East Coast Dispatches: October 19, 2021
WARNING: Things are about to get HARDCORE
A couple of weeks ago, I got a message on Facebook from someone whose name I didn’t recognize. They were trying to send me an image, but Facebook had blurred the image until I agreed to accept the incoming message. I almost declined, convinced it was a scam or virus, but decided to dig into the sender a bit. He had a bunch of mutuals, so I figured I’d take a chance and accept.
I was not prepared:
The above is a flier that my friends and I made for HARDCORE, an anthology comic that I published back in the mid-90s when I was fresh out of high school.
I honestly have very little memory of this flier, though assume that my friend Nick1 made it because three of the four pieces of art are his (the top right is what 18-year-old Ed’s art looked like). The sloppy logo is 100% me and I suspect that all of the text was done on Nick’s Tandy computer and pasted on.
As embarrassing as the whole thing is, I still really love it. We were a bunch of teens who really thought that making this comic was an act of rebellion. You can tell from the text that we lived in a bible belt at the time and the biggest villain we had locally was the church. Like Footloose, but with comics instead of dancing.
I ended up chatting with Scot, the person who’d sent this to me, for a little bit. He couldn’t remember how the flier came into his possession and I barely remember distributing these. The closest I can guess is that this came from the time my friends and I were in Vancouver in the summer of 94 for Lollapolooza and distributed posters and (I guess) fliers to some of the local comic shops — those that would take them anyway, one shop kicked us out for trying to give them promo items. He was living there at the time, so must’ve grabbed one from one of the friendlier shops. He was kind enough to send it to me and I’ve now got it framed and hanging in my office. A nice reminder of where I started.
I don’t know if any copies of Hardcore still exist. I had a couple up until a few years ago, but they seem to have disappeared in the last couple of moves. I do have this image from the cover for your eyeball pleasure though:
So, that character on the top left? That’s Lynch. At one point he was called Overkill and at another Killjoy, but this was the early days of Image and those friggin’ Image creators were gobbling up names like M&Ms. Every time I settled on a name, the next month a new character with the same name would pop up in Spawn or WildCATS.
Lynch was, from what I can recall, a sort of Punisher-proxy. Some dude who went around taking out drug dealers and using their money to fund his own anti-crime crusades. It was (surprise!) pretty ham-fisted and at the end of the first issue, I killed him with plans to resurrect him as some sort of Zombie Warrior (I was big into Spawn, as you can tell). I was really, really into shoulder pads too. Lynch’s extended about 4 feet out on either side. Very practical vigilante gear, of course.
We never made it past the first issue, though did have a second drawn and ready to go.
I had thousands of these comics in our basement when I still lived at home. After about a year, I was pretty embarrassed with the book and couldn’t bring myself to look at it anymore. It had cost me thousands to produce and distribute — the result of working 2-3 jobs post-high school — and I made back pennies on it. Just having them in the basement made me angry — boxes and boxes of my failure, sitting there and staring me in the face. Eventually, I took several boxes from our basement and tossed them into a bonfire. I just wanted them gone.
It’s been 20+ years and I regret having done that. I wish that I’d hung on to more copies. The book was awful, there’s no getting around it, but I think it’s always good to keep your early work around to remind you of how far you’ve come.
If I can find scans from the comic, I’ll post them in an upcoming newsletter. I’ve also got some pretty fun/devastating stories from an ill-fated “promotional tour” that we tried to organize the year the book came out. But, this newsletter is already long enough.
Table of Contents
• Fan Expo Canada
• Out This Week!
• Murder Book: Catch & Release Update
• Reader Questions
• I Know You’re Only Here For Lasagna
Fan Expo Canada
Just a reminder that I’ll be at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto this weekend. I’ll be stationed at table p63, right next to Adam Gorham!
Out This Week
BATMAN SECRET FILES: PEACEKEEPER-01 #1
Written by Ed Brisson & James Tynion IV, Illustrated by Josh Hixson, Colours by Roman Stevens.
Official Solicit: Picking up after the events of Fear State: Alpha, follow Sean Mahoney, a.k.a. Peacekeeper-01, in the wake of his exposure to highly potent Fear Toxin at the hands of the Scarecrow! Now, dosed with terror and facing a lifetime of fear and insecurity, Mahoney has found himself frantically reflecting on his past as a GCPD officer, and then as a prison guard at Arkham Asylum—all while desperately attempting to keep his mind from fracturing. Will Peacekeeper-01 give into fear…or become terror incarnate?
This one was a blast to write and was probably the most inside my wheelhouse Big 2 project I’ve worked on in the last couple of years. An action packed-issue intercut with a sprawling history of the Mahoney family and their place within Gotham. Got to channel some big Batman: Year One vibes, perfectly captured by Josh with Roman’s colours just the icing on the cake!
If you want to see a preview, head on over to AiPT. They’ve got your back.
BEYOND THE BREACH #4
Written by Ed Brisson, Illustrated by Damian Couceiro, Colours by Patricio Delpeche, Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.
Official Solicit: The origin of The Breach is revealed, and Samuel's dark, bloody past along with it. But is it too late? Can The Breach be reversed? Or is this life the new normal for Vanessa, Dougie and Kai? With a group of inter-dimensional bounty hunters hot on their heels, this new life may very well be a short one.
First of all, how great is that cover? Probably my favourite from the series.
Lots of secrets are revealed in this issue as we set up for a big, final confrontation in #5. So bizarre to be close to the end of this first arc. Feels like we just got started.
Murder Book: Catch & Release Updates
Not much to update on. The books are still somewhere on the Pacific. We’re eagerly awaiting updates on when the ship lands. From there, it’ll take a week for them to reach the shipment fulfilment center, after which they’ll be making their way to backers. Theoretically, the ship should be landing this week sometime.
Another that I’ve been getting a lot, so figure I’d address here:
Q: Will there be extra copies of Murder Book: Catch & Release available for those who missed the Kickstarter?
A: Yes, but I don’t know how many will be available. I overprinted what we needed to ensure I could cover any books lost or damaged during shipping. I also have a second, non-Kickstarter exclusive cover that I’ll have limited quantities of. However, I’m not releasing any of them until all backers have received their books. Hopefully, that will be sometime around December, if we factor in the extra time it takes books to reach backers outside of North America.
If you have a question/comment/concern you can send it to me by commenting on this post (click on the word balloon at the top or bottom of the newsletter) or by replying to this email.
I Know You’re Only Here For Lasagna
I bought Lasagna and Waffles window hammocks about a week ago. They’re big fans.
All right, time for me to get back to work.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
October 19, 2021
Nick and I ended up becoming close friends through making HARDCORE and we still keep in touch with one another. After HARDCORE, Nick went on to do a popular comic strip at his university (UVIC) under the name Nick O’Teen. Most of his comics were auto-bio stories — something both he and I got into after HARDCORE — about working shitty fast-food jobs. Since he and I often worked shit jobs together, I ended up becoming a recurring character in his comics, which for a long time I thought was probably the peek of my comics career. The comics proved so popular that UVIC released a collection in 2001.
He and his wife moved to Japan shortly after and he stopped writing and drawing comics during the decade he was there.
Jarret I lost touch with back in the 90s. I have no idea what he’s up to these days.