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Monday, 16 February 2015

Guess What I Found -Old Art!

While trying to skip through the current depression and crap I decided to see what condition some of my mini war-gaming trees were in.  You read right.  Anyway, I pulled the box out of the corner and lifted the teensy trees out and saw.....


Not gone through most of it but I found two items that brought back mixed emotions.

The first is ZAG 21 -which requires an explanation since I think in an old posting I showed the dummy cover to JAG 21.  Basically, "back in the day", publishers loved to mess you about.  Steve McManus at Fleetway once introduced me to other staffers as "A comic book carpet-bagger of the best kind!" 

I ought to point out that carpet-baggers were profiteering businessmen who moved to the South after the American Civil War in order to take advantage of the situation. In the UK a carpet bagger was seen as a sales agent trying to sell goods -some times not honestly!  I'm glad McManus added "of the best kind" after the intro.

I'd go to Marvel UK about twice a month -they really did love to mess people about.  I was once summoned to London to talk about an editorial job.  The day after talking to the head man by phone I travelled the 200+ miles to London to be told by someone the job had gone.  It transpired the **** in charge had given the job to a friend and knew it was gone when he invited me to their offices (he, incidentally, was "out of the office" that day.  Obviously heard about editors being held out of windows).

But on my rounds I would be asked to put a project together.  Mainly I had to simply pick strips or cover illoes from my files and do a quick Letraset logo on a cover and that was it.  Some times a comic had to be "tailored" to a request so an artist would produce a tailor made strip  (or usually me since deadlines were very tight).  It meant that comic strip inventory was pretty full.....and as an editor or publisher inevitably said "I've changed my mind" the work was never used -and no one got a "kill fee" because companies didn't like contracts or things in print that meant they might have to pay out.

ZAG 21 was a project based on a discussion with and then a request from an editor at Fleetway. and I shuffled things from JAG 21 and put in new strips and it became ZAG 21.   It turned out that despite what he said he had not, in fact, been asked "by management" to put a new title together. I have no idea what was going on in his little mind.

But then another company showed a LOT of interest in the title but there came another hitch.   Two of the artists who had begged, and I do mean "begged", me to take them on and write scripts for them decided they were too good.  One wrote: "To be honest I should be working for Marvel Comics.  I'm better than a lot of the people working there now..."  and he said I could not use the strip based on my script for ZAG 21 "I don't want it to come back and embarass me when I'm working for Marvel"  And the other artist had the same attitude.

Both left me in the lurch and, guess what?  They never even got in the same building as Marvel Comics. I had to draw both strips making it clear other artists would be doing the final work. 

The publisher was over the Moon with how it looked but "We've decided we want to go in a different direction" and what direction was that?  Nowhere.  I think the company moved into computer game mags and the vanished.  Another publisher was all "Yeah.  Wow. Cool" but he'd gone to a music club the Friday before our final meeting.  When we met he had decided that music magazines was the ay to go. 

Here is the funny bit.  Five years after getting no work the two artists who were "heading for the big time" got back in touch.  Tried going over the top on flattering me (like that has ever worked!) and asked whether I was looking for artists -perhaps I could write scripts for me as "you are a brilliant writer!"  I pointed out how they had left me in the lurch and that I would never write for them again and certainly not represent them.  "Stick with Marvel Comics" I wrote.

This image was the rough the colour cover (lost by the publisher) was based on and the "June 98" tells me this was done in 1997 -I always date my projects a year ahead and they are NEVER ready until the first six issues are completed.

Crap rough illo but a mixed memory.

The other cover is from, I believe 1992 -it would have been after the "All Finish" issue of Zine Zone International.  It was to be the "All Russia" issue but apart from Zine Zone International in what would have been the title sub-bar and dialogue I cannot remember what else it says!   The fellow in the checked suit has appeared on and off in Black Tower....and in a bath of custard trap set by Devilina (I think I posted that?).

The "All Russia" issue was to promote some of my comics getting to Russia -BUT there was some clamp down and the UK Government was also not happy with the idea.  Big sigh.

Yeah, I had long hair.  Yeah, I wore fingerless gloves.  Yeah, I was a bit more "buff" back then -I had to be to hold editors out of windows, throw publishers in the Thames and rip doors off their hinges. 

And the Berol pens used on these -the ink is still as black as it was in 1997 and 1992.

I know -crap art but all covers start somewhere (ZAG 21 had six -6- dummy covers so that if one cover never worked another might or......

fun times.

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