Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Life With Comic Books: Part # 46


In 1986 the comic book industry was in the middle of an explosion of “black and white” comic book publishing. After the immediate success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, many people wanted to release their own comic book. It seemed as if anyone who could scrape up a couple of thousand dollars was drawing and publishing their own black and white comic book. Some of these were good but most were not.

My employee, David M. Lynch, was a talented writer. He was the “regular” writer of our amateur comic book of “Insect Man.” Insect Man was officially recognized in 1986 as “America’s longest running amateur comic book” with over 100 issues published from 1965-1986. For a brief time we considered publishing Insect Man in a full sized professional comic book but we decided that there were already enough superhero comics in the market.

One day, as we were talking about our favorite television shows from the 1960’s we discovered that we both enjoyed the “The Man From Uncle.” We both used to pretend we were secret agents when we were kids. David said, “I wonder why no one is publishing a comic book about The Man From Uncle. That show must still have a lot of fans that would get a kick out of new adventures.” David knew he’d have some fun writing the stories and he had a good friend, Skip Simpson, who could draw the comic books. We agreed on the amount of money that I would pay for him to write each issue. After we discussed the possibilities of storylines and some of the difficulties of publishing a professional comic book I told David that I’d put up the money if he could get the rights to publish a comic book about The Man From Uncle.

After a week or so, David had made contact with MGM-Turner, the owner of the Man From Uncle. MGM-Turner was willing to sell us a two-year license to publish the comic book series for an initial up-front payment of five thousand dollars plus eight percent of the cover price of every issue we sold. They would also have complete script approval and final art approval for all of the issues. I agreed to all of their terms.

While David began writing the first two-part story, his friend Skip Simpson drew a sample page of art to show me what he could do. Although it was very clean and professional, I decided it was a little too “cartoony” for the Man From Uncle comic book series I had envisioned. David and I were disappointed because Skip was a very reliable artist and we didn’t know of any other competent artists.

We started asking our customers if they knew any artists and were surprised when a man named Ken Penders offered his services. Ken brought in his portfolio and we were impressed by his layouts and use of perspective. He even was a talented inker and letterer. Most importantly, he was willing to work for the lower than professional rates that we were offering.

Next chapter: My son, Adam, goes to the hospital


  1. Boy, I can't wait to find out whatever happened to this David M. Lynch guy, and his friend Skip, too.

  2. For $50, I'll give you a hint...

  3. Cake, is that $50 American, or $50 Canadian? (And I can remember when there used to be a big difference!)