Here’s to William Ehmann Jr.

On July 6th, 1988 I got a large manila envelope in the mail. Inside were 14 minicomics and one full zine. The name in the return address was Bill Ehmann Jr. Bill had seen some fliers I’d put up around town to advertise my services as an illustrator (art mercenary) and was inspired to send me some of his work.

These were the first minicomics I’d ever seen. I’d wanted to draw comics ever since I was a kid but I’d mostly given up on the idea of drawing for a “real” publisher. I was a better artist than most of the people I knew personally but I wasn’t nearly as good as the guys drawing for Marvel, DC, Charlton, Eclipse or … anybody. I couldn’t afford to print my own comics. Or so I thought.

Bill’s little xeroxed masterpieces gave me an example of what kind of comics I could do with the level of skill and the lack of budget I had. Two weeks after getting these in the mail I printed out one hundred copies of the first issue of Cheap Thrills at the Kinkos a few blocks from where I was living.

I never met Bill in person. I sent him some of the minicomics I did and traded a letter or two. I went to a showing of his collage art. He wasn’t doing minicomics by the time he sent me that package. I got lucky and got inspired.

Every so often I google his name. So far I haven’t had any luck at finding him. I’ve found listings of a few of the minis he sent me but nothing that points back to him.

So, Bill, if you’re out there, I want to say thank you again for sending me these minicomics. You turned on a light when I needed it!