Steve Bissette, Part 1: To "1963" And Beyond

Fri, July 2nd, 2010 at 10:58am PDT | Updated: July 2nd, 2010 at 11:06am

Comic Books
Alex Dueben, Staff Writer
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Though his name is unlikely to appear on any Top Ten Hottest lists, Steve Bissette is arguably one of the most important figures in comics from the past thirty years. As an artist, Bissette remains perhaps best known for penciling the Alan Moore written "Swamp Thing" in the 1980s. He also wrote, illustrated and self-published dinosaur epic "Tyrant," and as a publisher, Bissette oversaw the horror-themed anthology "Taboo" which featured work by Moore, Eddie Campbell, Charles Burns and numerous other comic book luminaries. A tireless advocate for creators' rights over the years, Bissette also educating the next generation of creators as an instructor at The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. Creatively speaking, Bissette currently has his webcomic "King of Monster Isle" and is the author of a great blog at srbissette.com.

In 1992, during the early days of Image Comics, Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and Bissette, along with a number of other creators, teamed up to create "1963." Six issues of the series were published, and an Annual which would conclude the series was scheduled but never finished. To this day, the book has never been completed, collected or reprinted.

Earlier this year, Bissette announced that this fall will see the release of "Tales of the Uncanny - N-Man & Friends: A Naut Comics History Vol. 1" from About Comics featuring characters from "1963," which he owns. In this first of a two part interview with CBR News, the creator discussed the history of "1963," his relationship with Alan Moore and the Image founders, superheroes, the events that led to his retirement in the late nineteen-nineties and what drew him back into the comic book world.

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CBR News: So, Mr. Bissette, back in the early 90s, there was a miniseries published by Image titled "1963" by you, Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and others. Now, my memory of this is very rusty and likely very incomplete, but the miniseries was published and the idea was to then have an Annual, illustrated by Jim Lee, which would conclude the series, but that never happened. Is that pretty much correct?

Stephen R. Bissette: Oh, man, this is so much water under the bridge - if I answer this fully for you, though, I can quit answering this question and just steer people to this interview, so - here goes.

One of the Image Comics 1963 crossovers: Jim Valentino's SHADOWHAWK, circa 1994

Depending on which one of us you talk to, you'll get a different take on what "really" happened, Rashomon-style. All I can give you is my take on what happened.

My perception of events, then and now, is that we did the "1963" series under the invite and umbrella of Image founding co-partner Jim Valentino, who honored his agreement to the letter and co-created and worked with Alan and I on one character, "Johnny Beyond."

Then Rick Veitch and I found ourselves caught in the crossfire between the Image partners' pissing contests. We didn't grasp what was going on at the time - we thought everyone was eager to work together, we didn't realize the Image partners were in competition with one another, and we unfortunately allowed our confusion to undercut Jim Valentino. At the 1992 San Diego Comic-Con, where the Image partners were eager to announce the project - at that point, the "1963" project was Alan Moore's first-ever work with Image - Jim Lee sent an emissary to intercept Rick Veitch and I and ask if he could "do" the Annual. We - Rick, me and Alan, as we somehow contacted Alan by phone, I think - stupidly said "Yes." We shouldn't have.

To make a very long story short, I believed then and I believe now had we stuck with Jim Valentino, the Annual would have been completed and seen print. Jim Lee simply never did anything - we saw one fax from Jim Lee, and as far as I know there was no other contact, nothing else, ever. That fax had a very cool Jim Lee sketch of the Planet (from "Mystery Inc") on it, but that was all we ever heard or received. Shortly afterwards, Jim Lee announced he was taking a sabbatical, and that was that.

By the time it became impossible to even get a return phone call from Jim Lee or Alan, I served notice to Alan and Rick that, while I would pencil my part of the Annual, I could no longer take any responsibility for co-editing the project - Rick Veitch and I had co-edited the entire series - and that was misinterpreted to mean I was walking.

