BEAUOLOGY 101: YOU always remember YOUR FIRST, part 2

This post is Filed Under:

Home page Highlights,
Interviews and Columns

What The–?! #21

by beau Smith

(Editor Roger Ash here. Last time on Beauology 101, beau reminisced about his first paying and published work in comics. He decided to ask his pals in the comics industry to share what their first published and paid work was in comics. That’s all you need to know. Now, read on….)

“What The –?! #21 back cover published by marvel Comics.

“I was 21 years old and still attending Art Institute of Dallas. Renee Witterstaeter was the What The–?! editor and I showed her my portfolio during a Dallas comic convention in the early 1990’s. She was willing to buy an X-Men gag from me. I wrote, penciled, inked, and lettered the one page gag called “Mutant Mishaps”. My dream to become a professional comic creator was starting to come true! now as an established pro, I’ve since reconnected with Renee on the comic convention circuit  and thanked her for giving me my first paid/published job.”

-Todd Nauck

“Punisher war Journal, I think, over Hugh Haynes, via mark McKenna (I inked the backgrounds), no idea what #, but this was in 1993, fall… I was an uncredited assistant…”

-Mark Irwin


Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet

“For me, it’s easy: my first paid-for-&-published work was 1997’s Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet, done with my old friend, artist Lee Weeks. given the story is Dick Grayson’s “final exam” to prove he can hack it as Robin, and given it plays out over July 4th weekend, our working title was independence Day. Unfortunately, there was this little will Smith movie of the same name released that summer . . .”

-Bruce Canwell


Strangers in Paradise

“My first pro comic was Strangers In Paradise #1. and I’m the only one on the planet who can make that scandalous claim.”

-Terry Moore


Silver Surfer Annual

“Silver Surfer annual #3, published by marvel Comics.”

-Ron Marz


Batman Chronicles #7

“My first paid assignment was “Like Riding a Bike,” with artist Rodolfo Damaggio  — a very short Dick and Donna story for The Batman Chronicles # 7.  However, it was beat to market by my second paid assignment, Batman plus Arsenal # 1, with artists Rodolfo Damaggio & Robert Campanella.”

-Devin Grayson


Scout: war Shaman #13

“Not counting the beau LaDuke spot illustration for your Louis L’Amour obituary in Comics buyers Guide,

Scout: war Shaman #13 published by Eclipse Comics”

–Todd Fox

Current project:   Aym Geronimo and the Postmodern Pioneers

Dr. strange & Dr. Doom: triumph and Torment

“The first comic book work I was paid for was published, but was concept work, so  my character designs, not my artwork, were published. In 1987 I’d met Mike Mignola through a mutual professor at the California college of Arts & Crafts ( Mike was an alumnus, I was in my second year). Mike liked my work and hired me to design a group of sorcerers for a doctor Doom Vs doctor strange GN he was penciling. I did 7 characters and Mike used all but one ( he said it was because the character was scarier than doctor Doom).  Mike paid me what I asked and though I was never credited, it was a bigger shot in the arm to have been hired by a professional artist who  saw merit in my work.  several years later mark Badger inked it and it hit the stands much later than had been planned.It was amazing to see the characters I’d created show up in the opening fight scene drawn by Mike and embellished by Mark.

-Dan Brereton


X-Force #22

“I actually couldn’t remember,  I knew it was X-Force, but couldn’t remember the issue without referring to my my checklist.  Damn I was a busy boy!  Well, here it is….

“Answer:  X-Force #22, published by marvel Comics.”

-Kevin Conrad


Spawn. JLA. The Tenth.

Flint Armbuster, Jr.

“My first comic book work was a self published Doc savage parody called Flint Armbuster Jr. It was written and penciled by me, inked and published by a gentleman named Zac Van Note. Back in the early 90’s Van note published a handful of amazing books under the banner of Alchemy Studios. I was working on the second issue when I got a chance to fill in for Angel Medina on Dreadstar. The funny thing is that the Dreadstar job was based on some Grimjack samples I’d sent to first Comics. In those days I was doing my best to channel my hero at that time (and still) Flint Henry.”

