Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Blast from the (far distant) Past!

So, a couple of weeks back I attended I-Con with my friend and colleague, Mark Mazz. Our visit there was fruitful on a couple of levels (in that we got to meet with a number of our contemporaries while at the comicbook portion of the event). Plus, I got to hang with Mark, and his lovely family.

As I was leaving, Mark handed me a copy of the very first comic that Mark helped produce (As you all know, Mark was the creative Director on the three issues of Psychosis!, and issue #7 of CAG all of which contained stories of mine (see sidebar). The comic Mark gave me was Utterly Strange Stories #1. The 1991 comic features a full color Plasma Baby cover by Joseph Michael Linsner, a nine-page story, entitled Mercy Street written by David Quinn and entirely illustrated by Linsner in his classic CFD B&W style, a super vintage CFD ad and an ad for Plasma Baby with a Linsner painting!

The second story in the comic is Plasma Baby by Writer artist Mitch Waxman. Plasma Baby is Waxman’s homage to Japanese monster flicks. After it’s debut in Utterly Strange Stories it moved on to Caliber Press where it was appeared in a pair of critically acclaimed miniseries.

Both of the stories in this comic are quite entertaining, with Quinn & Listner’s tale a haunting story of confinement, loneliness, and feeling trapped, while Waxman’s story is a more lighthearted entry into the genre of giant monsters. After reading the comic, I realized that Mark (the comic’s Creative Director) really had this long history of producing high-quality independent comics, and it made me wish that I had spent a greater part of my early career self-publishing.

Fun stuff, all around. As I did a quick search across the net, I discovered that copies Utterly Strange Stories still exist and are available for sale. If you are interested in what a high-quality Indie comic looked like in the early ‘90s (with work from top-flight creators in the field), then you should look this one up and grab a copy for yourself.

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