The S.R. Bissette Bibliography:
The 20th Century
A Work in Progress
For those who might be interested, I’m building an online, complete bibliography of my own work. This ongoing project will be fully illustrated with rarely-seen art and comics, so there’ll be plenty of eye-candy to entertain, inform, and amuse you.
I’m occasionally asked for a list of my work. Everytime an aspiring cartoonist asks how I got my start in the business, they don’t seem to believe me when I tell them I did work anywhere, for anyone, as long as it meant more work would be published—with or without pay.
[Photo, left: me, circa 1989 or so; photo compliments of Ryan Brown, I think!]
Everytime I see a price guide or online bio, erroneous listings relevant to my own career stick in my craw, particularly when these errors become “fact-by-repetition.” Once in a great while, fans, researchers and students write, call, Facebook, or email, asking for obscure information about my dark, distant past.
My hope is that this bibliography will fill the bill, once and for all. If any of the multitude of online listings and/or price guides give a shit, I hope they’ll incorporate the relevant corrections (Constantine’s first appearance, for instance!) into their own data base.
That said, any and all corrections or revisions to my own bibliography would be greatly appreciated. Though I’ve kept pretty careful records and tried to acquire at least one copy of each published work, there are gaps. Foreign publication of my work is almost impossible for me to track. Though some fans overseas have helped me through the years, any relevant information would be appreciated.
Initial listings detailing my first decade in comics will be listed chronologically. I’ll shift gears once I hit the Swamp Thing years. If it seems worthwhile, one day I’ll publish the end result in standard alphabetized form. For the time being, however, a linear chronology seems useful. The following is somewhat of an autobiography, my life and times as a cartoonist with relevant notations and asides. Special thanks to Rick Veitch and Sam Kujava for their assistance.
1973: 1972 Annual Report of the Village of Waterbury, Vermont (Feb. 1973, Town of Waterbury, VT) art for diagrammatic centerfold for “Zoning Board of Adjustment.”
1975: Two-color poster and program booklet for Spring 1975 dance tour of the Johnson State College Dance Company (Johnson State College, Johnson, VT)
* Abyss (March 1976, Ersatz Publications, printed by Johnson Press, Johnson State College, Johnson, VT) Three-color cover (hand-seps), interior art, strips & stories, 52 pages. My first comic book! Includes “Cries of the Vegetable Kingdom,” “Rudi Dreams,” my first collaborations with writer Steve Perry “Incunabula” and “Not Yeti,” plus collaborations with Jack Venooker, Mark “Sparky” Whitcomb, Steve Perry and David Booz. Financed by Tim “Doc Ersatz” Viereck, who also drew the back cover. Only 200 copies were printed and sold in Northern Vermont. We sent copies to a number of publishers; one reply read, “your comic is aptly named.” A second issue was prepared, but never completed and printed. Abyss and partially-completed pages for an early ink wash version of “Cell Food” (see Dr. Wirtham’s Comix and Stories, Bedlam, and SpiderBaby Comix listings) were the portfolio pieces which got me into the very first class of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in the fall of this same year.
* Spring Silence: An Event/Concert Communication Metaphor (April 1976, Dr. Roger Nelson, Johnson State College, Johnson, VT) Cover, art, collage illustrations, lettering, and production; written by Roger Nelson. This was an odd, illo-and-text crammed 12-page program zine published to accompany Roger Nelson‘s “Spring Silence” event/concert on the Johnson State College campus; my packaging showed the heavy influence Frank Zappa album artist Cal Schenkel had on my pre-Kubert School mind.
* program booklets for two Johnson State College Dance Company performances, “Medium of Exchange” by William Price, and another by Ann King (both April 1976)
* logo for WJSC FM radio station, used in ads and on t-shirts (June-July 1976, Johnson State College)
* The Basement Medicine (June-July 1976, Johnson Press Bureau and Student Association, Johnson State College weekly newspaper) I drew a crude weekly comic page for the Medicine, all of which were co-written with roommate Jack Venooker. The first was a half-pager entitled “Beyond the Toom” (Vol. VII, #1, June 20), followed by the 6-chapter “Jerome Peters and the Snake Women of Kahoutez” (Vol. VII, #2-7, June 25, July 1,8,15,22,28). Chapter one was a half-pager, the rest full pages. This was the first-ever appearance in print of the name “Curtis Slarch,” the fictional sf writer I invented while a student at Harwood Union High School (Duxbury, VT) under the influence of reading Kurt Vonnegut. I later (1980) tried to sell an illustrated faux-historical article about Slarch and his sf novels to Heavy Metal; it was declined.
