A St. Paul artist who's had trouble getting his creative spark back since his wife's death a few years ago has spent the last month showing Californians what a trooper he is.
Kevin Doyle will wrap up a San Francisco-to-San Diego hike of more than 600 miles on Thursday, when he strolls into a comic convention dressed as a stormtrooper from Star Wars.
Eileen was a comic artist who died of pancreatic cancer in November 2012 at age 45. Doyle tells the San Diego Union Tribune that since then he's "...struggled with how to deal with the loss. I’ve been self-destructive and my art suffered,” he said.
The couple often appeared together in their matching stormtrooper costumes. Kevin told StarWars.com he tried to throw Eileen off by proposing to her in a Darth Vader costume, but she knew it was him.
The Union Tribune says that since Eileen's death Kevin has left his job, lost his home, and has felt adrift.
He decided to regroup by going back to basics: walking. And Star Wars.
Doyle's been camping along the way – pushing his gear in a three-wheeled cart – and says he's been averaging about 20 miles a day while meeting a battalion of supporters.
Some of those who pose for photos with Doyle also offer him water or food, make donations, or share their own stories.
According to the Union Tribune, one couple hiked with him for 10 miles and invited him to return after the comic convention for some skydiving.
Doyle does plan to travel back up the California coast after Comic-Con, this time by train. He tells The Coast News he may arrange for a garrison of costumed stormtroopers to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
But after making himself a spectacle for a month, Doyle is also looking forward to some alone time, telling the newspaper: “We’ll see what happens after this. I kind of left this as an open book for me.”