Early Comics

I've definitely got the bug to start drawing comics again. Just today over lunch, Mike and I were discussing the possibility of doing a Ribeye the Bullbarian comic book. We're both psyched to attempt it! Ironically, we started laying out a Ribeye comic back in 1993, we just never finished it.

I started wanting to draw comic books long before I ever learned how to draw! It's a kick to go back and look at my early efforts. I drew comics from my earliest days, the first dating back to 1977 when I was 9 years old. I still have many of my early comics- my mother has the whole collection.

One of the things that clicked between Mike and I when we met in art school, was the fact that we both had a desire to draw our own comics and write our own music from an early age.

I loved super-hero comics a lot, and wrote and drew adventures to amuse myself and the small readership of classmates and friends I had. Back in the days before affordable PC home-printing, I used to use the library photo-copier as my main 'printing press', and later the presses in my school's communications classes. I was a budding 'publisher' from an early age.


Various issues of 'The Raiders'


One of my favorite series was the adventures of a super-hero group called 'The Raiders'. I drew 72 issues of this comic from September 1982 to July 1986 at the rate of several 16- page issues per week. I used to sell copies for 10, 12 or 15 cents, imitating the price structure of silver age comics that I was a big fan of. I usually drew most of the issues, but many of them were written by my friends, most notably James Fitzgerald who plotted about half of the stories. My next door neighbor and childhood buddy Steven Brown wrote and drew quite a number of comics himself, including a few Raiders adventures.

A stack of Speed Demon issues


My favorite super-hero was the Raiders' leader, a character named Speed Demon. He was popular enough with my tiny readership to spin off his own series of 24 issues. Speed Demon was something of a high-speed acrobat who got by without any real super powers, other than generally being too speedy for his foes to hit. His worst enemy was a sinister criminal syndicate known as C.L.A.W. which was rumored to stand for Criminal Legislative Authority Worldwide, though it was never officially confirmed. C.L.A.W. was always gunning for S.D. and they cropped up every few issues with some new sinister plot.

Sound Wave #1 from May 1986


Another character I really liked drawing was one called 'Sound Wave'. He was a teenage kid who suffered a freak accident while experimenting with a 'hyper-sonic' Hi-Fi stereo system in the garage of his best friend and inventive genius, Arnold. The incident left him with the ability to wield hyper-sonic sound as a weapon. But rather than take on the big time bad guys of the world, I wrote the character with the limitations of a teen stuck in a small city. He was the only 'super-hero' who had to bum rides off his parents to get to a battle, and who had to finish up before dinner time. His foes were mostly the local petty criminals and gang-bangers. Only his friend Arnold shared in his super-secret- and the two of them couldn't wait for Arnold to get his driver's license. All the while Sound Wave aspired to be a 'real' super hero someday, and maybe join The Raiders.

A Rack story from Zap Funnies #23, May 1985


I drew a lot of funny comics also. A favorite of mine was a character called 'Rack'. Rack was a suburban raccoon, and 'Pup-Scout' leader struggling to be a good role model for his young son Rackiddy. Unfortunately, most any lesson he tried to teach his son or the Pup Scout troop, backfired on him with disastrous results.

Ahh well, enough reminiscing, back to writing! By the way, I picked up a bunch more of the new drawings for the Ribeye book from Mike today- they all look GREAT!

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