* Fanzine ’76, Vol. 2, #3 (Dec. 1976) Cover pencilled by Kubert School classmate Larry Nibert and myself, inks by Bissette; two-page story “Virgins,” written by Nibert, pencils by Nibert and Bissette, inks by Nibert.
* Manticore (Dec. 1976/Jan. 1977, The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Inc., Dover, NJ). Designed and inked wraparound cover (pencilled by all students of JK School first-year class), art and story for one-page narrative poem “Dark Time.” Sort of a class yearbook for the first year Kubert students, features early one-pagers by many who went on to become pros (including Rick Veitch, Tom Yeates, Cara Sherman-Tereno, Rick Grimes, Ron Zalme, Ken Feduniewicz, Betsy Ambielli, and others). In 1984,“Dark Time” was relettered and mailed to Craig Yoe for publication in a fanzine Yoe planned, along with another original illustration (which featured a collage element, a metal grill glued over a wash-painting of a warrior’s scarred face); Craig lost the original piece, but thankfully did return “Dark Time.”
* Dr. Wirtham’s Comix & Stories #2 (Jan. 1977, Clifford Neal) art and story for 2-page “Grave Concern.” Underground comix convinced me to pursue cartooning as a lifelong path. By the mid-1970s, the movement was essentially exhausted. This was my first story for the East coast underground comix (such as they were), thanks to Rick Veitch sharing his initial contact with publisher Clifford Neal. What was left of the West coast would never have me, though I’m proud to say that Ron Turner, guru of Last Gasp, looked through my portfolio in 1978 and said with a grin, “Good work, but you know, you are a very sick man.”
* The Soft Touch (Jan. 1977, The Ensemble Studio Theater, New York, NY; Curt Dempster, director) program flyer cover art for this off-Broadway production. The theater was in a rough end of Manhattan, off 9th avenue above 50th street. I spent more in bus fare than the job paid me in the end. After Curt commented on my rather hillbilly attire, I dressed up in a suit and tie to deliver the finished art during a rehearsal. On the way back to the Port Authority after dark, I was rolled, kicked, and spat upon by a gang (who were roughly my own age). I can’t say I was mugged, because they didn’t steal anything—I didn’t have anything to steal. But it scared the living shit out of me. I never dressed up for a trip to the city again in my life, and no one ever bothered me again.
* Morris Sussex Jewish News, Vol. 6, #5 (Feb. 1977) spot illo. of Hitler, for a New Jersey Jewish community newspaper. Kubert School classmate Betty Chavetz got me this gig.
* Morris Sussex Jewish News, Vol. 6, #6 (March 1977) cover art.
* Creation Times (May 1977, New York Creation Comic Art Convention) booklet program, 2 full-page illos. “Tarzan and the Gryf” and “The Soul Eaters!” This is when and where I first met Bob Schreck, who went on to become an editor at Comico, Dark Horse, DC Comics, and found his own comic book company, Oni Press.
* logo for NYC rock band “Savage Pellucidar” (May 1977), used on bumper sticker, card, ads. This was Creation Con partner Adam Malin‘s band at the time. Tom Yeates did a great poster for them, featuring a T. rex Tom cribbed from a photo of Ray Harryhausen‘s Allosaurus, Gwangi.
* Sojourn (June 1977) First in a series of color centerspread narrative posters entitled “Kingdom of the Maggot.” Sojourn was a noble experiment in creator partnership publishing, but it (like my own attempt years later with Taboo) ultimately failed. Joe Kubert concieved, edited, and packaged this oversized anthology, emulating the giant comics page of the Sunday “funny papers” of his own youth (a format that recently enjoyed a revival, from many publishers). Unfortunately, size was Sojourn‘s undoing: distributors balked at the unwieldy tabloid format. His business partner was Ivan Snyder of Superheroes World Enterprises (see catalogue listings below), and Joe gathered the premiere talents of his generation, each doing their own creator-owned serialized narratives: Sergio Aragones (Groo‘s debut!), Lee Elias, John Severin, Doug Wildey, Dick Giordano, and more, including Joe‘s revival of Tor. It was an incredible honor to be hand-picked by Joe to be the sole new talent in the anthology, and I gave it my all. Sadly, Sojourn only lasted two issues. Last I heard, there are still copies being stored in the Kubert School archives.
