Hazzum Productions

Back in the ’90s – School is in Session

Back in the ’90s – School is in Session

The year was 1990. Chris, Deon, and I were on a course to carve out our legacy.  Chris and I wrote for what seemed to be weeks. Deon sat on the couch drawing the pages as fast as they were written. He laughed at Chris and me as we acted out fight scenes on the living room floor. Sometimes he would even join in on the fun. As the stories were wrapped up and in production, jobs were assigned and then…we realized we had no idea how we were going to publish it!  We could create it, but how the hell did we sell it?  We had no idea how out of our depth we were.  Ah to be young and dumb.

We found some local shows and off we went. Getting to know other artists and feeling our way around the comics scene. One show, in particular, stands out for me, Indianapolis was the city and the Ash Comic Show was the place. I can remember it so vividly.  We sauntered up to Gary Barker’s (Garfield) table, pages in hand, as cocky as a bunch of 22 year old’s can be, and thumped down our mountainous stack of pages and asked: “Can you tell us what you think of our new book?” I will never forget the look on his face or his response, “I’d say I think you need to redraw the book on the right sized paper and why are you using crescent board?” To say the wind had been sucked out of our sails is not accurate enough. After all, all eyes were on us, as everybody within earshot leaned in to see what our response was going to be. “Umm, what do you mean?” “Well, comic books are drawn on comic book paper, 11” X 17” Bristol board, so your pages aren’t proportionately sized to be reduced down for comic book printing.”

School was in session!

You have to remember it’s 1990, the internet didn’t exist yet for the public and no one would ever know of our mistakes if I’d just keep my mouth shut today. But that’s not how I roll. Today when I see a young creator making mistakes, I harken back to that one encounter, on that one day, at that one show, and I remember how embarrassed and foolish I felt.  But, now in 2020 when a new creator makes a mistake, it’s out there for the whole world to see and the internet is like the playground at recess and we live in such a cruel world. So, I extend a hand and I offer advice, like Gary did for us, hoping that it will lead them away from the mistakes we made and hopefully on to their paths of discovery and adventure.

I was so honored that Gary Barker became our friend.  We spent many a post-con night knocking back drinks at the bar and talking comics. He had so much to teach and we had so much to learn.

Until, next time…