I wasn't, but when you can't get either your key Image partner or your writer to communicate, I couldn't see how we'd possibly be able to coordinate Alan's plans and initial script pages, which involved many Image characters and creators interacting with our respective "1963" cast of characters. Jim Lee wasn't supposed to draw the Annual - my understanding was we would be drawing our respective characters, with Dave Gibbons inking our pencils, and the respective Image partners would be penciling their characters, all according to Alan's ambitious script pitting the "1963" universe against the 1993 Image universe - but he was in charge, our Image coordinator and liaison. Jim Lee did nothing, he simply vanished. At the time, I'd hoped my alert to my partners would prompt action, and we could rally, but instead it only furthered the erosion process. By then, I was going through a separation from my first wife and struggling to keep my family together and workably intact, and Rick was left to shoulder the burden essentially alone.

Finally, understand that while Rick and I were 100% into the "1963" project, as was Jim Valentino, the Image partners weren't. Some quickly took the initiation of the "1963" project as an open door to working with Alan on their respective projects. Again, we didn't realize at the time this also was tied up with their competitive natures: that is, it was Jim Valentino's coup that he got Alan on board via "1963," and the other Image partners wanted a piece of that action, which would also trump Jim Valentino's initial coup. There was apparently more than just a healthy collegiate rivalry involved. Some of it seemed pretty cutthroat from where we sat.

Todd McFarlane trumped everyone by inviting Alan to write for "Spawn," which led to the whole four-issue Moore/Gaiman/Sim/Miller arc on "Spawn." His first issue and miniseries with Alan was already coming out before "1963" #1 hit the stands in April 1993, making it appear [as though] Todd had landed Alan. Then others invited Alan to write their books or characters - you know which ones, or could quickly ascertain which ones those were - all of which distracted from Alan's initial primary focus on "1963." Once the royalty money began to flow from those ventures, it became harder and harder to engage anyone who wasn't intent or dependent on "1963's" completion.

So, there you go. From my point of view, the plans of 1992 that initiated "1963," the series, also led to Alan writing so many titles for Image that "1963" was no longer the focus of his energies. We lost Jim Lee's involvement due to...what, I don't know. We may have never had Jim Lee's involvement: that may all have been about one-upping Jim Valentino, robbing his thunder, for that one San Diego Comic-Con event. I hate to sound cynical, but that's how it seemed. We lost Alan's involvement to Image and whatever else was going on in his life, which I was told less and less about (I only found out ten years later about one key element in all this, which I won't get into here). It was a process: Alan wrote the editorial pages, the ads and the letters pages to the first two 1963 books, and gradually he had less and less time to do that. As of issue #3, Rick and I ended up doing more and more of all that additional material as part of our editorial duties, and Alan only scripted the stories, working Marvel style (he dictated story outlines to us, detailed action page-by-page, we penciled, faxed the pages to Alan, and he did the dialogue). By the time we got to the sixth issue, and the initial pages of the "1963 Annual" script were received, it seemed impossible to engage Alan on the necessary nuts and bolts of making it all come together. Nobody at Image cared to talk to us - to Rick or I - they all wanted to work with Alan and they no longer needed the "1963 Annual" to accomplish that. It all unraveled, and in hindsight, why not?

A page from the original 1963 HYPERNAUT story, script by Alan Moore, art by Bissette and Chester Brown. Story by Alan Moore, art by Stephen R. Bissette and Chester Brown.

In essence, "1963" initiated Alan working with other Image partners; once he was working with other Image partners, he had less time and passion for "1963," as did the Image partners. Add to that Jim Lee's usurping Jim Valentino so he could announce at 1992 San Diego Comic-Con that he had the Annual, followed by complete lack of interest/contact from Jim Lee, and you've got the recipe for inertia and disaster in the end stretch. Image wanted Alan Moore. Rick Veitch, myself (the initial phone call had been made to me by Jim Valentino, in hopes of reaching Alan) and "1963" weren't important to the Image collective. End of story.