Above and left: unpublished 1977 illustrations I submitted to Crypt of Horrors for future issues, but which were never published.
* The Journal of Popular Culture (Aug. 1977, Jack Venooker and Walter Bachner, Sante Fe) Four-color cover (hand-seps by Rick Veitch and Bissette), three-page story “Arena,” concept by Jack Venooker. My Johnson State College pal Jack Venooker‘s project, which also featured early art and stories by Joe Coleman, Rick Veitch, Doug Hansen, Rick Grimes, Tom Yeates, Ray Weiland, and others. A second issue was completed, but never published.
* Sgt. Rock #311 (Sept. 1977, cover date Dec., DC Comics Inc.) 5-page story “A Song for Saigon Sally,” story by ‘Val Eads‘ (Archie Goodwin?), art by Bissette and Veitch, lettered by Elaine Heinl. This was our first mainstream comics story, completed under Joe Kubert‘s supervision as part of the Kubert School‘s ‘job’
program (see sidebar, below). Kubert School classmate Elaine Heinl‘s husband Chris, a Vietnam vet, loaned us one of us Vietnam War photo albums for reference, though it barely shows in our crude finished artwork. Still, we gave it our best shot, and it was absolutely the finest we were capable of at the time.
Above: Cover for Sgt. Rock #311, printed splash page, original art scan (page 4; note that pasteups in the first and second panel have long ago dropped off) from “A Song for Saigon Sally,” art by Veitch and Bissette, 1977.
* B&W poster for “Snake Band” (Sept. 1977), for childhood friend and super-fine jazz musician James Harvey, who at that time called himself “Snake.” James had me listening to Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Archie Shepp, and Eric Dolphy and reading LeRoi Jones (who changed his name to Amiri Baraka the very year I first read Dutchman!) before I was a teenager. The least I could do was draw a poster for his band!
Parade of Gore #1 cover art by Bissette, logo by Rick Veitch. Note I was still using my ‘Spider’ signature at this time; I stopped sometime in 1978, after an agorophobic editor reacted viscerally (negatively) to my ‘Spider’ business card.
* Parade of Gore (Oct. 1977, Homespun Productions, Morristown, NJ) B&W cover art. This rag was the Kubert School students’ independent alternative to the previous year’s administration-sanctioned, school-printed publication Manticore (see listing), and the wonderful title reflected our attitude. Second year student Fred Greenberg (good friend and former Great Eastern Conventions mogul, long disappeared and much missed) financed it, and it featured early work by Rick Veitch, John Totleben, Tom Yeates, Tom Mandrake, Jan Duursema, Dave Dorman, Ron Randall, Cara Sherman-Tereno, Rick Grimes, Tom Foxmarnick, Kevin Altieri, and most of the Kubert School brood. We couldn’t sell ‘em to save our lives, and were using the pages as toilet paper when times got real tough (which was often). I completed a cover for #2 featuring Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but a second issue was never printed. Sigh.
* L’il Tiny Comix (Nov. 1977, Green Mountain Productions/ Creative Burnouts) Cover by Bissette, 12-page story “Rivits, The Smelliest Dog on Earth in New York, New York,” by Rick Veitch and Bissette. Hilarious 3″x5″ promotional mini-comic Veitch and I packaged for a friend, co-starring Nazal, the Snortin’ Demon. Don’t ask. This was the only issue of Veitch‘s L’il Tiny Comix to actually be printed; #1 and all subsequent issues were one-of-a-kind hand-drawn originals Veitch usually gave to friends as birthday gifts. Veitch later used the title for a series of dreamlike narrative strips that appeared in Heavy Metal, fascinating precursors to his Roarin’ Rick’s Rarebit Fiends series and Can’t Get No graphic novel.
* Creation Con program schedule booklet (Nov. 1977); many small monster illos.
