A long time ago ... in an Efland far, far away.
It seems like another world now, but I was a kid once.
And I gotta level with you. When COUNT DANTE: The Unauthorized (But Sort of True) Story of the Deadliest Man Who Ever Lived hits shelves in late April, it won't technically be the first time my comic work has been published. No, that happened, as the title suggests, a long time ago.
It was March 26, 1998. And when the Watson family woke up that morning, we saw that a page from what was to be an unfinished comic I was working on (one of many stop-starts along the way) that was displayed in a high school art show had made the front page of the local paper. This may be the last remaining copy of The Chapel Hill Herald from the day, but if you can find another you may have something really rare (though probably not worth much more than the newsprint it's printed on).
So let's not act like I haven't been here before, people. Ha. Now if you want to know something else, technically the name Wes Watson has already appeared in a major comic book. And yeah, I mean me. And yeah, it's true. No really. I wouldn't lie. In March 1995, Gen 13 #1 hit comic shops and newsstands with, I think, 13 variant covers, maybe more. It was 90s after all. I was already a big fan of the characters and the artist, J. Scott Campbell, from the four-part mini-series. But if you have one of those #1 first issues that was printed like a billion times, flip to the back, and in the letters section you'll see a really embarrassing, gushing even, letter from a 15 year old kid from Efland, N.C. ... One who inexplicably in that letter crowned Gen 13 the new creme de la creme of super hero teams ... supplanting the X-Men. ... Well, time will tell on that one.
But let's not dwell too much about the content of that letter. A few years ago, I had the chance to meet Campbell. So I did. And he's a super nice guy. Usually when you hand guys $20 for their signature they're real sweethearts. But he's a great guy. Everyone in line had all their expensive Campbell books, many looking to flip his sig for a fortune. When I got up to front of the line I handed him a cheap Gen 13 #1 (regular series, not mini-series, mid you), and asked if he'd sign the letters page. It's not a common request. I bet I have the only copy in existence with a Campbell sig in the letters section, but here it is:
So, like I said, not my first rodeo. Pretty soon my first real comic book will come out, and this is what I thought of. Just how much of a journey it's been since I doodled in notebooks on high school desks. It's safe to say that it's been a long time coming. Twenty-five years at least, 27 depending on how you figure it.
When I was a kid I wanted to be a comic artist. And now I'll be able to say I am. Even if it took awhile.
So buy up those Gen 13 #1's. They may be worth $1, maybe $2 soon. Sky's the limit, folks.