One Man's Love Affair (With Comic Books!)
This one time, let's dispense with the usual "editorial we," and get personal. I'm writing this special edition of Hyper Space from the heart. And I hope it strikes a chord in many of your hearts as well.
I love comic books. There--I said it. No apologies. And I'm willing to wager a lot of you--our faithful readers--feel the same way. But maybe you're hesitant to say it out loud to a group of your friends or co-workers.
Try it one day. Just for laughs. You may be surprised at the positive reaction you get.
Anyway, my love affair goes way back. I think I bought my very first comic book at my neighborhood candy store (yes, Virginia, there were "candy stores" once!) for the princely sum of 10 cents at the tender age of 8 or 9. I don't remember the title, but it was most likely one of the leading books from DC or one from the new kids on the block, Marvel.
I do remember becoming a huge Marvel (and Stan Lee) fan by the early 60s as I edged toward teendom. It was Stan the Man who inspired me to become a comic book writer. And by the time I was in college, I thought I was ready to take the comic book world by storm.
Boy, was I wrong.
I contacted Charlton around that time--a Derby, Conn-based group that specialized in horror, mystery, suspense, war and romance anthology-type titles--in the hope that a smaller house might be interested in my raw scripting. They were, and I quickly sold a short script--Charlton ran 5- or 6-page stories (three to a comic)--back then and I remember actually photocopying that first check and displaying it proudly. Not because of the number on the check, but because it meant I was a for-real comic book writer.
I freelanced for Charlton for a few years, supplementing my income with other freelance assignments--and then got what I thought was my big break. DC Comics was looking for a writer for its "pro-zine", The Amazing World of DC Comics. By way of an explanation here, a pro-zine back then was a monthly magazine written and produced by professionals.
The articles covered the entire DC universe, and my first assignment was to research and write a piece on the Golden Age of Comics that dealt with how comics influenced the War Years, highlighting several of the DC heroes of that era.
The magazine didn't last, but I did get to hobnob with such DC luminaries as Paul Levitz, Dick Giordano and E. Nelson Bridwell. Heady stuff for a guy still in his 20s.
Once again, I thought I had it made. I could put DC Comics on my resume.
Years passed and I turned to community journalism to pay the bills. I was a reporter and editor for a couple of weeklies, but I never lost the "comic book bug". I would regularly contact Marvel and DC in hope of any work, but the well was always dry.
Then I ran into an enterprising writer/publisher who was starting up a new web-based comic book group, with an eye toward a debut some ay in print. I became the editor in chief of Red Moon Features, a title that sounds much more glamorous than it was.
The writing, editing and working with artists and webmasters was fulfilling at times, but the snail-like pace at which we moved was frustrating. Finally, the publisher pulled the plug on all efforts, with the group never establishing a viable website and never coming close to printing real comic books.
So, back to journalism.
And then, still hoping for that "comic book career" in my latter years, I contacted Tom Hoover, the publisher and producer of the SagaFlight.com website and, of course, Hyper Epics. The connection was magic from the start.
Tom's vision was--and still is--to return to the Golden Age style of comics and take a page from Charlton's books: Tell outstanding stories of derring-do, fantasy and other worlds in just three pages. No more, no less. Hyper Epics indeed.
It's a concept that I think is unique in the history of comic books. The challenge was irresistible. I jumped in with both feet.
For reasons known only to Tom, he decided to make me managing editor, giving me the chance to not only plot and script comics only constrained by my imagination, but also to work closely with a stable of enthusiastic, talented artists (some of the very best I've ever worked with!) and to pen columns like this one.
I believe the sky's the limit for Hyper Epics. Our website is becoming more defined, more established every week, with 3-page epics for every comic book taste. And plans are afoot to translate the stories on our site to the four-color page in the foreseeable future.
I'll keep you posted on all our plans and progress. And, in the meantime, enjoy the tales now on our main page and in our library section.
The best is still to come, and I hope you plan to be here to see it. Three pages at a time.
Thanks for reading. Believe me, the pleasure was all mine.
Thomas A. Tuna