Some people might not think that when February 8 rolls around. But to myself, Agnew Pennyworth and a few others, it is a day that means more than anything. That includes Comic Con. I know that may sound crazy, but it’s true. Cause without February 8, there might not be an Anti-Hero Brand.
You see, way back, on February 8, 2001, five years before I first published an issue of Youth in Asia and even before Fuzzyface was even a thought in my or Venus of Necro‘s minds, an event happened that allowed all of this to happen. A single moment that had built up for more than half a year before. So maybe I should take you all the way back to May of 2000. Back then, I was living in my apartment, just getting by. Going to work 5 days a week, slinging pizzas. And after almost every shift I would either ride my bike or walk the mile to Safehouse Espresso Bar, where I would sit and sketch in one of my many sketchbooks. Six and sometimes, mostly seven nights a week I could be found drawing. Drawing and dreaming. Dreaming of drawing comics for Marvel. Back then, I was a Marvel fanboy.
Back in May, if I remember correctly, I began to feel some dull pain in my right knee. Soon after the pain worsened and swelling began. Swelling that got to the size of a mini basketball. Being who I was back then I let the pain go and didn’t go to the doctor’s for a few months. In August the doctor had me go to physical therapy. I lost the slip and didn’t go until like November. I also got an X-Ray, my first since I had broken my toe in high school. Come November, the pain was still horrendous and the swelling hadn’t gone away. Each day I was popping Napersin and strapping (litterally) bags of ice to my knee in order to get through a day at work, which was usually roughly 6-8 hours on my feet. When the physical therapy took place, I still had all the strenght in my leg, just not the mobility. I could leg press hundreds of pounds and ride the stationary bike just fine, but being able to bend my knee all the way wasn’t happening. I couldn’t kneel without severe pain.
Then it finally happened. Come the new year, January 3, I finally got an MRI. It was the first time I had ever gone through this procedure, but wouldn’t be the last. Not by a long shot.
The results of the MRI weren’t given to me for more than two weeks. I had received a referral to an orthopedic surgeon in mid January. But they specialized in upper body extremities (you’d think they would know this kind of thing. Flippin HMO‘s). So I called the doctor back and requested another referral. So, I figured I lost at least 3 more days, but I was wrong. The very next day the doctor’s office called back and said they had gotten the MRI results back and not only had my new referral, but had contacted that doctor and made me an appointment. Now, in the back of my mind I knew what was wrong. I had known it for some time. It just hadn’t been made official. But I knew, that when your PCP makes your appointment, it’s never good.
So, my mom and I went to the doctor. The first thing a doctor said to me and my mom when he came into the examining room was, “Has anybody said anything to you yet?” I could see my mom’s heart sink at those words. But even though I already knew, I said, “no.” The doctor put the MRI and the X-Ray up on the light wall. The first couple pictures of the MRI looked normal. But then the rest of the pictures of my right femur got darker and darker. The next step was a biopsy by yet another orthopedic surgeon.
And on February 8, 2001 at precisely 6PM, with both my mother and father present I spoke to the doctor who performed the biopsy just a week before. He diagnosed it to be B-Cell Lymphoma, and type of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. At 22 years old, I had cancer. For the next several months, I went through vigorous treatments of chemo that were called CHOP. I was forced to chop off my pigtails that I had been growing since 1996, and I was on crutches for six months. But this only did one thing, it made me resolve to go back to school and get a degree in graphic design so I would be better suited to take on the comic industry. Originally I wanted to take a correspondence course through the Joe Kubert School. My mom thought about going to different schools here in Tucson to get information. I ended up attending school here in Tucson and then after finishing the graphic design portion, I went through the animation program where I got my Bachelor’s Degree.
It was after this that I persued my comic book dreams. Writing and drawing the first issue of Youth in Asia and self publishing it in June 2006. The dream was realized, and it even after five and a half years it is still strong. Currently I am working on layouts and pages for Youth in Asia issue 6. This may or may not be in single issue format. It may be a small graphic novel self contained story. Anti-Hero Brand Press has been at close to a dozen comic conventions and a plethora of signings at Charlies Comics here in Tucson, AZ. This year, being less than two months old, Anti-Hero Brand, which encompasses myself and Agnew Pennyworth, writer, Venus of Necro and YiA issue 4 cover artist, Ashler Bate. Ashler also did three interior pages in that issue, as well as a pinup in Fuzzyface. Venus not only wrote Fuzzyface, but while she’s also working on the prologue and epilogues for the reprinting of the horror comedy, she has also written a short story to for the Book of Grrry, not to mention the epilogue in the forthcoming issue BoG. Ashler also is working on his creator owned project that will be published through Anti-Hero Brand Press. Big news for AHB include having some pretty talented artists that are going to produce pinups for the reprint of Fuzzyface.
Anti-Hero Brand Press will be appearing at Phoenix ComiCon come this Memorial Day, ACE or Albuquerque Comic Expo in early June and Tucson Comic Con in November. Plus there is also the possibility of AHB being a part of Las Vegas Comic Expo in September. The Vegas Expo has yet to put tables on sale, but we’ll be among the first to find out details.
Since 2006, Anti-Hero Brand Press has produced 5 issues of Youth in Asia plus one trade, two issues of the Book of Grrry which have recently been collected into a single collection with a third story, Fuzzyface: The Agnew Chainsaw Massacre 3, two volumes of Got Crayons? The Adventures of Agnew Colouring Book, two volumes of Bedhead and we’ve been a part of the Spazdog Press published Unite & Take Over. Although 2012 may be the year the world ends, according to stupid people who don’t know that the Mayan Calendar is ciclical, it’s gonna be a great year. And it all started February 8, 2001… the day the revolution began.