Hepcats was begun as a daily strip in The Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin, in the summer of 1987. In 1989, creator Martin Wagner (dat’s me!) launched Hepcats as a self-published comic under the Double Diamond Press imprint. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and the pressures of trying to be both artist and businessman ultimately torpedoed the series after 12 hard-fought issues, despite the fact the series had a lot of respect from both readers and the comics press, even resulting in a Comics Buyers Guide cover and write-ups in Wizard toward the end.
An attempted relaunch by Antarctic Press never got off the ground, mainly due to my own disarray. I had simply burned out. And the result of that was deeply unfair to Antarctic, a wonderful company full of terrific people whom I feel I treated very shabbily. Today, a small but loyal cult still remembers the book fondly, and has built a surprisingly strong membership on a Yahoo group. In fact, it was one of them who suggested WordPress as a means of fulfilling my plans to make the remainder of the unfinished Snowblind graphic novel available as a webcomic. The experiment begins in 2008….
Hepcats publishing history:
- 1988: Yo: The First Hepcats Book. First self-published effort while I was still a student, collecting about half the run of the daily strips. Hyper-rare today. I don’t even know where mine are.
- 1989-1994: 12 issues of the Hepcats comic book under the Double Diamond moniker. Series never really made a significant impact until release of #11, which can best be described by the brilliant one-sentence synopsis from the Hero Illustrated review: “Erica has a very bad day.”
- 1993: The Collegiate Hepcats collection from Double Diamond, in both hardcover and trade paperback. Complete run of the daily strip, plus issue #1 of the comic and selected strips from Shasta Says, an earlier strip I produced at the University of Houston.
- 1995: Snowblind, Part One collection from Double Diamond, comprising issues #3-10. As of this writing two dozen copies of the hardcover still in stock.
- 1996-1998: Attempted relaunch through Antarctic Press reissued original 12 issues plus one new issue, the full color #0, which I was never satisfied with. (Though I enjoyed assembling the limited edition “soundtrack” CD!) In what must go down in my personal history as Shittiest Thing I’ve Ever Done in My Life, I walked without turning in the long-awaited issue #13.