Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Home of the Brave: Comic Strip

Long ago, in a age without stylus tablets or Photoshop, I had a comic strip which was printed monthly in a fanzine. I belonged to a online service called Q-link, which I was able to dial-up on my Commodore 128 for $.06/minute. (That's right, I had a 128k computer and spent about $60-$75 a month for an extremely slow 300 baud service. If any of this is not making sense to you - look it up on Google!!)

A strip from The Home of the Brave circa 1985

On Q-Link, I joined a forum of comic book people. The forum had collectively made their own comic book stories and images, which were gathered by the forum leader. He would then make photo copies, staple the pages together and mail them out to all members. This was the only way to share our works with each other ( and far more cheaper then downloading our works for $.06/minute.)

My contribution was doing 5 comic strips a month, based on my dysfunctional superhero family called, "The Home of the Brave". The star was Ollie, a teen who wins multi-millions in a lottery (by mistake) and decides to become a superhero. He is trained by his "Gramps", who lives in their attic and is thought to be insane ( but the truth is, he was the WW2 super-spy he claims to be.) The rest of the cast is rounded out: a sweet oblivious mother, a doubting curmudgeonly father, an insane candy store lady, a master disguise sidekick dog name Roger and reluctant frightened sidekick cat named Mew.

Very rare colored version of my comic strip (This one was my favorite of the bunch)

The fanzine lasted over 2 years (and later several pages of the strip were reprinted and revamped for a local paper called The Spa Times.) I tried to submit my work to various newspaper syndicates, all which said my work was good but the topic was too specific for the market . . . that people in general wouldn't have an interest in a superhero family. (Well over a decade later, Pixar's The Incredibles would prove those syndicate people to be very wrong.)

A sample of the 5-strip monthly format which lasted over 2 years in Comix Fanzine
These were the very first 5 strips of the series
Oh, and for those who don't know who Johnny Carson was . . .