I’ve been on the creative and business end of comic books for 20 years. I started out doing sales, marketing and a little bit of writing for Eclipse Comics back in the 1980’s. They were good times. They were exciting times.
One of the best things about being around so long is that you get to see things start out and grow. Granted, you see other things start out and fizzle, but more times than not you get to see things really take off for the better.
As most of you regular Knuckleheads know, I’m a confident man. I’ve always had a really good eye for talent and eyeballin’ folks and their intestinal fortitude. Very few times have I been proven wrong.
Such was the case in the late 80’s when one day the manager of the Diamond warehouse in San Mateo, California sent me a sketch of Spider-Man that a young kid working in his warehouse loading boxes had done. Just from that one sketch I could see this kid had talent. Right then I called up the warehouse and asked about this kid with right style. They told me his name was Darick Robertson. (Wolverine, The Boys)
Well, Darick and I started up a conversation and I threw some questions at him about his background and goals. He sent me more of his work and we became buddies. There wasn’t a lot of extra work to be had at Eclipse at the time, but I wanted to give Darick a chance to get more eyes on his work. I started figuring out just how I was gonna get that done. Remember, there wasn’t any fancy internet then. No fax machines either. In fact, there might’ve even been a dinosaur or two left for all I know.
It was right around that same time that I was attending the Chicago Comic Convention in Rosemont, Illinois. This was way before Wizard bought the pie. I was there running the Eclipse Comics booth with my friends and fellow Eclipse creators, Chuck Dixon, Tim Truman, Tim Harkins, Tom Lyle, Gary Kwapisz and John K. Snyder III. Needless to say we were all having a good time busting each other’s chops and making fun of anyone that wasn’t at our booth.
At one point I noticed that Truman was talking with some really tall kid with long hair. Truman called the rest of us over and wanted us to check out this guy’s art. There was good reason. The kid was good. Real good. You could see that Truman was one of his major influences by his style and use of the brush. The guy had a real great sense of humor and was a pleasure to talk to. I could see already that Truman was gonna take this guy under his wing and teach him to really fly. I figured I might also have to shake a feather or two and add to his flight plan. The guy’s name was Tim Bradstreet. (The Punisher, Bad Planet)
Needless to say, like Darick, Bradstreet and I became long time friends.
After meeting Bradstreet I started putting together a plot to get their work out in front of people on a national level. There were no monthly books to be had, after all, we weren’t Marvel and DC at the time. But, I’m always looking for a short way around the barn, so one day when I was going through our monthly solicitations for our monthly sales bulletin called Eclipse Extra, I found how I was gonna get their art and names out there.
At the time I had co-created a character called Beau LaDuke-Real Man with Tim Truman. LaDuke’s manly exploits had run in the comic book Scout as well as his own mini-series called The Dogs Of Danger. LaDuke as a modern day cowboy in the not too distant future of New America. He was based on John Wayne, My dad, Me and the fighting spirit of every tough guy that you’ve ever liked. So I asked (conned/blackmailed, your choice) publisher Dean Mullaney and Editor Cat Yronwode into letting me write a three page LaDuke story that would be printed in the Eclipse Extra as an added feature. There would be one page every month for three months. I told em’ I already had an art team for it in the form of two young turks by the names of Darick Robertson and Tim Bradstreet.
They said okay.
What I put together was a three page Beau LaDuke story that was simple, had action and showed character. It involved Beau LaDuke and his neighbor, Teenis Von Toddy, in an argument over ownership of a steer. Pretty tough to cram into three pages with two rookies. I don’t know about my part, but the rookies sure came through. I had Darick pencil the story and Bradstreet agreed to ink it. My old buddy, Tim Harkins said he would letter it, We were made.
Or so we thought.
I wrote the story. No problem. Darick drew it. No problem. Bradstreet inked it. No problem. Harkins lettered it. No problem. The first page of the story came out in the Eclipse Extra. No problem.
Then it stopped.
