Ah, Time

RSA0101

Thirty-five years ago the very first issue of Ralph Snart Adventures was released. Two months before that, I had had to change the name from Ralph Snarf to Ralph Snart or risk a lawsuit from Denis Kitchen. Three months before that, I had written and drawn that first issue in a roach-infested studio apartment in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. I was oblivious to the fact that at the time, it was one of the worst neighborhoods in Chicago — a destination for Eastern European transients controlled by a Vietnamese gang whose headquarters was just a half block away.

If I got flashed by a sex worker on my shortcut to the bus stop that would take me West on Devon to Larry's comic book shop, or if I had to walk down to the Thorndale El station because the Granville stop had a dead body on the platform, I thought nothing of it. Just seemed normal to me. Or at least normal RSA0101 for Edgewater. When I drunkenly threw a TV off a fire escape to explode in the alley below, no one batted an eye. Good ol' Edgewater! It was the kind of neighborhood Ralph Snart would have thrived in.

I had never done a comic book before that time. I had done plenty of comic strips, editorial cartoons for my college newspaper, and professionally cartoons for advertising, but I knew nothing about the comic book business. Before all this, I honestly had no idea that comic books were collected or had such throngs of fans or anything about comic conventions. I was totally naive and uneducated about the whole affair.

To do that first issue, I had to figure out a lot of things I knew nothing about. What size should the art be, what style should I draw it, how should I letter it, etc. I had to go out and buy some current comics to see what was being done. A lot of my decisions were wrong, but in the end what I finally handed in to the publisher was good enough for print. It would take me several years to finally put everything together, but by then it was too late; the comics industry would be shrinking and imploding.

When that first issue was printed, it was done the wrong size. A Chicago printer called Sleepeck did the printing, and for some reason had printed it approximately half size — like digest size. The copies were all destroyed, but I saw one of them — cute but ridiculously small. Do over! Aside; I've had a history with printers so, yeah, I wasn't too surprise my initial foray into the comic book industry started out messed up. Luckily it was redone and delivered to the distributors on schedule.

At the time I liked and respected the publisher of NOW Comics, Tony Caputo, and I still do. As long as money, privilege and favors aren't involved, he's a likable, gregarious and very smart man! The first moments, months and years of NOW were exciting and pure chaos as the Black & White Boom came and went. It was a special (and brief) time in the comic book industry, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it, which is cool. Of course, there are regrets but overall it was a magical, fun and creative adventure.

« Return to blog
Marc Hansen
Marc Hansen
Cartoonist and creator of Ralph Snart Adventures, Weird Melvin and Doctor Gorpon. Hansen has done most of his work for NOW Comics, but has also done work for Marvel, Disney and Kitchen Sink Press.

Ralph Snart Adventures was published from 1986-1993 by now defunct NOW Comics, and was the longest running comic in the entire NOW catalog, selling an average of 50,000 copies a month during that nine year period. Over two million comics were published, and it was the first indy comic to receive the Comics Code.

Today, Marc Hansen publishes Ralph Snart Adventures as an ebook on a sporadic basis. Current issues are available on his webstore. Keep up with Ralph Snart on Twitter and Facebook.