* Creation Con ‘Souvenir Portfolio’ (Nov. 1977) 1 page “Jip the Frog,” half-page duo-shade dinosaur illo. Above is a photo provided by a fan who owns the original art; sorry for the quality, but it’s all I’ve got left of this!
* Sojourn #2 (Dec. 1977) second full-color “Kingdom of the Maggot” poster. The third poster’s artwork was completed (featuring a cameo appearance by the Mexican movie monster the Brainiac, El Baron del Terror, but Sojourn never saw its third issue.
Sidebar: The Joe Kubert School Daze…
Rick Veitch and I were members of the first graduating class of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Inc. During our two years at the Kubert School, Rick Veitch and I did layouts and pencils on a number of jobs which were often finished (meaning Joe would redraw portions and ink the entire job) by Joe Kubert, packaged under the “Joe Kubert School” credit as part of Joe‘s apprentice/job program. Those I consider significantly my own work, or significant collaborative efforts, are listed in the main body of this chapter. This sidebar is my best attempt at a complete listing of titles, dates, and other specifics concerning these projects.
Autumn/Winter 1976: Rick Veitch, myself, and a couple other classmates worked on an oversized superhero mural for Ivan Snyder‘s first mall location Superhero’s World (later Heroes World) retail store The Superhero Shop. Joe Kubert conceived and pencilled the illustration, supervising our “blow up” of Joe‘s pencil drawing to full size. We then painted the mural, and Joe applied all the finishing touches to bring it up to his high standards.
I’ll soon post images soon of the actual Heroes World catalogs I had a hand in; this was a typical edition of the catalog, published in comics form, cover by Joe Kubert.
January 1977: My first solo participation in a pro Kubert School project was a full-color Howard the Duck illustration for a presentation that was never fully explained to me. I believe it was for Ivan Snyder‘s Superhero Enterprises, Inc., but I’ve no verification in my records of that.
January-March 1977: Veitch, Tom Yeates, Rick Taylor, and myself work on Superhero Enterprises‘ comic book format catalogue, The Superhero Book of Goodies #2 (cover dated April 1977). I worked on pages 12-13, 22, the back cover (inking Joe Kubert’s pencils of Spiderman and Capt. America), finishes on page 5, layouts and pencils on page 9 (finishes by Joe Kubert), completing color guides on these pages and many others. Rick Veitch completed a black-and-white illustration of the mall location mural we’d worked on the fall/winter of 1976.
Cover to one of the Tempo DC Comics paperbacks a number of my Kubert School classmates and I worked on in 1977; details, more than any sane person would care to know, below!
May-June 1977: a number of us worked on four major jobs during this period.
(1) work on layouts and coloring for a giveaway comic, Magazineland USA, published to commemorate World Color Press Day (June 18, 1977); produced by the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, pencils and finishes by Joe Kubert and Rick Veitch. I recall Rick doing a lot of pencil work on this one. At the time, World Color Press printed almost all four-color comic books, and had done so for decades. By the late 1980s, World Color had lost its near-monopoly, closing their doors by 1990.
Above: splash page; below, page 11 of Magazineland USA. I definitely see Rick Veitch’s pencil at work in many of the interior pages, including the one directly below. Rick did far more pencil work on this project than any other Kubert School student, if memory serves; there was a personal connection, too, in that Rick’s father had worked at a Vermont paper plant while Rick was growing up in Bellows Falls, VT.
(2) numerous reformatting and pasteups for Tempo Books (Grosset & Dunlap) DC Comics superhero paperbacks, mercilessly condensing stats of comicbook format pages down to the smaller, differently proportioned paperback format. This involved cutting pages into their component panels, redesigning page layouts and, when necessary, eliminating or redrawing art to fit the new page requirements. Under Joe‘s guidance, we did so paying careful attention to preserving the flow of storytelling (it felt like we were disinterring and robbing graves, while trying to maintain the integrity of the work). I learned a great deal about page and panel design in the process. I do not know the release dates of all the finished paperbacks, but I did work on the following stories, totalling over 150 pages:
Batman (1977), “Ghost of the Killer Skies!” (w/Enemy Ace), “The Riddle-less Robberies of the Riddler!”