-Scot Eaton



“Taboo #1 – published by Spiderbaby Graphix”

–Thomas E. Sniegoski


Upcoming Project – Bone: tall Tales with Jeff Smith

“My first professional comic work was in the early eighties for Crazy, Marvel’s mad knockoff, I was about 22 and “Scary” Larry Hama was the editor. I went up to the marvel offices to show Larry my portfolio, which means a bunch of loose drawings and stuff I was doing for theComics Journal. Larry, who at the time had his hair grown down to his butt and was wearing a “Kill them all and let God sort ’em out” kinda of tee shirt with skulls and guns on it, looks at my work and leans back in his chair, and with his evil samurai look,  says, “Why the hell would I want to use crap like this?” now normally I wouldn’t have taken that kind of comment very well, I would have told him to go to hell (like 99% of the artists he used that interview tactic on). but my guardian angel must have had a firm hold of me that day, because I remember feeling very calm, and just replying, “What do I have to do to make it better?” He had a surprised look on his face as he pulled out a piece of tracing paper,  put it over one of my drawings and made some corrections. “So if I make those corrections and bring them back next week will you give me a job?” I asked. He looked at me shocked, like I’d pulled some Aikido move on him and he was now on the floor, wondering how he’d got there. He didn’t reply!  So I gathered up my drawings, “Same time next week?,” I asked as I walked towards the door. “Yeah, sure”, he grunted as I left. shortly thereafter Larry gave me my first paying comics work, a job for Crazy, doing drawings for rewritten poems, fractured versions of Gunga Din and the Raven and such. I did a few more jobs on crazy and then the magazine folded and Larry moved on to the Conan books. So that’s how I got started in comics, all thanks to Larry Hama and my Guardian Angel!

“There you go , and it’s all true, except for the parts that aren’t!”

-Gary Kwapisz


Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu #17


“Okay-yy… My first money maker (if you could call it that) was a pin-up of the Sons of the Tiger that was run as the inside front cover for an issue of Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, the number of which escapes me at the moment.  Thirty whole bucks!


“Inside front cover / Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #…. Really.  Does anybody care?”

–Keith Giffen


Current, best known or upcoming project:  Doom Patrol, JLI, legion of Super-Heroes (that’s right, I’m returning to the 30th century with Paul).

Solo Avengers #12

“My first work that I actually got PAID for and actually saw print?

“That would be Solo Avengers #12, written by Howard Mackie, and I was lucky enough to be inked by the super-fantastic Stan Drake. I mean really lucky. You shoulda seen those pencils before he got his talented hands on them.

“It was a back up story involving YellowJacket… the naughty female one. The Fixer busts her outta jail and then comes onto her, and she blows him off. then she winds up stalking the Black Knight, who is trying to get with the Wasp, who then shoots him down. His amazing line after that is: “I’ll have to be content with polishing the old ebony blade”. Yes, there’s actually some fighting going on in here, too. It was a lot of story packed into 11 pages.

“It was published in fall of ’88. I was twelve. No?

“Whatcha mean you don’t believe me? Okay.”

-Amanda Conner

Artist and The Brains & looks Behind Jimmy Palmiotti

“Art and story for “The Adventures of crash Cursor & Sync” for Sync Magazine/Creative Computing Magazine, 1980.”

-Timothy Truman

Conan, Grimjack, Scout, Hawkman

Chastity: Re-Imagined

“My first paid and printed comic work was a one shot collaboration with Jimmy Palmiotti for Chaos Comics called Chastity: Re-Imagined, which I believe came out in July of 2002. just a few months later 21Down was released by Wildstorm.”

-Justin Gray

Writer & stand up Guy.

Tales of the Beanworld #1

“This one’s easy, amigo.

Tales of the Beanworld #1 1985.”

-Larry Marder


Brigade #1

“Pin-up in Brigade #2 published by image Comics

“First Sequential: Youngblood #0 published by image Comics”

-Dan Fraga

Current Project: Directing the Ricky Gervais Show.

