20 January 2009

guilty basement treasure

i recently re-discovered the original art for a 5-part comic, starllorn (the philosopher), written by john diprete and drawn by gene day. day was just starting to take off as an artist for marvel's star wars when he died in 1982.

i find it a couple times a decade and wonder what i should do with it. i'm always haunted by tinges of old guilt.

i remember getting it around 1977 when i was a crazed teenage comics fan and fanzine publisher. i was putting together hero sandwich #4, which would be my best issue ever. i interviewed george perez over the phone, interviewed my artist hero joe staton in a hotel room in chicago, and got gene day to allow me to serialize starllorn. to get people interested, i had day do a 11 x 17 starllorn poster and hawked them at the chicago comicon and in little unsuccessful ads in the buyers guide.

i was convinced i would be the next great thing in comics. i may have been, but i retired at the age of 15, before publishing the best issue ever.

the reason why i ended up with these unpublished comics is strange. i found myself in the middle of a feud (which may have been completely made up) between chris meth (snotty reviewer--look him up) and bill dale marcinko, publisher of afta, and the only guy i know to actually die in a house fire because the firemen couldn't get to him past the boxes and boxes of crap he collected. bill was pretending to have a brother dale whom he killed. meth was writing everyone and telling them to stay away from this maniac. i defended bill in print. meth sent me a threatening letter on jewish defence league stationary. i paniced. my fan friends stopped writing to me. i gave it all up.

i wrote no one. i gave nothing back. i was 15.

i found out gene day died when i looked him up about ten years ago to return the comics. what to do. i will ask myself that again in 5 or 6 years.


Candy's daily Dandy said...

Wow a budding comic journalist at 15-I'm impressed.

Rhi said...

you should try to publish it. after all, the world deserves to read the best issue ever. =)
what i'm really wondering however, is this: do you look back now and wish you would've kept it up back then...

Ugly Scott said...

thanks, candy. rhi, yes i do wish i would have continued what i was doing then. i've never really stopped putting out little things (still do a little free comic a few times a year), but i was shooting higher then, and i admire that kid.

Anonymous said...

Would you believe I stumbled onto this page by doing a Google search on "John DiPrete"?? Amazing. I contributed to Bill's mag back in the day and found out ONLY NOW how/why he died. (I had already known about Gene's sad passing.) I had sold Black Lite (which contained the Starllorn series) in the late seventies. I had had grandiose dreams back then, as we all had, I suppose. Thanks for the news! John DiPrete, www.mindbluff.com