"Dream Walker" (16 pages) /"The Slayer" (8 pages)
W. A. Blyberg
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| November 26, 2003 | Black Interview at SBC
Bill Black: Paint It Black!
By Rik Offenberger
Bill Black is one of the unsung heroes of the independent publishing
business. A stalwart of the shelves, Black has built up a following that
has outlasted most of his contemporaries. In this mammoth interview we
trace the length and breadth of Black’s career, from his beginnings at
Warren Publishing and with his own Paragon Publications, to a discussion
of the Direct Market from a unique perspective, through to details on
the upcoming Femforce Relaunch!
RO: AC [AMERICOMICS] started with some pretty
impressive talent and discovered even more. With artists like Dave
Dorman, Dave Robertson, Dick Ayers, Doug Hazelwood, Erik Larsen, George
Perez, Greg Horn, Jerry Ordway, Pat Broderick, Paul Gulacy, Paul Ryan,
Steve Lightle, Tim Townsend, Tom Lyle, Willie Blyberg, and Wm. Michael
Kaluta, why hasn’t AC found mainstream acceptance?
Remember Deluxe Comics? No? Few do. They had the top artists... Perez,
Ordway... many more who were top dogs in 1983-84. Top notch quality
printing and production. Bankrupt. This happened again and again. AC
Comics is the ONLY one of the original Independent publishers who
started this whole system that is still in business. I'd like to think
that I have learned from my own mistakes and the mistakes of others. To
me, it is sheer folly to try to be the "biggest and the best" (like
CrossGen tried to do and failed in current times). I love creating
comics. I thought, "Wouldn't it be wonderful to make a living creating
comics? I love to draw. Writing comes easy to me. I have and endless
supply of ideas." I never thought, "Hey, I'm better than Stan Lee and
Jack Kirby! I can do comics better than Marvel! Paragon is better than
Batman! I'll show 'em!" I love the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Marvel comics. I
understand how they were done the way they were and WHY they were done
the way they were. No, my goal was to make a decent living in comics....
to support my family in a comfortable manner. At that I have succeeded.
I have no desire to be "popular." It seems that to become "popular" is a
quick route to obscurity. I have always tried to approach publishing
realistically without absurd expectations. My goal now, after 20+ years
at AC, is survival. I've seen so many comics publishers come and go!
Hundreds! Do you realize that there are today (in 2003) over 400 comic
book publishers? When AC started there were less than a dozen.