Here’s a real oddball for you:

This is almost too embarrassing to post. Almost.

When I was a teenager, I harbored an ambition to draw graphic novels. Not comic books, because back then comic books were almost exclusively superhero stuff, and I never got into superheroes. I was more interested in what you’d find between the covers of Heavy Metal or Epic Illustrated. I was never too serious about this ambition, because I think even as a teenager I sensed that the odds of making a decent living at it were very, very slim. But my sketchbooks from the era are filled with semi-finished graphic novel pages (or in some cases semi-finished chapters) and concepty stuff.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise then that what might be my first-ever published piece was a graphic-novel-style strip for my college newspaper (Virginia Tech’s Collegiate Times). This was the first episode; I think my whole run was maybe six or eight strips (which barely got the story going). This predated any of my “real” published illustration by maybe five years.

This was a tough one to scan, because the original was pasted up, and it’s really crumbled in the (holy crap!) 25 years since I put it together. When properly reproduced, when all this stuff was clean and the glue hadn’t browned and things weren’t peeling away, you wouldn’t see the gridlines and blotches and lines around the individual elements.

You might wonder where this story was going. I haven’t a clue. I’m not sure I knew at the time either.

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