|Promotional art||First Issue Cover|
Since comics can be a collaborative artform, and I'm only handling the illustration chores on this project, I think a bit of background from series writer Ron Fortier is in order here:
WHO IS CAPT.HAZZARD?
Perhaps the two greatest character heroes to come out of the pulps were the Shadow and Doc Savage; the respective Batman and Superman of their depression-era day.
Whereas the Shadow's popularity spawned a myriad of copycat heroes from various rival publication houses, the Man of Bronze only generated a handful of imitators. The most familiar being the Captain Future series and the Avenger books. Like Doc, each dealt with a scientist/adventurer as the central figure aided by a colorful group of skilled assistants.
Another of these Doc rip-offs was the single magazine feature, CAPTAIN HAZZARD by Chester Hawks. It is a fast adventure with many flaws, chief of them being the writer actually changed the names of several of his characters from one chapter to the next causing the reader no end of confusion in trying to keep the figures straight as the action moves along at its breakneck speed. Sadly, for whatever reason, there was only one issue of this lively pulp ever done; PYTHON MEN OF THE LOST CITY. Why the series, which was packed with potential, never continued is a mystery no pulp historian has ever solved.
In 1974, writer/pulp historian Robert Weinberg began publishing a series of cheap pulp reprints. These were exact copies of the original magazines and made available at reasonable prices to the fans who might not be able to ante up the sums these collectible books demand among dealers. Among this set of reprinted volumes was CAPTAIN HAZZARD and I was one of Bob's lucky customers.
I loved the character and the book the first time I read it and made a promise to myself that some day I would do something with it. Jump ahead to the mid-8Os and my career as a comic writer is going very well. Enough so that I am writing the GREEN HORNET series for Now Comics and involved with half dozen other concepts. Of the latter was my association with Alpha Comics out of Maine. While working for Alpha, both as a writer and editor, I proposed the idea of adapting the CAPTAIN HAZZARD novel into a comic mini-series upon which Len Gronros, then publisher of Alpha, bought the idea.
My luck continued when my good friend, and fellow writer/editor, Chris Mills, asked to join me in the project. I had lent Chris a copy of the reprint issue and he had fallen under it's spell as I had originally. With a writing team in place, all that remained was to find the art team.
Again luck came knocking on the door with Ken Penders. Ken and I had met at a local con months before and hit if off. Having lots of things in common, from our addiction to science fiction movies, James Bond etc. we quickly became good friends. Enough so that I desperately wanted to work with Ken on something and immediately realized Cap was the perfect venue to show off his tremendous talent.
Happily Ken agreed and started hammering out issue #1 for us. By then, Gary Kato, my oldest buddy in this crazy business, was enlisted to ink and letter Ken's pencil art. As the months rolled along issue #1 was finished and the Ken starting whipping out #2. We sent out advanced copies to pulp fans the reactions were as expected. They wanted this book bad!
Alas, it our run of luck finally soured as the comic recession hit and Alpha had to close up shop for good. Leaving us where? With two issues of Cap done and one left to go. Ken promised to wrap it up, but his paying jobs continued to grow with his own industry successes and old Cap just had to get shoved into the closet. Frustrating to say the least.
So here we are, years and years later and half of issue #3 is pencilled. No fooling! They are now in Gary's capable hands. I am actually beginning to think we may see it finished at long last. Being able to preview it here is also a big plus in that Ken get some feedback and hopefully created some additional interest in the fans.
How much longer do we have to wait? Well, that's up to you and Ken. If you want to see this book finished and published, then tell us. Now. The louder you speak, the better our chances of attracting a publisher.
For the moment, this page is here to display samples of art already completed. Over the coming weeks and months, you'll be presented with more details concerning the characters and stories that will take place during the course of the series.
|ISSUE 1, PAGE 1||ISSUE 1, PAGE 11||ISSUE 2, PAGE 15|
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