Midnight Commando 2012

Midnight Commando Sketch
When I started posting the All Cover Comics entries I felt a compulsion to do new versions of each one to show how my art skills have progressed in the 21 years since I drew the originals.

I fought the compulsion.

Number one, I don’t have time to draw 20 new comic book covers.

Number two, those covers were jokes. Jokes rarely get funnier if the anatomy being depicted is more accurate or the vanishing lines all line up properly. In fact, too much reality can make a joke less funny.

The Midnight Commando is a good example of that. All the mayhem would have been less humorous if it looked more realistic.

So, instead of redrawing all the covers I drew new portraits of each series’ protagonist and created a couple of new header banners for this site. You’ve probably seen them by now. If not, the header banners load randomly so, if you just refresh this page enough times they should eventually show up.
Midnight Commando inked

Midnight Commando #5

Midnight Commando #5This is the last  Midnight Commando cover. For my contributions to All Cover Comics I invented four “superheroes” and then drew the covers for the first five issues of each series. Bob Pfeffer, one of the publishers of All Cover Comics commented that he hadn’t seen yesterday’s cover before. I’m guessing that means that not all the covers saw print.

Of the four series, Midnight Commando was the only one for which I didn’t create any antagonists for the hero. I’m guessing that I just thought I’d thought of enough funny ideas for covers that adding a villain didn’t seem necessary.(Whether any of these covers are actually funny is a judgement I leave to you.)

By 1990 there were quite a few vigilante heroes running around the comic book world. The Punisher was popular. Superhero comics were getting darker, grimmer, grittier. There were more heroes who killed their opponents. And there were a lot more villains who were mass murderers. I was never much a fan of killer vigilante series. I like a good revenge story and I don’t mind if the protagonist of a series sometimes kills the bad guys. I just thought that gun toting heroes didn’t fit very well in the superhero universes that I was reading. It didn’t make sense that regular no-kill heroes would tolerate the killer vigilantes and it really didn’t make sense that the vigilantes would stand a chance against some of the super powered mass murderers that were out there.

Midnight Commando #2

Midnight Commando #2I called my minicomics publishing company Obscure Komix. I published three series:
Cheap Thrills: an anthology of short horror stories
The Highly Unlikely Adventures of Moe and Detritus: featuring the exploits of a couple of punks named (surprise!) Moe and Detritus
The Davey Thunder / Jack Lightning Show: a surreal series written by Glenn Ingersoll featuring a pair of DJs that we’d invented when we were in junior high

When I sat down to create these “covers” for All Cover Comics I wanted them to seem like covers of actual comics. Or at least as close to actual comics as I was going to get when drawing the art by hand. Real comics had consistent logos for each series and real comic book companies to put their logos on the the series they published. So I decided to use my Obscure Komix company as the publisher and I created a logo to be used for all the issues.

The logos had to be created by hand. This was 1990. There was no Illustrator and no Photoshop. I drew the OK logo by hand and then reduced it using the photocopiers at Kinkos. I did the same thing with the Midnight Commando logo. In 1990 photocopiers weren’t good at laying down areas of solid black, usually you ended up with an inconsistent dark gray. The image above is scanned from the original artwork and it’s easy to tell the difference between the photocopied logo and the black ink of the drawing. Even adjusting for contrast in Photoshop doesn’t make them match.

Midnight Commando #1

Midnight Commado #1For about two years, from 1988 to 1990, I published a series of minicomics, 19 in all. I sold, traded and gave them away to friends, acquaintances, and folks all over the country. I also contributed illustrations to other minicomics and small press publications. When I left California in 1995 all of my published minis and all the minis and zines I’d collected got packed away. In 2004, when he cleaned out the old homestead, my brother mailed boxes of that material up to me here in Seattle.

Last year I finally started going through those boxes. A large part of my inspiration for doing that was to find those original 19 minicomics. I wanted to submit them to the upcoming volumes 2 and 3 of the Newave book series. I’d been namechecked in the first volume so I’d like to make a showing in one of the new volumes.

I found copies of most of the original minis. Better yet I also found the original art and the xerox layouts I used when I printed the issues at Kinkos. I also found a bunch of other art that I submitted to other publications. I’ll be posting selections of that over the next few weeks.

The first batch will be a series of contributions I drew for the All Cover Comics series. There’s not a lot online about the minicomic. I’m not sure how many issues it ran or who all contributed. It was published by Randy Paske and Bob Pfeffer under their High School Comics imprint. The concept behind the series was simple – each issue featured the covers of imaginary comic books. I suppose someone might have submitted serious cover illustrations but, if so, I don’t remember them. I invented four series and drew five covers for each.

First up here is Midnight Commando. I didn’t come up with a backstory for any of the characters. I doubt that they needed one. And the more you have to explain a joke the less funny it gets.