Hey Kids! Comics!September 22, 2014
Hello, Internet! And welcome!
I figure there are two kinds of folk reading this entry — folk who know us and love us, and folk who don’t know us from Adam, and hold us in the commiserate amount of apathy. That being the case, I reckoned it only appropriate to lead off with two introductions. It may or may not work, but there you have it. So, you might be asking, “What is Ideal Comics?” And “Why should I care?” If I can be allowed to address these questions with more gravitas later, I implore you allow the “Cliffs Notes” here. They might even serve as an informative prequel!
IC (as we lovingly call it around the IC offices) is a small press comic book company based out of Scottsbluff, in the picturesque High Plains of Western Nebraska. As a small company, we have a small, unpaid staff who, to a man, long for the day their work will no longer be unpaid. We are normal guys doing normal jobs, following a not so normal dream of making comic books that we would like to read–comics that can live up to the hype of our motto: “Everything Great About Comics!” It may sound like hyperbole, but our staff holds to a dream. And to address that dream, and our story, I will start with my own, called:
“Hey, Kids! Comics!”
That was the phrase that used to greet me every week back in the early to mid 90’s. As a teen in rural Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, I would take a weekly trip to our mall, and to the now out of business Copperfield Books, with the spinner-rack in the front corner. Oh, the old, metal spinner-rack with its rows of the best and most popular of spandexed demi-gods that New York City could offer. The spinner-rack–built of equal parts convenience and efficiency–guaranteed to turn this week’s “Near Mint” books into next weeks “Good” or “Fair.” And this wonderful device crested with the images of our heroes and foils; and the legend, “Hey, Kids! Comics!”
See, I had a bit of a hard time finding a place where I fit in, finding a meaning. Now, I can never blame that upon the town or county–rural as it is, or urban as it pretends to be–because, although not free from its own issues and problems, my struggles grew from the soil of my own ill-at-ease. I just could not find an even footing when trying to deal with other folks, both my peers and those adults we found ourselves subject to. And, while I could never make sense of societal expectations or understand why the teacher required me to raise my hand when no one else was even trying to answer, I got comics. Maybe it was the over-simplified black and white morality, with just a touch of nuance to really start the brain a-tickling, but I cut my teeth on stories by Denny O’Neil, Chuck Dixon, and the big Alans, Grant and Moore. It was there in those stacks of newsprint that I decided I loved stories–stories and their telling.
It wasn’t until I was grown that I met a person who held comics with the same love and esteem as I, and that fellow was Christopher Lawton. It was a friendship built on the love of language and of fiction, and many were the hours over the years we have spent consuming caffeine and burning time. One particular rainy night in 2005, as we sat at an all-night diner in Gering, NE (on the south side of the river), we recounted stories of our most recent rejection letters. Chris says, “I’ve been thinking….’ And that was it. We made the jump to become something more than two writers trying to bend some ears. We started building something bigger.
Nine years and hundreds of pages later, we are still at it, still chasing the dream. We have had the privilege to work with some amazing artists, to see our dream erupt on the page. We’ve met some remarkable people, and we’ve been able to share our vision with the likes of Barry Tetz, who soon joined our company as a partner and Lead Artist. It has been a helluva road, but we are ready for the next stretch and the one after that. For those who have walked with us, thanks for the company.
To everyone else, come along. Gettin’ there is half the fun!