Through no fault of any of the creators or Eclipse, the rest of the story was never told, or at least never published. That’d be a big deal if the story was monumental like The Watchmen or Amazing Spider-Man #50, but it wasn’t. I like my writing a lot, but Bradstreet and Darick weren’t the only rookies on that team. What happened? Well, things were going so well at Eclipse that we increased out publishing output. So we needed the room in the Eclipse Extra for solicitation of more new books. Time went on and the last two pages of the story were never seen?until today.
I figured I’d post up the three-page story of “Coming To Terms” here in my own Busted Knuckles column. This will achieve the following goals:
- For the first time every, old and new readers will get to read the entire story at the same time.
- One of the “buried gems” of the Comic book history will be uncovered.
- For the first time ever, the creative team of Beau Smith, Darick Robertson and Tim Bradstreet will be unveiled.
- It will publicly embarrass myself, Darick Robertson and Tim Bradstreet in the same kinda way you’d be embarrassed if your parents show childhood photos of you with braces, pimples and the eternal cowlick.
The last goal, the most important one:
There is no grand meaning behind this story. It’s merely a simple cowboy morality tale. Although I do find it a bit ironic that years later, I would be working for a “Toddy”, there would be a dispute of ownership over something and there would be a pack of lawyers involved. Ring any bells?
I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes story and the actual story itself. Please keep in mind, the names haven’t been changed to protect any of us.
Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week.
Okay, this week I show my ticket for the Heroes bandwagon as Ali Larter is picked for the Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week. She has it all, looks, acting chops and what swayed my choice is the fact that she proves SHE CAN EXTRACT TEETH AND BREAK BONES.
She does it every week on Heroes and she is gonna do it on the big screen in Resident Evil : Extinction later this year?and YES?I think she would be a perfect Wynonna Earp.
Get the petition started.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week.
Action Adventure Comics #2
1955 Published by Gillmor Magazines
Okay, first off, a great title for a comic book. Next an Aussie soldier with a machine gun. Top it off with an Aborigine with a blow gun and you have one hell of a manly cover. I’m sorry to report that these guys are not in an interior story. Nope. I was quite disappointed years ago at San Diego Comic-Con when I bought this issue and found out this was cover lure. That only lasted a few minutes. Once I did read the inside stories I was once again covered in my own testosterone. Inside there are stories that cover manly battles of WWII, The Revolutionary War, The Korean War and much more. The art is superb and the stories are short and well told. The cover was worth the price paid anyway.
Ironic too that I dug this book out of my vast collection because my Manly Cover rival, Chuck Dixon recently sent me an email with this cover and wish fulfillment that he would ever own it. That gave me even more reason to dig it out of my collection and rub his face in it.
I’m a baaaaaaaad man.
I wanna thank all the readers that sent emails and posted up about Graham Nolan‘s guest editorial on the death of Captain America in last week’s Busted Knuckles. It seems there are a lot of readers out there that agree with Graham and are making their opinions known. I wanna thank Graham for taking the time to write up his opinion and letting me share it with all the Knuckleheads.
Manly thanks go out to Knucklehead Chris Myers of Troy, New York. Chris made my day by sending me three of the Operation Hang Ten books from the 10 book series by Patrick Morgan. Chris sent beautiful copies of :
Too Mini Murders
Freaked Out Strangler
Topless Dancer Hangup
I’m now only lacking two books to complete the series.
Cute and Deadly Surf Twins and Deadly Group Down Under.
I have to mention that Too Mini Murders is the best of the series. I promise you that you won’t be able to sit it down once you start reading it. Again, These books are so much fun. They capture every groovy moment of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Bill Cartwright is a Secret Agent Surfer for the U.S. government’s Operation Hang Ten agency. He battles commies, dope dealers and crazed killers all while seducing the sexiest chicks on the beach. If ever a book screamed to be a movie, Operation Hang Ten with Bill Cartwright is it. Thank you again, Chris. I hope you enjoy the package of goodies I’ve got coming your way.
I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Bill Cartwright:
“Hold my beer and hand me that hammer, baby. I wanna see how good this guy’s dental plan is.”
The Flying Fist Ranch
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