Here's a page from Blue Ribbon Comics #4: The Ring Quest. One of my first
and favorite comic book stories, featuring the Fly. (Written by Jack C. Harris,
inked by editor Rich Buckler.)
The first image on the left is page four as printed. The next is from my pencils,
and the image on the far right is from my original pencils, before making
corrections. (click on the images to see larger versions.)
Note that in my youth, I was so concerned how things looked, that I used an Ames
Lettering Guide to rough in the lettering for the entire story!
Look for more pencil work from this book in the Comics page on this website,
Before getting my first computer, I was
glad to have a fax machine in the early
'90s. Not having to wait on overnight
mail, I was able to send several
thumbnail sketches at a time, and have
them approved the same day.
Of course, this meant I could have
several rejected the same day as well.
|On this page, we'll present some behind the scenes sketches, anecdotes
and a few peeks into the creative process that will hopefully be of some
Above left, we have a rejected cover rough for Warlock #11. While pretty symbolic of the
interior story, the editor chose another rough of mine that showed more action, and the
attendant guest stars. Since the guest stars featured practically the entire Marvel
Universe, I had no complaints.
Think I set a personal record for how many Marvel characters I drew in one issue with
this book. Didn't think about it until I ran across this link...
Will post the other rough if I find it. In the meantime, the finished cover, by Steve Carr
and myself is above right.
What does one do after one's comic strip ends? After the LA Times Syndicate ended our
DALLAS comic strip, writer Jim Lawrence and I attempted to swim against the tide of gag
strips by attempting either a new story strip or current events presentations. (Although, we
did receive an offer from a British Syndicate to produce both DALLAS and DYNASTY.
Unfortunately, the money wasn't enough to keep us in fish and chips.)
One of the more interesting proposals came from an unusual source: Roman Catholic
Priest/best-selling author Andrew Greeley. Blackie Ryan was a mystery-solving priest that
Greeley had created for a series of best-selling novels. The Author was also a big fan of
Shortly after the first of his Blackie books was printed, the
priest contacted Jim Lawrence about producing a comic
strip version to present to the Newspaper Syndicates.
Producing enough scripts for two weeks of dailies and
one Sunday page (the standard presentation package),
Greeley's first effort (not shown) was drawn by veteran
comic strip artist Fran Matera.
One of the problems with that attempt was the amount of captions and word balloons
novelist Greeley scripted. The storytelling demands of comics don't readily translate from
standard prose. Jim put the initial script on a diet, reducing the story to a more manageable
slimmed-down form before presenting it to me for some further edits. (To leave room for the
Alas, another thing already written by the middle 1980s was the history of the story strip.
Father Blackie never got to say "see you in the funny pages". He lived a long life in a series
of Greeley's books.
Writer Extraordinaire Jim Lawrence continued his career, writing in a variety of genres and
Moving on to mural work, advertising illustration and other endeavors, I finally took my love
of visual storytelling to comic books.
SUNDAY PAGE (Click to enlarge)
1985: BLACKIE RYAN'S WORLD
WEEK ONE (Click to enlarge)
WEEK TWO (Click to enlarge)