Hot off the presses!

Hot off the presses!

There’s something loosely akin to the feelings you have on the day you first hold a new publication of yours and those on the birth of a child. I’m now saying the two events are equal. They can’t be. The gestation period of a child is a mere nine months. Some creative endeavors take much longer than that. Seriously, though, there’s a similar feeling to holding a new book or comic for the first time as there is holding that kid…albeit the kid thing rates several million times the intensity. I know, because by the way things timed out in my life, my son Max was born on April 22, 1996, the same day the first issue shipped of Takion, a cosmic superhero I had created for DC Comics.

Nothing will ever equal the thrill of that day, having that slimy, slippery little bundle arrive in my life (he’s now going on nineteen, a sophomore at SUNY Purchase University in New York and a rising drummer and producer in the East Coast indie rock world). But, there was still room enough in there for a little thrill over Takion, too. It meant enough to me that I took a picture of both my babies in their hospital bassinet.

Takion had taken a little over a year to go from concept to published comic book, beginning as a post-company-wide-Eclipso-saga retooling of the Roger Stern/Tom Lyle Starman series and evolving through about six proposal rewrites into an original creation (thanks, James Robinson!!!!) (kidding…really!) with roots in the Jack Kirby New Gods mythology. Which lasted all of seven issues. (Thanks, Obama!!!) But that’s not the point.

The point is, every new creation is a baby of sorts. And some take longer than others to get born. Like the newly arrived Paul Kupperberg’s Secret Romance #1 from Charlton Neo. The seed for this one was planted in October of 2011, with a conversation with my Life With Archie collaborators, artists Pat and Tim Kennedy during a signing at the Archie Comics booth at the New York Comic Convention. The guys and I were all eager to work together on another project and, with their assurances that they could draw in a straight style as well as the cartoony Archie style, we agreed I’d go off and think of what that project could be.

I didn’t want to compete with the genres already out there, sure as hell not with all the superheroes crowding the comic shops. And, after more than a year at the time writing Life With Archie–an ongoing series featuring mid-twenties Archie and gang involved in very real world situations and problems–I found I really enjoyed being able to write stories where no one flew and no punches that sent an opponent hurtling through brick and concrete were thrown.


I can’t recall the sequence of steps that brought me to the romance genre, but in February of 2012, I had an idea for a story that turned into a six-pager titled “Men Like Henry Bertram.” It was an off-the-beaten-path little story, a poke at the hypocrisy of American sexual politics, told from the POV of a middle aged 1950s married couple. That story was followed by “My Heart Took Wings,” a seemingly more conventional romance story about a woman EMS attendant and a dashing young bush pilot in Alaska that ends very unconventionally…at least compared to the classic love comics of the 1950s through the 1970s. Both stories were more in tune with DC’s Vertigo line than anything that they had ever published in Young Love, more postmodern than Comics Code Authority.

So…love comics. Postmodern love comics. Postmodern Love Stories!

I sent the scripts off to Los Bros Kennedy (followed by a third one, “You Have The Right to Remain Smitten”) and they turned my mess of words into three pretty amazing comic book stories, each one in a different style to fit the tone of the tale. I put these samples, two lettered by another Archie Comics colleague, Jack Morelli, together with a proposal I wrote up and started sending Postmodern Love Stories out to various and sundry publishers. The consensus among those who bothered to respond was that they liked the material, but, alas, “Romance comics don’t sell.” How they could be so sure since no one was then publishing any romance comics was a question left unanswered.

After a while, I had pretty much made the rounds of all the comics publishers and was forced to stick the Postmodern Love Stories proposal and the handful of scripts I had been writing, in the drawer. Maybe one day…

That one day came in 2014 in the form of Charlton Neo Media, the comic book publishing group headed up by Roger McKenzie, Mort Todd, and myself that grew out of a Facebook appreciation page for the old Charlton Comics of Derby, Connecticut. I dusted off the Postmodern Love Stories proposal, sent it to Mort and Roger, and got a thumbs up to do a two-issue miniseries, now re-titled Paul Kupperberg’s Secret Romances.

And now, February 11, my friendly postal carrier just dropped off a box and, at long last, after an almost three and a half year gestation period, I’m finally holding copies of Paul Kupperberg’s Secret Romances #1 in hand. The book’s been available for digital download since the beginning of the month, but it’s not until that box comes and you’re flipping through actual, physical paper that the thing finally becomes a reality.

My baby!

“Happily Ever After” Ain’t What it Used to Be!

SecRom_2-colorBy Paul Kupperberg, Pat and Tim Kennedy, P.D. Angel Gabriele, Daerick Gross Sr.,

Rob Kelly, Jeff Austin, Bob Smith, Jack Morelli, Matt Webb, and Mort Todd.
Cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Click Here to Order Paul Kupperberg’s Secret Romances #1!

Visit the Charlton Neo blog or The Charlton Arrow page to order any Charlton Neo Media or Comicfix publication!

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1 Comment on Love For Sale

  1. Aah, the story behind the story….. You know,a while back, I decided to reboot/revamp/rewhatever a storyline and some characters that had enjoyed a brief shining day in the sun as a webcomic. My art was better, my writing was much better, and so I trudged forward, and self-published on Amazon. I was pretty excited, and I was the only one unfortunately. The only sales have been the ‘free’ kind. But you know what, I don’t regret it, because it’s still my baby, even if everybody else thinks it’s ugly.

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