Friday, April 17, 2009

From the Vault: EXIT 6 1997, 1989

In 1997 I self published a book called EXIT 6.

It was the story of two kids, Keith Howard and Courtney McKay. They were your average, every day kind of people. Except Keith was a vampire and his family of vampires had kidnapped Courtney's younger brother.

Hey, in this day and age you have to meet new friends somehow.

The series ran for three issues before I ran out of money and had to stop production. A fourth issue was completed and a fifth was fully pencilled but they never saw the light of day (ha ha vampire joke).

I had the initial idea for EXIT 6, or, what was then called "Keith Howard - Vampire" (I know, I know...with catchy titles like that how have I not won a Pulitzer yet?), when I was seventeen years old. It took me three years of art school, years as an assistant artist, more years working for Marvel Comics, and then a two month drive across the country to Boulder, Colorado before I'd finally get the story out there and into the hands of the public.

But, I finally got that first issue done and printed and put it out into the world.

And, the result?

Looking back on it now it's probably not as bad as it seemed at the time,. But, at the time, it felt like I had ultimately failed at a dream I had held for ten years. I had put a book out there into the world and, somehow, I hadn't become and overnight success.

Oh, I had some really nice people say some really nice things. I was considered for an Eisner Award but missed being nominated by just a little bit. I was nominated for the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award, which was a great honor, but lost to another artist.

And, as for the sales? They just weren't there.

Like I said, looking back now it probably wasn't as bad as it seemed. Of course, I can look back now as a guy who has made a decent living as an artist, has a condo bought with money made from art, and a great woman in his life who thinks he's as talented as the day is long. But, back then I couldn't see the things I have now out on the horizon.

I only knew that I gave the dream my best shot and it didn't work. But, I'm still glad I gave it my all. I'd rather go through this life knowing I tried and failed than wonder what would have happened because I never tried at all.

I'm not sure if I'll ever revisit EXIT 6 or the characters in those pages. They lived with me for over ten years before I finally put them to rest. Maybe, in ten more years, I'll be ready to see if they have any new stories to tell me.

Here are a few of the first sketches I ever did of Keith Howard in a large, oversized art pad that I used to drag to school. I was seventeen years old. I still can't believe the way I drew back then. Oh, if only I knew what the world had in store for me!

1 comment:

rob! said...

I remember seeing stuff like this on our first day at the Clinton House, and my thought was, "Oh, crap...I'm out of my league here."