Better Off Dead

In the early '90s, for some odd reason, I agreed to ink a horror story for Comico Comics. They'd published my comic, Trollords (with partner and co-creator Scott Beaderstadt) in color for a short time in 1988-89, before the company imploded and came into new hands. A couple friends were doing work for them, and I took on the story as more of a favor at about half my regular rate, throwing in lettering, too.


"Better Off Dead" is a horror story drawn in a style similar to horror comics great, Bernie Wrightson, though I can't for the life of me recall the name of the penciler. Patrick Something? It was fun enough, but I hadn't seen it in years before stumbling across this page online. Someone else had seen it, too and emailed me to inquire whether I'd want to draw something in this style for him. Not so much. It remains the only job, in the comics field or otherwise, for which the check bounced and I was never paid. It became clear I was never going to see my money. While attending a Chicago comic book convention shortly after the check bounced, I sought out the new Comico head honcho, one Andrew Rev, with a plan in mind. My buddies who'd enticed me to do the work saw me coming and scattered like bugs. I walked right up to Rev and shook his hand, introducing myself...then wouldn't let go. He tried to finish the shake and pull away, but I wouldn't let him. I held on to his slimy, increasingly sweaty hand and calmly but firmly laid into him about the money he owed me. I held on until I was finished, then finally let him off the hook. This isn't close to my usual style, and I'd never before made a guy squirm and sweat like that, but I think he'd earned the treatment. Anway, I never did see the money, and I had figured that would be the case going in. But it was worth a shot, and man, was it ever satisfying! Here's a larger version of that same page, from that infamous story:


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