Once More With Feeling
Back when we were in high school, Scott McCloud and I made some comics together. One was a 60-page epic knockabout confrontation among Marvel superheroes in our hometown, called The Battle of Lexington, which destroyed our school and a number of area landmarks. That's the project that, more than any other, let us figure out what making comics was about, and how to approach telling a story visually. The other major project we worked on together was a benefit comic, Pow Biff Pops, done to help raise money for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I wrote it, and Scott did layouts for the artist, our friend Chris Bing, now an award-winning children's-book illustrator. That one was actually published and sold, and even done as a slideshow at the Pops opening-day concert the year we did it.
But that's not all we did. This, Once More With Feeling, was a story we did in 1978, the summer after graduating from high school and before starting college. We had decided, as I recall, that Jim Starlin's recurring champion-of-life characters were all far too grim and serious to be champions of something as energetic and fulsome as life, so we set out to show the world how it should be done, a champion-of-life-versus-champion-of-death story that actually had a lively, upbeat guy championing life.
I wrote it, Scott drew it, and I lettered it—with a Pilot Razorpoint pen, as I recall, at my parents' dining-room table. I don't remember the process of writing it, but boy, do I remember lettering it. You can see why Scott adopted a very simple, clean ink line after this—all that crosshatching must have been a hellacious amount of work. I'll also throw in here that Scott has always insisted that he liked my lettering on this story, and I should have done more. I have always insisted that what he really liked about it was that he didn't have to do it himself for once. Looking at it all these years later, I agree with my younger self. But then, Scott may still like it—who knows?
To see the first page larger—along with the rest of the first eight pages—click here:
The whole thing was 24 pages long, I think. Maybe we'll find a place to show off the whole thing, someday.
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