In 1998, I was excited for Buzzboy to debut on comic store shelves-- May of 1998 was going to be the unveiling of Buzzboy #1, which would most certainly change the world of comics (Even though, as I look back, I was more blessed with enthusiasm at the time than talent.) So what should I dio, knowing that this opus was about to arrive?
Buy an ad? Done.
Create a website? Done (note bad for Septembver '98-- yes, I am that old).
I know-- I'll brag!
So I called my friend Steve Conley, who I met on teh AOL chatrooms (again: old), and had met at the very first SPX, or Small Press Expo as it is known. Steve had created a book called Avant Garde-- a nod to fun super heroes of the Wally Wood variety. Steve was also a graphic designer, a lover of the grit-free comics variety (make no mistake, I love all comics-- there just weren't manty fun ones coming out in 1998. "Steve-- guess what! I finally have a book coming out in May!" "Me too!" "Well, mine is about a hero in a leather jacket, who is funny, and has humor -laced adventures!" Me too!"
Uh-oh, I thought. Steve and I are doing the same thing! But, it turned out Steve's "thing" was Astounding Space Thrills, a cool sci-fi comic. And it was good. really good. So good, I was grateful that I got some attention for Buzzboy. But comics were better for the indy publisher back then, and so we both proceeded to publish our books. My art was good-- almost as good as Steve's first book, Avant Garde. But now his art was GREAT-- he had added grey tones and offered up a subtlety to his characters that I am still trying to match.
I realized the best I could hop[e for was to just keep pace with Steve-- outdoing him was not an option.
So, in the Fall of '99 when Steve told me he was going to do a daily webcomic about AST starting January 1, 2000, I immediately wanted to join the fun. Along with Marty Baumann and "Creator Kid," the three uof us started publishing on the web, something only a handful of other creators were doing (the only one I knew was Argon Zark by Charley Parker).
This is the part where everything gets weird, because Steve's great idea to get on the web was both a huge success-- and a bomb.
Come back next time for the reason why...