(Continued from yesterday’s blog) I found myself in an untenable position as a comic book artist. I accepted my fate as an exile in the TV Animation Industry (while making 3 times as much money as I had as in comics) and resolved to take the next step on that career pat. I put out the word that I was looking to become a director.
Ironically, around this time, something Bob Schreck had said in passing finally sunk in: If I got together with Mike Barr and put together a revival of Mike’s “Mage Agency” property, Bob might be interested in taking it to Dark Horse. I immediately called Mike with the idea. He allowed that his ears always perked up when somebody said “Maze Agency” but cautioned things would be different with out working relationship: no more “Marvel Style”. He would write tight scripts that I would follow closely. Yeah, whatever, I thought to myself dismissively. On the other hand, Mike was a good enough writer that this might be tolerable, at least starting out.
Before things could proceed, however, I got my first directing gig, “Captain Simian and the Space Monkey’s for the start-up studio “Epoch Ink”, founded by one of my best friends, Joe Pearson. Pushing aside residual guilt feelings about pointlessly jerking Mike’s chain, I threw myself into this new life path for the next 5 or 6 years, until I tired of being a monk in the animation production monastery and stepped away. It was around the time that Bob Schreck was hired as group editor at DC Comics. I called him up, threw my hat back in the ring, and soon found myself replacing Darwyn Cooke on the re-launched Catwoman series. But that’s another tale.
In summary, kvetch and carp though I might, I’ll be eternal grateful to Bob Schreck and Mike Barr for, basically, giving me free rein as the penciller and inker on “The Mark”. I was able to do my best, with no excuses or qualifications. If I was not able to reach my influences, it was nobody’s fault but mine.
This is page 24 for "The Mark" issue 4, volume 2, otherwise known as "The Mark In America", published by Dark Horse Comics in March 1994. Written by Mike Barr, Drawn by Brad Rader