So here I was the summer of 1993, less than a year out of college and I was putting together a comic for an independent publisher called Virtue Publications. The major problem was that most of the creators that were working with Virtue were either writer artist teams or sole writer/artists. I was a writer with no artist. I had the pictures in my head but no way to get them down on paper. But I figured if I took my time and waited patiently either an artist that could do my work would pop up with Virtue or I would find one of my own. I worked with the editor of the anthology title Ventures of the Virulent on the script for my story.
As a side note anyone who has ever had to give my constructive criticism will know I suck at it. I am a very defensive person when it comes to my work and can get very angry at times. It took my many years to learn to get criticism in writing, read it, walk away for a day and then work on edits. That one day to digest the criticism usually helps me see what they are right about.
Virtue was planning it’s big launch at the first ever Philly Comic Fest in Oct of 1993. They had a booth at the convention and were going to be giving away ashcan copies of the stories that were to appear in the first issue of Ventures of the Virulent that would be coming out in January 1994. They hoped that by generating a little buzz they could improve sales. I figured it would be a good time. I could hang out at the booth and check out the convention at the same time. I had saved up from my day job for months and bought a plane ticket, rented a hotel suite and got my passes to the convention.
I flew down Thursday night Oct. 7th 1993. After checking into my hotel and getting a good nights sleep a arrived at the Convention Center the next day for the opening for the Comic Fest. Looking back from history this comic convention was important for a number of reasons. First it was the most attended Comics convention ever at the time. Official attendance was put at 32,600 people over four days. It was the sight of the infamous Peter David/Todd McFarlane debate, and comments by the noted Author Harlan Ellison which would piss certain people off for months to come.
Most importantly for me though was the first face to face meeting of the creators of the books of Virtue Publications. Publisher and creator of the Bubba Chronicles Chris Crosby, Editor-in-Chief Phil Clarke Jr, Creator of the Legend of Jareth Blaze John Holiwski & Artist for the Adventures of Fanboy Curtis Ellzey. I also noticed a double size booth across from the Virtue booth that only had a black backdrop with large poster size paintings hung around with amazing fantasy art. At the tables in front of this art were decks of cards laid out in two piles. When I sat down I was then taught to play Magic: The Gathering by Richard Garfield himself.