ZONE – The history and mystery
28 years ago an idea that had been simmering on the ol’ backburner came to fruition in one of my sketchbooks.
ZONE, which was first developed as samples for HEAVY METAL magazine, turned into a strip that was self-published as a photocopied zine in 1984.
ZONE next appeared in THREAT! a comic book anthology created by Jim Rohn, Gary Fields, Jay Geldhof, Dave Harrison and myself. There were ten issues published by Fantagraphics Books in 1986 - 1987.
In 1989, ZONE went on to be published by Dark Horse Comics, in five issues of DARK HORSE PRESENTS and as a self-titled one-shot in 1990.
In 1990 there was also another self-published mini-comic, TOXIC THREAT! It featured a six-page ZONE story.
There were ZONE postcards, and hand-made ZONE pins with a googly eye.
And then, ZONE went into hibernation for years. I still drew him in sketchbooks and created new pieces of art but he was absent from public view.
In 1997 I pitched ZONE as an animated series to MTV who were hot to develop animated programming aimed at adults. I got a rejection letter where they mentioned a similarity to another, more famous toxic character (I’ll publish more about this in the future).
More recently, ZONE has been published by Evil Robo Productions in short sequences appearing in ASH-TRAY COMICS issues #1 and #7.
I’ve lived with this character for over 28 years and have a large amount of ZONE material that has never been seen by the general public. What spurred this site was coloring a piece of art and seeing ZONE on the glowing computer screen, it made me think, hmm, that looks pretty cool, maybe I should do some more stuff and publish it myself on line.
We’ll see, but in the mean time there’s this, the history and the mystery.