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1977; cover, below), “Curse of the Blood-Crystals!,” “The Six-Legged Legionnaire!”
Superman (1978; cover, above): “Superman’s Mermaid Sweetheart!,” “Superman’s Greatest Secret!”
Wonder Woman (1978): “The Talking Tiara!” (featuring a dinosaur, roc, and giant octopus), “The Origin of the Amazon Plane!”
World’s Finest (1978): “The Menace of the Atom Master” (another dinosaur, plus a giant crab—believe me, these little perks made the jobs a little more engaging), “The Day Superman Betrayed Batman.”
(3) A similar production job was completed on another batch of vintage DC superhero stories for the SRA Super BB Reading Kit (Warner Educational Services/Science Research Associates, 1978) a DC Comics / SRA educational venture. I do not know the specific title(s), though I do recall Joe showing us a few of the published stories. They were essentially elementary school reading primers, published as comic booklets packaged within slick illustrated folders and file boxes. The stories had been rewritten and relettered for use in schools, correcting grammar and punctuation for specific age and grade levels. I completed paste-ups, redrawing, and coloring for at least three of the stories, including a Green Lantern story, “The Fury of the Floronic Man!” (the second chapter in a two-part origin story of The Floronic Man, aka Jason Woodrue, who I would later draw for Swamp Thing #21-24; the story was originally published in The Flash #246, January 1977, script by Denny O’Neil, pencils by Dick Dillon, inks by Terry Austin).
Man, this story was seriously whacked! Sample page from the original published version of “The Fury of the Floronic Man.” I worked on a revamped version of this story—so, technically, my first Floronic Man gig for DC, though I didn’t fully draw a single image of the character at this time—for an SRA Reader/DC Comics comicbook project, under Joe Kubert’s supervision; details, above.
(4) Rick Veitch and I lay out the complete comic book Sparky: Learn Not To Burn! (April 1978), a 16 page National Fire Protection Association giveaway comic produced by the Joe Kubert School. Pencils by Veitch, finishes by Joe Kubert.
July 1977-March 1978: Numerous ads for Ivan Snyder‘s Superhero Enterprises, Inc. for publication in all Marvel and DC comics. These are always completed under strict supervision of Joe Kubert.
Aug.-Sept. 1977: layouts, art, paste-ups, finishes, and coloring for The Superhero Catalog, Vol. 1 #5 and 6 (Oct. 1977, both with the same interiors). I worked one way or another on pages 2, 3, 4-5 (Batman), 6, 15, 17-19, 21, 25, 27, 32, 36-40, 41 (Sojourn and Swamp Thing—my first published Swamp Thing art!), 42-43, 47, back cover.
Feb. 1978: Rick Veitch and I layout and pencil the 16 page Super Saver giveaway comic book (March 1978), a Joe Kubert School production for New Jersey Banks, finishes by Joe Kubert.
Jan.-June 1979: Rick and I work at Joe Kubert‘s “Tell-A-Graphics Studio”, a second-story studio on downtown Blackwell Street in Dover, New Jersey. There, we worked on still more ads for Superhero Enterprises, work on various of our Sgt. Rock back-up stories (see listings), and there finish our last catalog for Ivan, The Heroes World Catalog #1 (see listing). Though much of our work was re-used in future catalogs, we were not involved in their production.
A view Rick Veitch and I came to know well, circa 1978-79; Blackwell Street, Dover, NJ; two postcard views from way before our time!
* Fred Greenberg’s Omnibus (March 1978, Fred Greenberg) Digest size fanzine, features full-page ad for Parade of Gore #1 w/Bissette cover, reprints “Tarzan and the Gryf” illo.
* Creation Con program schedule (March 1978) spot illos.
* Creation Times (March 1978) inside front cover illo.
* “Grandpappy of the Nitecrullers” (April 1978, Fred Greenberg) 12″x17″ b&w print.
Note: The cover above is from a later catalog; it’s here as a marker, I’ll replace it as soon as I find a shot of the real catalog, I place it here because it shows Snydey, the green cigar-smoking sidekick, floating upside-down to the left of Snyderman.