“Okay. trying to do this from memory but I believe my first paid work was for an anthology called Tipper Gore Comic and stories (I think that was the title) number 3 (I think that was the issue) for Revolutionary Comics (I’m sure that was the company). It was a five page story back in the black and white boom days of the ’80’s.”

-Dan DiDio

Writer/DC Comics Co-Publisher

Boris the Bear

“Boris the Bear #1 with Randy Stradley and I had to start my own company in order to get paid.”

–Mike Richardson

Writer and Leader Of Dark horse Comics


“My first published comic, Beau, was for the late, lamented Prime, Malibu Comics’ flagship title. I wrote a fill-in for what would become Vol. 2 #5. For some reason I went by my middle name, “Jan” Van Lente. I was just out of college and struggling with how to present myself as a writer.

“Marvel had bought them by that point so I got a check with Spider-Man on it. That was in 1996, and it would be nine long years before I got another Spider-Check…”

Fred Van Lente


“My first publication, that I was paid for, was in Argentina. It was a one-chapter story about War, I cannot recall the name, it was published by Editorial Columba in Buenos Aires, Argentina, around 1976. The next year I was already drawing important properties for the same Editorial. later on I made my entry to the us comic market by the hand of Chuck Dixon.”

-Enrique Villagran


Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars. green Lantern.

X-Men: The early Years #7

“The first published work I was paid for was inking a Mike Parobeck cover for a reprint X-Men series called X-Men: The early Years. From there, it was off to the races.

“I’ve tried to hunt down the original art for that cover for years, with no luck. I’d like to gift it to my kids someday.”

-Keith Champagne


Coyote #11

“A back up story for Steve Englehart’s Coyote book for Marvel’s epic line of books. It was published in early 1985.”

-Todd McFarlane

Artist/Writer/Producer/Entertainment Mogul

Power of the Atom #1

” marvel Universe, April 1986 issue #5 published by marvel Comics.  I believe this was the first thing printed.

“Power of the Atom, August 1988 issue #1 published by DC Comics. This was my first full book printed.”

-Dwayne Turner

Artist/Film story Board Artist

Gumby 3-D

“First paid published Comic work was penciling a pinup ad of Doc savage for marvel Black and White magazines back in 1975 as a teenager!  I think I was paid a whopping $15.  It was inked (and saved) by Dan Adkins and looked like a Dan Adkins drawing after it was all done.   fast forward to 1986 and Blackthorne published my first inking on Gumby 3D #1!  current upcoming work:  Penciling a Simpsons story for Simpsons Comics and inking lady Robotika for bill Morrison!”

-Dan Davis


Robyn of Sherwood

“Robyn of Sherwood #1 published by Caliber Comics”

–Paul D. Storrie


William Tell: One against an Empire

Secret Wars II #1

“1st pro work as assistant Editor: secret Wars II #1

“1st writing work: Starbrand annual #1 (best forgotten, though).”

-Bobbie Chase


Mystery in space #117

“My first pro comic work was inking a Carmine Infantino story for mystery in space #117, done in the summer of 1980. What an intimidating experience to start on Infantino! but I survived, nonetheless.”

-Jerry Ordway


“Well if you want to be literal my first pro pay gig was Uncanny X-Men doing backgrounds for Whilce Portacio. Don’t remember what issue # it was, but I’d remember it if I saw it. It was during X-Men: Mutant Genesis ( I think ) and right before image started.”

-Danny Miki


Okay… how was THAT for a response?  I hope you found out something about one of your favorite comic book creators or are sparked to look up some of these folks work that you may not have seen yet.  Something I’d suggest is to use this as a way to start a new sub-collection.  You can now start collecting the first work of writers and artists that you like.  I think that’s a pretty amazing theme for guys like us that just can’t get enough of comic books.

I wanna thank all of my pals in comics that participated in this one question survey.  They took the time and I appreciate that.  most of all I hope you as the reader enjoyed this look into everyone’s “first Kiss” with comics.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith

The flying Fist Ranch

Most covers for this article came from the Grand Comics Database.

Gumby 3-D came from Comic book DB.