(D.O.A. #1 cover-- art by Mike Lierly, colors by me.)
To our surprise, the print run sold out by the time issue #2 hit the stands around Thanksgiving 1992. This encouraged us to continue a bi-monthly print schedule as we worked on writing all 50 issues of the series, but naturally by the time #4 hit shelves, we were neck-deep in a number of spin-off title ideas, writing songs for our fledgling band Soophie Nun Squad, laying groundwork on a small record label and punk zine, and figuring out how to make all of these projects work together.
(D.O.A. #2 interior page-- pencils by me, inks by Mike.)
I never looked back from these early efforts, and was just as serious about telling stories and communicating ideas through comics as I am today. I feel so fortunate to have had this kind of tunnel vision since age 11, when Mike Lierly (who had already been working on earlier incarnations of D.O.A. with Nate Wilson and Alan Short) suggested we make comics together as we rode to a week-long summer camp in his parents' minivan.
(Mike and I trying to "go pro", 1991.)
D.O.A. and its spin-off titles, coupled with shop owner Michael Tierney's decade-prior underground comic Wildstars, were part of a small early-mid 90's self-publishing scene in Little Rock. Books by area cartoonists Ron MacAdoo (now of Backyard Entertainment), Jeff Jackson, Chris Raymond, Jason Binfliff, Graham Westerlund, Ben Nichols (now of Lucero fame), and Ken Edge began surfacing as well, all learning from each other as we went, sometimes having never spoken in person about these various comics efforts.
I truly don't know what I would've done if not for the possibilities opened to me through comics storytelling. Thanks to everyone I've collaborated with, everyone who has provided criticism, feedback, and advice over the last two decades, who has written or spoken to me at a convention, and readers willing to put up with my weird-ass stories.
Here's to tunnel vision and dedication.
(Mike Lierly continues his narrative path as a painter, and was also a member of the bands Soophie Nun Squad, Tem Eyos Ki, Boomfancy, Gioteens, Divorce Chord, and Universe. Nathan Wilson is a Bay Area tech wizard who is still cooking up an epic sci-fi/fantasy comic with me, and was a crucial behind-the-scenes force in Soophie Nun Squad. Alan Short is a member of Little Rock area metal bands Holy Angell, Deadbird, Zucura, and Seahag, and was also a member of Soophie Nun Squad and Them Of Delphi. We all remain best friends for life, though our paths cross less frequently.)