What you’re seeing here is actually a drawing generated some years ago for Big Bang Comics. It was a fake old comic cover, done for one of the History issues we put together. Those issues concocted a whole fictitious back history of Big Bang as a comics publisher (borrowing their format from the two completed volumes of The Steranko History of Comics). I didn’t ink this image; if memory serves, the inks were by Jeff Meyer, who also inked my work on a number of other projects around that time.
The color on this is new, though (which is why you’re seeing it here). I was recently contacted by Big Bang head honchos Gary Carlson and Chris Ecker, asked if I’d be game to finally add color to this cover. They’ve recently partnered with a company named Pulp 2.0 Press to bring back some of the Big Bang properties, and look at new ways of getting them out there. I understand this image might eventually end up on products like t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. Which would be a very cool thing to see!
So this gives me the chance to talk about a couple other things, while this image is up. I believe I’ve mentioned my Big Bang association before, but haven’t gotten into much detail about it. Though I didn’t entirely get in on the ground floor, I came in pretty close to it. Gary and Chris hadn’t yet published their first few issues through Caliber, but were beginning to assemble the contents when I was introduced to Gary at Comic Con. This meeting came about because writer Nat Gertler and I had done a one-shot for Parody Press/Entity Comics called Mister U.S.: 50 Forgotten Years (This later came out as Big Bang Comics #8). PP/EC tried to solicit for it twice. Unfortunately, the numbers weren’t there. But Publisher Don Chin thought there was something there that might be of interest to Gary for what he and Chris were working on, so Don made the introduction.
Gary and I hit it off right away. I was first brought in just to help design and draw a Simon/Kirby-ish character they’d had an idea for, called the Badge. But they discovered that I could also help with creating logos, as well as designing a slew of other characters and doing occasional color work. I didn’t just get to draw like Simon and Kirby, but other artists too, along the way. Plus I even had the opportunity to help out with storyline contributions. It was a blast, and exactly the sort of thing you hope to get to do when you dream of doing comics as a kid. So, thanks, Gary and Chris!
And while I’m here, this is an opportunity for me to say something about Thunder Girl and Bill Fugate. Thunder Girl was sort of Big Bang’s nod to Fawcett’s Captain Marvel. And Bill Fugate was the perfect artist to bring her to life and draw her stories. Without Bill’s involvement from the beginning, she would not have been the same. Bill’s drawings just had “fun” coming out of every line on the page. His work was cartooning of the highest order, in the best possible sense. I honestly think C.C. Beck would’ve liked Bill’s work a great deal. Whenever Bill managed to get a new Thunder Girl story completed for publication, it was an occasion. Heck, any time Bill produced any comics work, you knew you were in for a real treat!
I admired many of my fellow Big Bang contributors for their talents and skills. With Bill, I considered myself an outright fan. I never had the chance to meet him or exchange emails, tell him how much I truly loved his work. Unfortunately, Bill passed away (much too soon!) back in February this year. He was not as well known a name in comics as I think he should’ve been. As I’ve told some people already: in another world, some very smart publisher would’ve paid Bill big bucks to create any comics he wanted to draw. And those comics would’ve sold in really huge numbers.
R.I.P., Bill. You are most definitely missed.