That said, some of the Image partners were terrific to Rick and I and [were] initially very excited to be part of the project. I stress again that Jim Valentino was tremendous to work with and honored his every commitment. It's really too bad it didn't all work out to the end, and this has been a major albatross for Rick and I over the years.

So the Annual keeps not happening, and eventually it's clear it's never going to happen. In 1998, the three of you sat down to deal with the legal rights. How did you guys decide on splitting up the rights and how was it broken down?

In 1996, I said something - I don't know what - in the original manuscript for my interview with "The Comics Journal" (#185, March 1996) that so upset Alan that he cut off all contact with me. We had one final, brief phone non-conversation...and that was it. I'd seen Alan do this with others - "exile" former friends and partners - and I knew it was final. No further contact was permitted.

As a result, by 1998 I urged Rick and Alan to consider our legally dividing up the "1963" property. You can't have a functional three-way partnership, much less a creative partnership, when one party refuses absolutely to speak to another. We worked out a means to negotiate the settlement using a legal representative to handle my part of this division of the property, so Alan wouldn't have to deal with me directly, and settled everything before the end of that year.

At Alan's insistence, I ended up with the characters I'd worked on as co-creator - The Fury, N-Man, the Hypernaut - and all their supporting casts of characters and concepts, including Sky Solo. I ended up with two titles, "No One Escapes...The Fury" and "Tales of the Uncanny." All the rest, including Johnny Beyond (which Alan co-owns with Jim Valentino) and the "1963" title itself, are legally co-owned by Alan Moore and Rick Veitch. Alan also specified I do not have the right to reprint the original "1963" stories we collaborated on together, though I now own the relevant copyrights and trademarks to the names, characters and concepts.

That was 1998. Though I wanted to do something with my characters after that, in the spirit of our original friendship, our collaboration and the hope for an eventual resolution that might allow a "1963" collected edition - including, in the best of all worlds, an actual ending, something to supplant the crossover Annual that could now never exist (as a couple of the Image partners had since gone their separate ways) - I sat tight for 12 full years.

I've been patient and cooperative and bided my time in hopes we'd work out something, to the benefit of everyone, including all our partners in the original venture, like Dave Gibbons, John Totleben, Chester Brown, Jim Valentino, Don Simpson, Anthony Tollin, John Workman and so on. Sadly, that didn't pan out, despite Rick's and my best efforts.

Now, I'm going to work with my creative properties, and have some fun.

So, is it mainly due to legal issues that there's never been a collection of the original "1963" miniseries, or are there other factors involved?

Originally, when it might have been possible, there was never an interested publisher willing to bankroll such a collection properly. Mind you, numerous publishers approached us over the years, including Image, and we always responded.

It's a curious history, really. While Rick, Alan and I found a few ways some years ago that we could have worked to that end - even given Alan's conditions, that he not have to talk to me - nothing ultimately panned out. I have files filled with email correspondence printouts, dating from 1999 to this year, in which we worked out different scenarios to respond to various publishing possibilities. We've come up with at least four solid, possible finales for the series over the past decade-and-a-half. In every case, though, we never had a publisher willing to pony up anything that made the completion of the project remotely viable. We weren't holding out for anything major - we just needed something, anything to make it possible to finance our doing the work. We had done the original series with a minimal page rate - I mean, very minimal, far less than we were paid in the "Swamp Thing" days, when I was earning $63 per page for pencils - and were willing to do that again if it meant we could wrap up the series.

A page from the original 1963 HYPERNAUT story, script by Alan Moore, art by Bissette and Chester Brown. Story by Alan Moore, art by Stephen R. Bissette and Chester Brown.

