01 May 1985

My Life in Pictures Part Twenty: Steve Cobra, Private Eye

In the mid-eighties, while working at the design firm, I hit a long dry patch with regards to art. I would get an assignment to draw a picture once in while at work, but it was quite infrequent. I tried a little bit of painting at home, reworking old canvases left over from art school, working at what I considered 'fine art' - semi-abstract nudes, experimental uses of mixed media -- all quite a mess really, but I kept it all in a spare room or closet. My lost ambitions gathering dust and a constant nagging reminder to what I once aspired to.


The idea of working as a comic book artist still nagged as well. I proposed the idea of writing a self published comic book with my brother as a long distance project (he was still living in California at this time). It was about a freelance private investigator with a short violent temper who shares an apartment with a mysterious creature called 'the moose' (basically a guy with a big moose head), and looks into the kidnapping and disappearance of a teen heavy metal fan, eventually uncovering a communist plot to insert mind altering drugs into soft drinks and create an army of young thrash metal punks. It was pretty amateurish moronic stuff in retrospect, and it never did end up being published, but we managed to put together three issues before the enthusiasm petered out. I enlisted the help of an artist friend next door to do the lettering, and my brother did the writing, with me doing the pencils and inks. We had a strange procedure for putting it together. We would briefly talk over the basic 'plot' story arc, and then I would come up with a completely wordless sequence of layouts and pencils, after which my brother would fill in word balloons and dialog (all through the mail). None of the pages survive from this project, and it is just as well. I remember it being a lot of fun to work on, and it gave me some valuable illustration practice when it was very hard to come by on a daily basis.

The sketch above was a fairly recent doodle of a 'Steve Cobra' splash page, probably circa 2007-08.