* The Superhero Catalogue Vol. 6 (April 1978, Superhero Enterprises, Inc., NJ) Rick Veitch and I worked on many ads and the previous two editions of this comic book format catalogue for Ivan Snyder, owner of Heroes World Enterprises mail order and store franchises (later a distributor, purchased by Marvel Comics in 1994 to become its sole direct market distributor, a historic blunder that deep-sixed Heroes World and did considerable damage to Marvel Comics). For this edition, Rick and I had creative control for the first time within the strictly commercial parameters of the project. I created and drew throughout ‘Snydey,’ sidekick to Snyderman (a superhero created and drawn by Joe Kubert for the catalogues), featured in a half-page “Adventures of Snyderman” strip by Kubert, and in a 12-page (6 double-page spreads) visual narrative in the “Heroes World Library” section. This catalogue was distributed with two different covers.
* The Outer Limits: An Illustrated Review Vol. 2 (May 1978, Ted C. Rypel) Full-page “The Zanti Misfits” scratchboard illo.
* Fred Greenberg’s Omnibus #2 (June 1978, Fred Greenberg) two third-page comic strips, reprints Parade of Gore ad.
* B&W poster and ad art for Bill Kelley‘s independent 16mm short horror film Night Ride (June 1978). To my knowledge, this art was never published. Bill‘s film was completed a year or two earlier, and it’s still a great little slice of nightmare.
* Heavy Metal, Vol. 2, #5 (July 1978, cover date Sept., HM Communications, Inc., New York, NY) “Urban Renewal,” pg. 54. This one-pager was my first sale to John Workman, art director at Heavy Metal, completed and sold before I’d graduated from the Kubert School. John was one of the kindest men I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with or for. When Veitch and I were editing and packaging the six issues of 1963 (Image Comics, 1993), John was one of the first people we contacted to work with us; sadly, he was too busy. Within a year or two of my first published Heavy Metal submission, I steered Rick Veitch, John Totleben, and a few other friends to John, and some of their early work was published in Heavy Metal, too.
* Sgt. Rock #321 (July 1978, cover date Nov., DC Comics) script for 5-page story “Live by the Sword… Die by the Sword!”, art by Tom Yeates. I wrote this specifically for classmate and good friend Tom, my firstever script for another artist.
* Heavy Metal, Vol. 2, #6 (Aug. 1978, cover date Oct., HM Communications) four page story “Curious Thing.” A textless ode to Tex Avery, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. When Joe Kubert saw my finished art, he suggested a vital revision to the final panel of the story. I reworked the art so that John Workman could print it from either my original climactic image, or my reworked art based upon Joe’s suggestion. Joe, as usual, was dead right. For the record, Joe Kubert and Dave Sim were the only two people in comics I ever found to be always right when they gave advice about comics. Always.
* Sgt. Rock #322 (Aug. 1978, cover date Nov., DC Comics) script and art for two-page “Battle Album” spread. “True” animals-in-war atrocities, including killer dolphins, dubiously based upon an article I read in Oui magazine. Only the finest source materials…
* Creation Con Souvenir Portfolio (Aug. 1978) half-page illo.
* Heavy Metal, Vol. 2, #7 (Sept. 1978, cover date Nov., HM Communications) one-page “Surgical Tactics”.
* Sgt. Rock #323 (Sept. 1978, cover date Dec., DC Comics) art for three-page story “Dead Shot,” script by Bob Kanigher. This was my first real research nightmare, scouring the photo files in the New York City Public Library for reference on what rifle scope would have been used by World War I German snipers in the trenches. I ended up having to fake it. The letters Joe showed me from Sgt. Rock readers pointing out my error left an indelible impression. Of course, now you can instantly find the correct photographic research materials online in mere seconds—as I just did. You kids have no idea how fucking easy you’ve got it.