At one point, we even had solved that dilemma and required an open enough schedule to allow Alan the time to script the finale he and Rick were going to collaborate on, sans my direct involvement. In every case, it was up to us to make it happen sans any real commitment or support from said interested publishers - and those are "deals" easy to ultimately walk away from. As I put it once, there was publisher interest, but no publisher will - they wanted it, but they didn't want to facilitate its existence.

At one point, we even had a flat buyout offer from DC Comics - it was a risibly small amount of money, and easy to simply laugh off (the last laugh Alan and I ever shared, come to think of it, though not on the same phone line, of course).

Rick and I diligently tried over the years to make it happen. We also had the enormous obligations to all of all our creative partners in the venture - the inkers, colorists, letterers - whom we would occasionally track down and check in with. But since there was never a concrete interest or commitment to discuss, that was rare. Again, while fans of the series - which, remember, in 1993 had sold between 500,000-300,000 copies per issue, so that's a sizeable fan base - were hungry for it, publishers seemed to expect Alan, Rick and I to simply hand it to them, fait accompli and sans any commitment from said publishers.

In 2009, it looked like we'd finally found a solution - but alas, that didn't pan out, either. In the end, the plug was pulled on the venture as we were ready to sign contracts, and Rick and I welcomed its finality. If you want to know more, see my April 2010 blog announcement - it's all behind us now, once and for all time. Maybe after we're all dead and gone, our respective adult offspring will have the maturity and wherewithal to work it out, if anyone still cares a whit about it.

Rick and I gave it our best and nursed it for 17 years. In the end, we just couldn't make it happen. We're well and truly done trying.

At the time, did you know you wanted to do something further with the characters and what you would do?

No, at the time - I assume you mean 1992-93, when I first worked with my creative partners on the original Image series - I didn't have any concrete ideas about where we might go. At that time, we were all so sure we were going to go there - wherever there was - together. That wasn't and hasn't been the case, sadly. Since 1998, when this quartet of characters became legally mine, it's taken me some time to acclimate - to the fact they are mine to play and work with; to the loss of the original creative chemistries and partnership; to the resolution that if I don't do something with them, nobody can or will. They've been virtual orphans for so long, it's high time they get to live their lives, such as they are. If nothing else, I owe it to my own now-adult offspring to do something with these characters, if only to revive the properties and make them worth something.

That said, we did talk back in the day about the possibilities. It's been part of the process since 1998 that I had to shuck and abandon any plans I'd once entertained with the original co-creator and find my own path for these characters. That's taken some time to work out, and for me to feel some real sense of ownership - enough to really engage with playing and working with them as my own. Legally, they're mine, but in reality and emotionally, that's a tough pill to swallow and move on from.

Of all the original characters, N-Man was the one I originally cottoned to. My creative partner didn't have any clear idea of what he should look like - "He should look good coming through a wall," is all I was told, quite literally, and that's a quote. Both the Fury and N-Man were, visually, my own conceptions in their final form; originally, the Fury was described as something quite different from what I came up with. So those two characters I've always felt some genuine emotional ties and ownership with/of; the rest has taken some time to nurture and embrace.

But N-Man always rang a bell for me. By 1998, I'd begun concocting stories I've only developed further in the interim, and those are the most expansive in scope, really, because of that. I've already said too much; if time and venue permit, those will see light of day as comics stories.

Really, Rick and I hoped we would find a way to shepherd a complete reprint volume collecting the original series. I didn't want to in any way compromise that. Though I legally owned my part of the original series, the clear antipathy of my original co-creator was quite self-evident, and I thought my doing anything with these characters would render a reprint volume completely impossible. In the end, he played a card that rendered his wishes, beyond the legal parameters that have existed since 1998, completely moot. I no longer care; there's no reason to hold out or hold off any longer. It's time to do something with N-Man, the Fury, the Hypernaut and Sky Solo, and no reason on Earth to not let them out of the limbo orphanage they've been condemned to for so many years.

