February 19th, 2009


Amateur Hour

Found these two drawings while cleaning up the art files a few weeks ago.

First up is an unused fanzine cover from 1983 (duh). It was drawn for Fantastic Fanzine #2, which, if I'm remembering correctly, was a sort of house zine for The Fantastic Store, the shop Jim Hanley co-owned before starting up Jim Hanley's Universe. Or it was just affiliated with the store, distributed there, or whatever. Anyway, #2 never saw the light of day. I can't remember if this piece ran with my Comics Journal interview or not.  Big mistake sending that stuff to them, but nobody forced me. I'm actually surprised I didn't tear this up, as I did with most of my work from around then. Anyway, feast your eyes on this winner from back in the day when I was young and enthusiastic and all the lillies were in bloom:

Speaking of Jim Hanley's Universe, this next one is an ad I drew which ran in the Comics Buyer's Guide in 1985. Unless I'm misremembering this, and my memory is often wrong, I believe the employees placed the ad in the CBG as a surprise for Jim. I think it was Glen Friedman's idea. Anyway, you can see my early clutter technique in full effect. Why learn to draw anything well, when you can just draw everything all over the place and cover it all up?  It's like pouring gravy all over a bad piece of meat to try to save it. And check out that lettering! Mamacita!

I show these masterpieces to you folks for a number of reasons.

One, I'm always interested in seeing a cartoonists early art. Unfortunately, this stuff, drawn in my early 20's, reveals the work of a fumbler who doesn't know his way around anatomy or composition, not to mention lettering and inking.

Two, it's an interesting snapshot of what was going on in comics at that time (i.e., hey, everyone, lookit the fanboy! He liked Alpha Flight!).

Three, it's a boost for young cartoonists. If this guy could eventually get work, then anybody has a shot.

Four, well, I have shown some improvement since then. Right? I said, RIGHT? I still have no real sense of anatomy or composition. But I don't like Alpha Flight anymore! I still like Sasquatch...but, y'know, he's a monster. It's not the same as liking Alpha Flight, I'm not crazy or anything! And I stopped reading Cerebus in the mid-80's. So, some things get better, folks. Another life lesson for you.

Five, it's funny to see this stuff, in the way your high school photo is funny. Meaning, it's embarrassing. But what the hey. 

I really used to be so enthusiastic.