* Weird Worlds (Sept. 1978, Scholastic Magazines, Inc., New York, NY) art for three-page story “The Villagers’ Victory,” script by Jane and Bob Stine. Art was credited to ‘The Joe Kubert School,’ but it’s all my own work (on duo-shade board) under Joe Kubert‘s supervision. This was the first of many short horror comic stories I drew for Scholastic (also see Bananas listings), initially under Joe‘s auspices. I drew all but one of the series (Weird Worlds #4, 1980: “Change Partners and Die With Me!” also credited to the school, drawn by Tim Truman and Joe Kubert). When I graduated from the JK School, Joe very graciously allowed me to take the gig as my own. Scholastic was a joy to work for, and I loved drawing horror tales for junior high audiences (these zines were sold only through Scholastic‘s educational distribution networks). Weird Worlds editors Jane and Bob Stine wrote almost all the silly scripts; ‘Jovial Bob Stine‘ is none other than best-selling juvenile horror author R.L. Stine. Art director Bob Feldgus was, like John Workman at Heavy Metal, one of the finest, kindest, coolest folks I ever had the great pleasure and dumb luck to work with/for—both working for magazines that offered the best terms, best printing, and best paychecks.
* logo and business cards for two-man New Jersey ‘new wave’ band ‘WKGB‘ (Sept. 1978).
* The Unexpected #191 (Feb. 1979, cover date May-June, DC Comics) art for story “The Ouija’s Omen,” script by Carl Wessler. I “cast” my favorite character actor Strother Martin in the role of the haunted sheriff. A welcome critique of my work from old-timer comics vet pro Vincent Fago (who welcomed me to his Bethel, Vermont home for an evening in the autumn of 1978) prompted careful attention to characterization, and this was the first story reflecting that effort. God bless the late, great Vince Fago!
* Weird Worlds #2 (March 1979, Scholastic) 3-page story “Egyptian Graffiti,” script by Jane and Bob Stine. First Scholastic art credit under my own name. Note art assist by John Totleben, who rendered the ornate sarcophagus lid in the splash panel. We’d jammed on many private works, but this was our first published collaborative effort. From this story on, Rick Veitch lettered the Scholastic stories I drew.
* Bananas #27 (March 1979, Scholastic) 3-page story “Attack of the 50-Foot Joggers,” script by Bob Stine. See Weird Worlds listing for background info. This was my one and only full-color story for Scholastic; reprinted in Bananas Yearbook #47 (1981, pp. 46-48).
* Dr. Wirtham’s Comix & Stories #4 (April 1979, Clifford Neal) 9-page story “The Tell-Tale Fart” by Veitch and Bissette (Creative Burnouts). This story was vehemently refused by Eclipse Comics when Rick and I included it with our proposal for a two-issue reprint anthology Bedlam (1985). It was never reprinted, ever. Ain’t that a hoot?
* The Heroes World Catalog #1 (May 1979, Heroes World Enterprises) Rick Veitch and I packaged this for Ivan Snyder and Joe Kubert, mobilizing the Kubert School students willing to work on this warthog. This was, thank God, our last catalogue, and as a matter of principal it featured no new art by Rick or I.
* The Hulk! #16 (May 1979, cover date August, Marvel Comics Group, New York, NY) Magazine format; full-color inside front cover portrait of the Hulk. Editor Rick Marshall loved this piece. A second painting was started, but Marshall was discouraged from accepting any further Hulk portraits from me because my sweaty Jekyll & Hyde version was considered “too extreme” by then-current Marvel management; he called me as I was inking the second commissioned Hulk, and pulled the plug, embarrassed and apologizing. Too bad, it was a pretty cool Hulk portrait (of the Hulk holding a helicoptor upside-down, by the blades, sending the pilot, passenger, and baggage flying). So much for my shot at drawing the Hulk more than one time.
Rick Veitch airbrush added immeasurably to many pages in my first solo Marvel narrative job, “Into the Shop,” adapted from the short story by Ron Goulart, 1979.
