30 years ago, my first paid and published pro comic work debuted as the back cover of Marvel’s humor comic book, WHAT THE–?! issue #21.
I was still a student at the Art Institute of Dallas. It was my first assignment after a good number of portfolio reviews at the Dallas comic cons I attended back then.
At that time, Marvel would have a table with creators and editors at the Dallas Fantasy Fairs every March, July, and November.
Marvel editor, Renee Witterstaetter, attended most of those then. So she got to see my portfolio each convention.
She was gracious to give me a critique and encouragement at each convention. It was the Spring 1992 Dallas Fantasy Fair where Renee saw something special in my work (I guess I’d leveled up just enough to take a shot on) and said she’d buy a one page gag from me to run in the comic she was editing, “WHAT THE–?!” .
(A comic book I was already reading and a big fan of! I still have the entire run of that series.)
She gave me her card and asked me to mail her some concept gags/sketches.
I was pumped with anticipation and excitement! I rushed home and started putting together some ideas. Sent them off a few days later. A week later, Renee called me to say she liked these two X-Men gags and to put them together on one page.
Hence, I created the comic strip, “Mutant Mishaps” (which ran again in issue #25).
I have since gotten to reconnect with Renee and let her know that she gave me my first professional comic book work and thank her for the opportunity.
It’s kinda cool to have my first paid and published comic book work be at Marvel.
This is the original art from WHAT THE–?! #21 (I’d thought I lost!) It’s a bit worse for the wear but a priceless memento of my first step as a professional comic book artist.
It would still be another year and a half before I’d break into comics doing it full time.
But THAT is a story for another day.