Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Winged Wonders

As a kid, I not only read comics, but made up a bunch of my own. Most of those never saw any completion beyond the covers. I recently dug a big pile of these out of storage, most of them drawn in pencil on manila paper. As you'd expect, the images are pretty faded.

The majority of these were done when I was in about 4th grade. Based on "evolving" drawing ability, it looks like I came across these covers periodically, and decided to add to them, mostly, it appears between 6th and 7th grade, when it stopped. I noticed, as on the cover of "Super Spectacular" #3, (one of the first of these I drew) shown here, that the original price of 25 cents was changed to $1.00, I'm guessing due to the rising cost of comics when I was a bit older, and to the "spectacular' nature of the Winged Wonders vs Spike man story within. There are many images recognizably lifted from professionally published comic books, and many of the characters such as "The Green Giant," and "The Web" were obviously rip offs of The Hulk and Spider-Man (though in a prescient move, I changed the Web's costume to a black one, predating Spider-man's "Secret Wars" outfit by a good number of years. See you in court, Marvel.)

Like other comic book companies, I'd created an entire expansive universe, with characters guest appearing in each other's titles, and characters with their own titles also belonging to groups. There was even three universe shattering crossover events, also years before Marvel and DC had theirs. One here was called "The Stand" which appears to have been a self-contained mini-series which killed off a few of my major villains and heroes. Another multi-title event had some sort of plague turning the heroes and villains into vampires. A third was some cosmic event with a world shattering Galactus-type named Black Hole set on destroying the earth. This story took place mostly in the pages of the flagship title "The Freedom Fighters," a Justice League/Avengers-type group containing all of my big guns.

I have to admit a fascination with looking over these again. From the covers alone, I can see that there was obviously a rich interconnection between all of these home made comic book characters, that only my younger self could reveal. I only wish that my younger self had bothered to deal with the interior of these comics as well. Except for the first couple of pages of "The Green Giant" #1, it doesn't appear that any interior work was done.

It may interest those of you who don't know this, that when I was writing KOBALT for Milestone Media, I actually came across these covers, and decided to use some of the characters in KOBALT. Off the top of my head, the characters I know I used for certain were the villain trio, Hook, Line and Sinker. I was hoping to find a cover with them on it, but no luck, so far. I did find a list of villains, and a few looseleaf pages of character indexes for most of the comic book titles I created way back then, and did find their name mentioned several times. I'm still sure there's a cover somewhere.

If only I could go back and tell my 4th grade self that one day, some of those characters he created would be in a real comic book. Maybe, that would have spurred him into finishing some of the interiors.

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