* Marvel Preview Featuring Star-Lord #18 (May 1979, Marvel) “Into the Shop,” adapted by Bissette from the Ron Goulart short story, script (over my finished pages) by Ron Goulart; art assist (airbrush) by Rick Veitch, pp. 33-48. My first Marvel narrative job, commissioned by B&W magazine editor Rick Marshall, adapted from Goulart‘s text story (my first “Marvel Method” experience). Upon completion of this story, as I was delivering it to my editor, I was informed that I would not be paid unless I signed Marvel’s then-standard “blanket” work-for-hire contract, claiming ownership not only of this work, but of any and all future work I might complete for Marvel. I was flustered, furious, and on-the-spot; I beat the deadline I’d been given, but had worked for three weeks on the story. Since the rent payment for the house I shared with Veitch, Totleben, and Tom Yeates depended on my recieving this paycheck in timely fashion, or we’d face immediate eviction, I signed—much to my subsequent regret. Let me be blunt: this was signed under duress, and under conditions and terms the real world would consider extortion of the lowest kind in any work place. Let me also state, for the record, I never, ever endorsed a single Marvel or DC Comics check on the end of the check with their fucking contractual statement stamp—I always crossed it out, and endorsed the other end of the check, pointing out why I was doing so to the local bank teller, and they always were fine with this (endorsing a check with a contract made the teller a witness to a contract, legally, which was not their job or position), following advice offered in 1977 by other working professionals. Fuck you, Marvel Comics and Marvel/Disney; if we ever end up in court, you’d better have the actual, real, physical cancelled checks in hand. On a happier note, this story turned out nicely, if I may say so. Veitch‘s elegant airbrush work considerably enhanced the art, and note John Totleben‘s art assist, pencilling the waitress on the story’s second page.
* Future Day by Gene Day (July 1979, Flying Buttress Press) art for back cover strip “What is a Graphic Album?”, script by Terry Nantier. The term “graphic novel” had not yet been coined. Though I contributed, with this, to Terry Nantier‘s first-ever graphic novel, I’ve never had the opportunity to work with Terry or his publishing imprints (Flying Buttress, then NBM) ever again.
* Sunshine (Friday, July 13, 1979, the weekend entertainment section of The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel) cover illustration for article “Behind the Comics Scene” by Bill Kelley, reprints page 1 from “Detour” from Sgt. Rock #346 (story by Kelley, art by Bissette, see listing below).
* Heavy Metal, Vol. 3, #6 (Sept. 1979, cover date Oct., HM Communications) Color contents page illustration for ‘Special H.P. Lovecraft Issue.’
* Sgt. Rock #335 (Sept. 1979, cover dated Dec., DC Comics) 5-page story “The Switch,” script by Bill Kelley, art by Joe Kubert, Rick Veitch, and Bissette. If memory serves, we finished the art on this story over one weekend after the script had unsuccessfully floundered through many other students’ hands.
* Weird Worlds #3 (Oct. 1979, Scholastic) 3-page story “The Return of the Swamp Beast!,” script by Jane and Bob Stine. My first published ‘swamp monster’ effort. I drew my Dad as the sheriff. I also colored the Buck Rogers poster in this issue.
* 1941: The Illustrated Story (Nov. 1979, HM Communications/Pocket Books) art by Veitch and Bissette; 62 page full-color trade paperback graphic novel, adapted by Allan Asherman and Rick Veitch from the screenplay by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. This was our big breakthrough project, a prestigious graphic novel (right on the heels of Heavy Metal‘s successful Alien adaptation by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson, which made the New York Times Paperback Best-Seller list—the first graphic novel to ever do so) from Steven Spielberg‘s new film, published and pumped into book stores everywhere by Pocket Books (“a Simon & Schuster division of Gulf & Western Corporation”). We completed this under a crushing deadline and utterly insane working conditions. We almost killed each other doing it, the movie bombed, and graphic novel stiffed, after which Heavy Metal didn’t even offer it for sale in their back issue ads until Kevin Eastman bought the company in 1991-92. Steven Spielberg loathed it, and wrote Heavy Metal‘s editors a letter saying so in no uncertain terms: our badge of honor!
* Epic Illustrated Sampler (Nov. 1979, Marvel Comics) 16-page color promo folio from Marvel, advertising their upcoming Epic Illustrated magazine, features 1 color page from “Monkey See…” by Bissette & Veitch (from Epic #2, see listing).
* G.I. Combat #218 (Nov. 1979, cover dated Feb.©March 1980, DC Comics) 6-page story “The Short Happy Life of Big Howie,” script by George Kashdan, art by Bissette & Veitch. The most phallocentric of the war stories either Rick or I ever worked on, which is saying a lot given some of the war stories we had a hand in. This one detailed the heroically suicidal love affair between a soldier and his howitzer cannon, “Big Howie.” Hoooooooooo boy.
All work pictured here is posted under fair use laws, for archival and scholarly purposes. All titles, covers, etc. © and TM or ® their respective proprietors; all Bissette artwork and/or text ©their respective years Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved.