of people. 

There’s one last memory I’d like to share. It’s watching Alekka and Rocky putting the page together while I wipe away tears, knowing it’s one of the last things I’ll do for the department. But I’m also content with the knowledge that Comics will be in good hands. Alekka, Rocky, you’ve done an amazing job helping me run this circus one last time, and I know you’ll keep up the great work. Channing, Lauren, I wish you guys smooth sailing. Our mutual home is now in your hands, and I can rest easy.