SCIENCE FICTION FAN ADJUSTS TO THE COMPUTER AGE
At some point in 1999 I joined the dot-com revolution. Which was strange: up until that time I hadn't experienced the unique joys of owning and operating a personal computer.
Ted White, my former editor at HEAVY METAL Magazine, had suggested that I contact his supervisor, Arnie Katz, for a job with an internet site, ChannelSpace Entertainment's Collecting Channel: Ted was managing/editing/writing for two of the Collecting Channels, Comics and Music, and needed help on the writing chores on Comics.
Within 48 hours after being hired I had my first computer up and running. Within 72 hours I had experienced my 19th nervous breakdown --the damned thing kept accusing me of illegal activities!
Now that I'm far more familiar with computer science, I have to laugh --only nineteen nervous breakdowns back then!
(This is as good a place as any to effusively thank two long suffering martyrs who often helped me with my endless computer problems, Jon Singer and Mike Thompson.)
Putting modesty aside, in fact, beating modesty on the head and shoulders with large blunt objects, I think that Ted and Arnie showed brilliant good sense in selecting me to help on the comics material. It's not that I'm a Kingsley Amis or Alexei Panshin when it comes to reviewing, far from it, but I've been interested in the many aspects of cartooning for years, both as a fan and as a pro, and could certainly be expected to draw (ahaha!) on my enthusiasm and experience.
Sooner than expected, as it turned out. Within a week of my being on the job, Ted fell down and broke his hip, putting him out of editorial action for months to come. Suddenly I had to turn out 2200 words a day on my own, with 900 to 1200 words on comics and their creators, the rest on various news items.
It was somewhat frustrating being limited in my word count, limited to a time frame and a set format, but I managed. What was worrisome, though, was the thought that I might eventually run out of material.
I needn't have worried: within eight months of my being hired the dot com bubble burst, taking with it ChannelSpace Entertainment (and a lot of good writers).
By the time that happened I had realized that running
out of material would never happen: the the comics field
was too wide and varied for that to ever be a problem. My regret
is for those articles of mine that will perhaps never be written --articles
on Kurtzman, Krigstein, Eisner, Otomo, Chaykin, Beyond Mars, Johnny
Hazard, King Aroo, the alternatives and undergrounds, and...
[This section is dedicated to the memory of my friend