8/24/2011

Comic Fandom: Early Beginnings

So, at this point I've met professional artist Mike Zeck, fan publisher, Tim Corrigan and fellow fan artist, Jerry Ordway.

From there, somehow that I do not recall, I got plugged into a group of fans that were organized called “Inter-Fan.”

“Inter-Fan” connected like minded fans with others to create artwork and stories that could be published in fanzines by those who were willing to print it. The reward, or pay, was getting your work printed. Much like today where many people do comics on the web, or for print, perhaps both. Some get no money, but they do get published.

In my day, without the internet, we only had “print” so there were no other avenues of getting your work seen by a lot of people besides a few fanzines, published by individuals who might have the money to pay for printing and a small ad in the “CBG” to sell it. I don't know that anyone back then ever turned a profit, or broke even.

There are still many today who as small, indie press people just want an outlet for their work and keep this type of book alive by footing the bill for printing their own work, without any pay per page. With web sites and self publishing today, there is a better chance to make money on your work, or at least break even on the deal and, but case, have a hit on your hands and be able to turn your passion into your job. [ A job you love doing, that you would do even if you didn't get any money. ]

So during my “Inter-Fan” days, I think they just connected people. Sometimes there was a specific assignment, other times it was just getting some letters written to others and creating. It was during this time, I became acquainted with Mitch O'Connell, Karl Kesel, Sam DeLa Rosa, and some others I'm sure that I'm forgetting others, so please, if you're reading this, let me know. I'm hoping some others will be able to fill in the gaps for me, as I've become cloudy in this era of time, being so long ago, but I'm trying my best.

I also remember getting to know Doug Hazelwood. The piece of art that I remember he did that really got my attention was a drawing of the “Werewolf.” It was very well drawn and inking darkly, in almost a wood cut type of look. Doug and I had mail exchanges, but I don't remember ever working on anything he did.

Sometime during this whole “fan” connecting period I also met Willie Blyberg and Steve Lightle.

Willie was another talent, who when I first saw his “fan” work, I didn't understand why he wasn't working for Marvel or DC Comics. His work had a Gil Kane / Wally Wood feel to it. They way he lighted his characters and inked, showed this clearly.

I remember his fanzine “Wowee Kazowie!” This seemed to be a fanzine to showcase Willies work. Something he could use to get noticed by Marvel or DC Comics. It was really kool and I wish I still had my copies to look thru.

Willie and I would exchange many letters over a few years. He always wrote back twice what you would write him. I remember him giving me in-depth critiques of my work. Again the details have become foggy and I've forgotten a lot more than I remember. I know that Willie did become a professional inker for DC Comics.

Upon first seeing the work of Steve Lightle, I was as impressed with his drawing as I was with Jerry Ordway. I can't remember the name of his publication, however I think the name of his character was “Silver Shark.”

Thru letters we got to know each other and I eventually inked a story for Steve. Odd thing was, his pages were drawn small...maybe 8.5” x 11” rather than the 11” x 17” stuff I had been inking.

I remember not being pleased with the work I did. I don't think I did his pencils any favors at that time.

I could probably run on and on with many more stories of the beginnings of my fan days, but since I lack a lot of details, they would be vague recalls at best. So I'm trying to keep thing short and concise so that you won't get bored, or I won't write “embellished” memories.

I never thot this story would become a blog, perhaps later an eBook, and I realize that by purging all my older stuff when I moved to Orlando in late 1989, I just didn't take a lot of stuff with me, as I wanted to get rid of a lot of old stuff that was taking up space.

Now it would have been nice to have had the letter and 'zines to refer to.

I've googled a lot of the topics above and found little about most of it. Maybe someone, or a lot of someone's can help fill in some holes?

My story gets clearer soon..as I find work to pay for that light table I had been wanting to practice inking the copies Mike Zeck had been sending me.

By the way a lot of the above happened when I was 14-15, just before I got to speak with Mike Zeck.

These posts' are somewhat of a roller coaster ride with their ups and downs, but it was important to get down as much early history as I could. It's the way the story starts.

I have some clearer memories upcoming...so keep tuned in.

5 comments:

Jason Moore said...

Love this sort of stuff John! Looking forward to the next chapter.

Craig Zablo said...

For those interested...

I wrote about the Doug Hazzlewood Curse of the Werewolf Werewolf here http://craigzablo.com/?p=3076 and Willie Blyberg here http://craigzablo.com/?p=1573

Brian Jones said...

Great stuff JB..keep em coming! :)

sheena said...

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Hat’s off. Well done, as we know that “hard work always pays off”, after a long struggle with sincere effort it’s done.

Anonymous said...

Wow - great story - can't wait to read more