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When I was in tenth grade, 1980-1981, I published a weekly “zine” (the kids today might call it a mini-comic, I dunno) featuring ongoing adventure storylines in comic strip form. Yes: weekly. Not that I hit every deadline. I think of it as was early practice for launching Modern Tales 23 years later. As a matter of fact, the work I did on this zine has informed every aspect of my adult career, from Free Speech TV (organizing contributors, getting people excited about the channel I was creating for them to put their material in, promoting it to viewers) through to my work at E-Line Media.

My friend Ben Adams happened to mention that he still had some of the issues, so I asked him to scan some — and he was kind enough to do so. Here’s issue # 3:

Things to note:

  • There are 4 comic strips here, all written and drawn by me:
    1. “King Cobra,” a monster hero in the vein of Man-Thing or Deathlok, two of my favorite comics at the time. See the Kirby crackle? I thought I was imitating George Perez.
    2. “Pegasus,” a medieval fantasy that centered around, you guessed it, a horse with wings.
    3. “Century Glider,” my attempt at space opera (and my attempt to lay out panels as ambitiously as the guy who drew the Star Wars comic, some dude named Howard Chaykin). For those who need it spelled out: Century Glider = Millennium Falcon, but less interestingly designed, and therefore easier to draw.
    4. And finally, “Power Pack,” a super-hero team that everybody thought was a rip-off of X-Men but which was actually a rip-off of The Fantastic Four. My Power Pack, by the way, predates Marvel’s Power Pack by a couple of years. Thank you very much.
  • I thanked Ben for something, back then, in the top, right-hand corner. That’s proof that he’s always been as helpful a guy as he is now! My signature hasn’t changed at all, if you feel like forging it.
  • The early issues comprised one single-sided piece of paper. Later I expanded to both sides of the page, and (if Ben’s scans are any indication) even put out a few multiple-page issues. They were just distributed as loose sheets of paper, occasionally, maybe staped in the top, right-hand corner. That was the form-factor, and the form-factor was the “brand,” you see.

C*TW, as we called it, got a lot better once I had my friends (including Ben!) start contributing their own stories and art. I’ll post some of those later.

[CORRECTION: Upon closer perusal, it seems my cousin Tracye helped me write some of these stories. I don’t remember her being involved … but my memory is less reliable than, you know, her actual name in the credits of a couple of these strips. Sorry, Trace!]