A page from the original 1963 HYPERNAUT story, script by Alan Moore, art by Bissette and Chester Brown. Story by Alan Moore, art by Stephen R. Bissette and Chester Brown.

Furthermore, let's face it; the Direct Sale comic book marketplace hasn't been too healthy since 1996. As I've already related, it was almost impossible to propel any expressed interest from various publishers in the original series being collected into funding, in even a meager way, a reprint volume; there's been even less interest in new material, sans a reprint volume existing.

If self-publishing were still viable, I'd be doing "Tyrant," not these projects - that's where my heart remains, as a solo creator. That said, I've always loved these characters, I did co-create them, they earned me the income in 1993 that made "Tyrant" possible, and I'm now in a position to work with a variety of creators collaboratively. That's invigorating to me, and the timing is right.

"1963" was a departure for you, having been known up to that point for your time on "Swamp Thing" and as the publisher of "Taboo." You were a horror artist or a monster artist or dinosaur artist, and superheroes don't seem to have been something that otherwise interested you. What was it that made you say yes to the project way back when, and what is it that's made you continue with this project and these characters now?

I've never been into superheroes. From the time I was three and four years old, I could never invest in that particular fantasy: I loved mythology and heroic fantasy, especially the Greek myths and Arabian Nights and that realm, thanks to the Ray Harryhausen movies ("The 7th Voyage of Sinbad," "Jason and the Argonauts," etc.) and the marvelous mythology texts in my local library, with illustrations by Willy Pogany. For the most part, though, it was always more attractive to me to engage with horror stories and monsters than superheroes. I could believe in a 50-foot gorilla loose in New York City far more than I could a grown man donning colorful tights to fight crime - the very premise of superheroes, particularly urban vigilante superheroes, wasn't too credible or attractive to me. I tolerated superheroes, at best. By the time I was working professionally in the field, I avoided the genre. I didn't feel I had anything to contribute, really, and didn't find drawing superheroes in any way rewarding. I hated it when they were introduced into the "Saga of the Swamp Thing" narratives, but I worked with it and dug it. John Totleben and I took the approach of, "if you were in the same room with Superman or Hawkman, you'd be terrified." That was the hook for me, though I must add I often called Rick Veitch in to work with me on any superhero sequences in "Swamp Thing," as Rick loves superheroes.

Honestly, the original "1963" series was something I initially took on because Alan, Rick and I needed a way out of the Tundra Publishing morass, which I won't even get into here. I also felt a personal obligation to Alan, as he had committed himself to the serialization of both "From Hell" and "Lost Girls" in "Taboo," and that paid so poorly (he and Eddie Campbell, then he and Melinda Gebbie, were splitting the $100 per page "Taboo" paid) that I felt a need to address, and hopefully offset that. When Jim Valentino first called me in the spring of 1992 asking if maybe I'd be willing to approach Alan about collaborating - me and Alan - on a "Shadowhawk" issue, which was Jim's original overture, I thought given the Image sales in 1992 it might help us all financially. I also immediately called Rick, to see if he were up for working on something for Image. Now, we knew they didn't want us - Rick and I - Jim Valentino wanted Alan Moore. I was one of the few people Alan was still working with by 1992 - he'd left DC, Eclipse and so on. So I was just a go-between, and to be polite, I was asked to contribute, too. Rick and I knew that, we had no pretensions about it. But if we'd do it, too, Alan thought, what the hell - we pitched doing it Marvel style, working from plots only, so it wouldn't add a major writing burden to Alan's already unmanageable commitments to vast, sprawling projects that simply weren't earning him much at the time, including "From Hell" and "Lost Girls." We talked; we didn't want to do "Shadowhawk," but we did respond to Jim's overture - which led in short order, in just a few days, to the counterproposal from Alan that the three of us collaborate on an original series that would also sort of correct the negative impact Alan felt "Watchmen" had inadvertently had on the medium and industry. That was "1963," and being eager to work with Alan and Rick on anything - we really enjoyed each others friendship and creative collaboration at that time - I said, "Ah, what the hell." We didn't do it for the money, per se, as the meager advance we worked for meant I was also working a part-time job at the same time to make ends meet - it was a risk, financially, though obviously we all hoped it might pay off.

