Talking about =O= got me to thinking of the earlier days, back in college. I can't remember how it all went down but I had gotten this call to do some comic work.
It was the last quarter of art school and everyone was cramming to get their portfolios in. I had finished mine over spring break so now I was just trying to fill up my resume with decent art gigs. At the time I was illustrating 5 manuals for the American Cancer Society on How to Quit Smoking. I needed the money and the experience so I took on 100 illustrations 5 covers and a logo for $500. Crazy how I whored myself out like that. But it gets worse...or better depending on how you look at.
Anyway this publisher called me up out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to draw his book called, "The Eradicators". I think at the time Ron Lim was working on Captain America, and he had done the first few issues of the book. So I thought I'm well on my way. As a publisher though his ambitions were to be the next Marvel Comics, and he was putting out about 10-20 comics a month off the money he'd made from selling a script to "Hollywood". At least that's how I heard it.
The first thing I did was I called Scott, and asked him if he'd want to ink my work. As inker of my own work I was still trying to "find myself." He somehow took to it pretty easily. A week later we received these contracts in the mail, which clearly meant this guy was legit. I even went to consult with a lawyer who told us how legit he was.
He said, "Well you're basically signing away everything. Not much different than slavery."
And sign away we did for the next three years we'd be working for him. Yeah...silly isn't it, but this was our "big break"?
At the time I think another friend of mine was inking a book for him as well, called The Edge or Legion X or something, but I'll get to that in a bit.
For some reason I remeber Scott getting to do the first cover, which really took the wind out of my sails. I mean that's the reward for doing all 22 pages of art, right! I did however get to color it. The insides however were atrocious. In fact I was so concerned with the deadline after getting these pages in late, that for the next book I just blue-penciled everything. I didn't even bother with thumbnails. I figured Scott would do some kind of magic act when he'd throw ink on it and it would come out just fine.
Abyssmal I believe was defined by our efforts on these books. For that I take most of the blame. I felt bad too, because I think this was Scott's first published writing.
While doing our first issue together (#5) my other friend was in a bind trying to meet an inking deadline. So he came over and we stayed up all night inking (remember, I couldn't ink to save my soul) about 17 pages. Our styles, or lack thereof didn't mesh one bit. It was a mess, and I think the beer we were drinking wasn't strong enough to convince us otherwise.
It was around this time that I moved to Indiana. Scott moved home I think and I took a job at a T-shirt company. We were starting issue #8 of the book, and that's when I decided to quit. The publisher as it happens so often hadn't paid us for the work. I crafted a strongly worded letter mentioning not wanting to be a part of his "empire".
He had been calling earlier expressing his interest in doing an erotic superhero book called, "The Last Wild Bitch." Looking at my art at the time was probably the most unsexy thing I could have done for myself. The other book was a one-shot movie adaptation of a Dolph Lundgren film called, "I Come In Peace." This was going to be in color, all of which was going to be my responsibility at the same page rate of...oh..I don't know zero. But I had had enough of it, comics was making me miserable.
After the letter was sent I promptly received a check for $150. I really needed the money, but I thought if I cashed it, then he would have fulfilled his part of the contract, and I'd get sued for breaking my part of the deal. But hell 3 years is a long time to be unhappy.