|My attempt to orchestrate a Ray-Kid revival...|
When I was a wee nipper, about nine or ten - although I knew of the existence of superheroes and American comics (of the four-colour variety) - my primary source of superheroic hijinks was the British, black-and-white reprint title The Titans.
I don't know whose bright idea it was to print the weekly comic horizontal (rather than the more usual upright approach) and these days I can't imagine what horrors were wrought on the opening splash artwork to squeeze it into that unnatural shape...
However, I was inspired by The Titans to write and draw my own comic (it would be years before an art teacher at The Skinners' School would describe me as "the most artistically inept pupil he had ever taught").
Sadly, the two issues I remember producing have since been condemned to the landfill of history (much to my chagrin).
The stories were primarily me re-purposing established Marvel characters (Thor and The Hulk are the ones I vividly recall on the sketchy cover), but I did create my own character as well: The Ray-Kid.
Clearly inspired by Cyclops of The X-Men, The Ray-Kid wore a protective helmet in his normal life (to control his powers, although I'm not sure how he would have explained it to his family, friends and employers), but when he removed it, his entire head turned into a mass of laser-energy that he was then able to shoot at targets!
Hey, I was 10, give me a break!
When HeroPress originally came into being in the mid-80s (initially as a 'fanzine' to support Steve's Villains & Vigilantes campaign), I attempted a revival of The Ray-Kid in his own comic strip (some of the original artwork you can see at the top of this article... trust me, it doesn't get much better) that would have appeared in the second issue of the 'zine.
Ten years (or more) on from my original attempts, my artistic skills hasn't really improved, and unfortunately (for The Ray-Kid, who now had a civilian identity: Joe Wraye) that second issue never saw print.
Steve gave the magazine a facelift and artistic overhaul to act as the newsletter for his new campaign... and the rest is history!