Once we got into it, I did fall in love with the elements of the superhero genre that has always attracted cartoonists. With the Fury, for instance, it was a hoot working out the logistics and grace of simply moving the male physique through space. I studied acrobats and gymnasts, and that become quite pleasurable in short order. With N-Man, and especially Comrade Cockroach, it was a blast to work out how a "lobster man" would move, particularly when he was in "the Shimmering Zone," walking against a disorienting gravitational pull that meant drawing N-Man as if he were walking against a river current. It was even more fun to think through and execute how a lanky four-armed character would move, the new leverage two additional limbs provided - that made Comrade Cockroach a delight to draw.

That brought me back to my lifelong love of stop-motion animation creators, like Willis O'Brien ("King Kong") and Ray Harryhausen ("The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms," "20 Million Miles to Earth," "One Million Years B.C.," etc.). "1963" led to my connecting with superheroes as a correlation of animation - projecting myself imaginatively into moving these fantastic beings through space, animating them panel to panel - and that became quite intoxicating for time. It helped, too, that Rick and I co-rented a studio between our two homes, where we would pencil in the same room at least two days a week. All this made doing "1963" an unexpected pleasure, and for the first time I enjoyed, really enjoyed, working in the superhero genre.

To your knowledge, do you know if Moore or Veitch have any plans to do anything with their characters?

No, I'm sorry, I don't know. I believe it's a dead issue for them, but you'd have to ask them, if they even want to talk about it. Given how things have gone, I don't think anyone should hold their breath. I'm the only one able to do anything with anything from the series right now with autonomy, and only within the strict parameters I've detailed for you here.

From "Tales of the Uncanny Vol. 1" - An N-Man cover (pencils by Jason Week), featuring the monstrous Vyrmix.

It's too bad. Again, I hope things change, but I've frankly given up waiting. It's been 17 years since the original series, and 12 years since the legal division of the shared properties. I'm the only one with a sole proprietorship of anything, legally unencumbered and free to move as I now am.

Of course, my doing what I'm doing may set other events in motion that could change things. That would be fine; as long as it's creative sparks that are lit, I'd be all for it.

You declared yourself retired from comics a while back - well, a number of years back, really, though thankfully you've abandoned that and have been working at CCS and posting comics online and working on other projects. What was behind the decision to retire and what dragged you back in?

Actually, I declared my retirement from the American comic book industry at the end of 1999, though nobody cared or noticed at the time. I'm a footnote, at best, honestly, though I'm proud of what I did accomplish and what I had a role in, some of which yielded work that seems to be of some lasting value. By 1998-99, though, it had become a completely toxic environment for me, personally and professionally. So I left the industry, but I never gave up on the medium of comics or the creative life - I still drew comics for myself, for the love of it, just not for publication. A few years on, my son Daniel asked me to do a comic story for his first 'sine, and I did, and that has led to my continuing to contribute the occasional comic story gratis to creator-owned or creator collective publications: AccentUK's "Zombies" and "Western," the New England Trees & Hills Collective, and so on. But I still wrote and drew without a break, and most of that was for publication. I sustained a weekly video review column in New England newspapers for over two years (which has since been collected into the five-volume book series "S.R. Bissette's Blur" for Black Coat Press), I illustrated at least one book a year and wrote and sold magazine articles, interviews, co-authored books and so on - all while raising two teenagers and working full-time as a manager of a local video superstore I was a shareholder in since 1991. That was all invisible to the myopic comics community, such as it is; if anything, when it came up, some seem to consider it shameful I was working a full-time job while still freelancing. It was ridiculous, that, but it's all past, isn't it?

