Sunday, January 2, 2011

Set the Way-Back Machine

This is the first completed piece of ZONE art. There may have been some sketches but I'll have to do some searching.

ZONE was initially created while I was taking classes at The Cleveland Institute of Art. I imagined a post-apocalyptic world known as The Dust. I wrote a short poem.

He of the dust,
the dust the mighty
and always night.

He of the dust,
the dust the mighty
and always Zone.

I did a few sketches and then put the idea on the back burner for a few years, always trying to solidify a story about beings that moved about the dust blindly in some sort of containment suits.

ZONE fermented in my head until 1983 when I thought I might try and create a strip for HEAVY-METAL magazine. This is what I came up with - the early eighties were a time filled with punk and nu-wave music and the anxiety of Ronald Regan's nuclear diplomacy. I had moved to New Jersey to attend The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, my world was being informed by the music of WFMU and WLIR, forays into New York City, the toxic effects of chemicals on the environment and the influence of European cartoonists whose work was becoming more available with the advent of the direct sales market for comics.

In this early ZONE strip I imagined him with a vibro-sword and a can of spray paint. Here was the new man, ready for the new world of toxic chemicals and uncertainty.

This second strip was done some time later, I cleaned up the drawing and removed the Z 1 from his chest.

By the way, Z - One was part of my initial idea, the Dust was divided into quadrants know as zones. Zone was a being from area Z - One.

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