About Hepcats

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.
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5 Responses to “About Hepcats”

  1. Michael Says:

    All in all still an amazing run, and we that small but dedicated group of fans await with baited breath and anticipation for more of your works. Keep up the work Martin.

    Respects
    Michael

  2. Alan Wescoat Says:

    I picked up Hepcats #11 around the time it came out. It stands in my mind as one of the greatest single issues of a comic book ever written by anyone. I then faced dismay as the months ticked by waiting for #12, which I bought the day it came out, and later I was thrilled to obtain the Snowblind TPB. I had a feeling that there was something wrong with the Antarctic Press deal and was disappointed though not shocked to see such a brilliant series fade into oblivion. After fourteen years of waiting to see #13, I just checked up on the web to find the happy news that a web comic will begin. Congratulations! Welcome back to the field. Good luck. Once you start posting, I will do my best to promote the series.

  3. Eric Says:

    My signed copy of ‘Yo’ still has a place of honor on my shelf. It’s worn and well-read, because so many people spot it, leaf through it curiously, and say “Wow, what -is- this? This is great!”
    For anybody who missed it, Martin’s ‘Texan’ run was as brilliant as Berke Breathed’s early work, and far more polished. ‘Hepcats’ overall, strip and series, is impressive work, funny, smart, thoughtful, heartfelt and real (sometimes painfully real).
    Martin, whether you feel it anymore or not, whether you finish it or not, this is terrific work and something to be very proud of.


  4. Martin!

    Oh, wow…I’m so late to this party! I found the comicgenesis site a few years ago and never looked further…and here you are. Don’t fade away.

    You have an awesome talent that took me through UT. I’ll never forget my sophomore year seeing the strip when the guys had the 35th Anniversary Playboy – I cut it out and it’s in my scrapbook with that unforgettable face Gunther made. And then there’s the other I cut out with Joey or Arnie in the tutu because of scheduling probs…just my life too!

    PLEASE keep at it! What I’d give for a daily does two decades later!

    Cheers!

    Kristofer
    UT ’87 – ’91

  5. Mitchell Says:

    Hi Martin,
    Imagine my surprise when I did some research on Hepcats and found this blog – I’m hoping this is one way to reach you.
    I just wanted to say I’m a little late coming to the party, having only become aware of “Hepcats” in recent weeks, but I wanted to say thanks for a great read.
    I included one of your issues in a list that I put together over on my own blog; I’d love any feedback you have.
    Thanks again and all the best with your endeavours,
    Mitchell
    http://scrimbrown.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/no-this-list-does-not-involve-paul-giamatti-or-movies-about-drinking-wine/


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