Still, the retirement was very real. I meant it, and that retirement stood for a full decade until last year's necessary engagement with a possible reprint of "1963" in a collected edition, and all that entailed and all that followed, which we've discussed to tedious length here. Had we been allowed to use Alan Moore's name, the retirement would have remained, but once Alan's terms included that - we couldn't use his name, we had to remove all mention of he and of "Affable Al" - the possibility of working with a mainstream book publisher evaporated, and we ultimately found a Direct Market comics publisher still willing to go ahead. At that point, in solidarity with Rick and the collective goal of getting "1963" back into print, my retirement had to end.

After the plug was unceremoniously yanked on the reprint volume, I then had to engage fully with resurrecting my characters, copyrights and trademarks, and the only market in which they have any dim recognition or market value is the Direct Sales market and American comic book industry.

I've an obligation to my daughter Maia and my son Daniel and my stepson Mike to ensure they have something from me when I'm gone from this world. My core philosophy of life is the ideal that you always leave a place better than it was when you found it, to the best of your ability. I've tried to live life by and up to that, and that also means taking responsibility for all you create - creative "children," like Tyrant and N-Man and these characters, have some form of life, too. If I fulfill my obligations to my creative offspring, I will also be making life richer for my real-world offspring, too. The only way to make these characters, copyrights and trademarks mean and worth anything to them is to resurrect and bring them to life, and do so responsibly, with the proper legal issues attended to along the way. The only place to do that is in comics. So, well, here I go!

It's been a bit easier to entertain and engage thanks to my ongoing involvement as faculty at the Center for Cartoon Studies. I've been of James Sturm's and Michelle Ollie's incredible institution since we opened our doors in 2005, since the first-ever summer workshops and first-ever pioneer class, and that has been inspiring, energizing, life enhancing and marvelous in every way. It's hard, hard work, but honestly, there's nothing better I could be doing with my life at this stage than teaching - passing on whatever I know about comics, storytelling and drawing to the next generation. Joe and Muriel Kubert and their faculty at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art did the same for us, for Rick Veitch and Tom Yeates and our classmates and peers; when James Sturm invited me to work with and at CCS, it was a no-brainer. It was also a major life and creative opportunity. I jumped on it. I'm back in the beehive again, so to speak.

And now, initially with some reluctance, but now with excitement, I'm doing the same with my respective brood of characters from the Image miniseries. The American comic book industry has rarely been a hospitable place, but even if I end up just cranking out minis in the CCS basement, I'll keep going.

Thus ends the first part of CBR's interview with Steve Bissette. Join us next week for Part 2, when we discuss "Tales of the Uncanny – N-Man & Friends: A Naut Comics History Vol. 1," talk "Tyrant" and more.

Three pages from the original 1963 HYPERNAUT story, script by Alan Moore, art by Bissette and Chester Brown. 
Story by Alan Moore, art by Stephen R. Bissette and Chester Brown.
Story and art ©1993 Alan Moore and Stephen R. Bissette; Hypernaut © and TM Stephen R. Bissette, by contractual arrangement with the original co-creator; all rights reserved.

From TALES OF THE UNCANNY Vol. 1: An N-Man cover (pencils by Jason Week), featuring the monstrous Vyrmix.
Notice: Pencil art by Jason Week, © 2010 Stephen R. Bissette; N-Man, Vyrmix © and TM Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved.

One of the Image Comics 1963 crossovers: Jim Valentino's SHADOWHAWK, circa 1994.
Notice: Shadowhawk ® and © Jim Valentino; '1963' logo © and TM Alan Moore and Rick Veitch; The Fury, N-Man, Sky Solo and the Hypernaut © and TM Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved; all other '1963' characters © and TM Alan Moore and Rick Veitch.

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TAGS:  steve bissette, 1963, alan moore, rick veitch, the fury, n-man, hypernaut, swamp thing, taboo

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