The personal history of Southern California through comics

Excerpt of Now It Can Be Told Chapter 10: I Was the Only Kid on the Island of Blue Dolphins

Cartoonist and animator Scott Shaw! (Flintstones, Captain Carrot) has been releasing his first web-comics and they are an incredibly entertaining way to hear his great stories of his past. And in the process we get a great look at local history in Southern California.

The latest chapter of Now It Can Be Told is about the 9-year-old Scott visiting San Nicolas Island, an uninhabited land mass off the coast of California. Well, uninhabited except for the US Navy where his father was stationed. Scott got to see experiments with robot-piloted drone planes, huge sub-sea caves with ancient rock engravings (right), anti-gravity roads, human skulls, sea lions and lobsters.

The title of the chapter, “I Was the Only Kid on the Island of Blue Dolphins” is a reference to the 1960 children’s book Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, and illustrated by Ted Lewin. Based on a true story, the book is about a Native American woman who was stranded on the island for 18 years in the 1800s. Most people probably hadn’t even heard of the island until this popular book. In an amazing coincidence, the book was released about a month after Scott’s visit to the island.

Scott’s comic is a look at a part of California most of us will probably never get to see but thanks to the magic of comics (and Scott’s memory), now we can!

Other installments of Scott’s Act-i-vate comic depict his working at the classic animation studio Hanna-Barbera (and inexplicably and hilariously dancing with Joseph Barbera!) in the late 1970s to late ’80s, the pot-smoking early ’70s in the Normal Heights neighborhood of San Diego, meeting hot rod cartoonist “Big Daddy” Ed Roth in the east LA city of Maywood, and more.

(Scott Shaw! also provided animation for Dig Comics, the award-winning documentary I helped produce.)

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