Big Hit Comics (no relation to the South Korean company, Big Hit Entertainment) is just me, Mike Jones Jr., doing my comics thing. I'm one guy, with very few collaborators, hoping to get his work out there and find his audience. You can find out all you want to know about both Star Quack and Omni-Men at their respective websites. This is a more general and more personal “About” page.
I've been a graphic designer and illustrator throughout my professional life, morphing into a college professor, and only recently transforming into an early-retiree in order to produce comics full-time. Graphic Design was always a compromise I chose because I couldn't see a career path toward making funny pictures for a living, yet it was a profession which I was actually able to master over the years. You can check out my design projects at mikejonesjr.net. Design has enabled me to learn software and aesthetic skills I would not have focused on in a career as a cartoonist. It may have been a decades-long detour, but I am now capable of writing a comic, drawing it, digitally inking and coloring it, designing logos and layouts for it, and doing all the pre-press work so that I can just directly hand it all to the printer. I'm as independent as I can be, which makes for low-overhead and lots of artistic satisfaction. It also, however, makes for slow project completions!
For those interested in the historical path I took, it began, of course, with crayons (see my blog). Then in elementary school I began doing political cartoons of Richard Nixon (yes, I'm that old). Then school newspaper cartoons and yearbooks. Finally in college at East Tennessee State University I co-created, with my English-major roommate (and now college professor) Alan Davy, my first regular feature for public consumption, The Dorm Troopers, enforcers of dormitory regulations. You did NOT want to get on their bad side! After Alan graduated I still had a year left and did a humor strip called Buc Country (we were the Buccaneers), inspired by Bloom County and Peanuts both.
After college I worked at Glider Rider Magazine in Chattanooga doing mostly graphics, but also wheedling my way into some of their illustration assignments. A two-year missionary stint in Ivory Coast, West Africa followed, in which I did both graphics and illustrations for Bible Study materials. Upon my return to the U.S., I enrolled in Louisiana Tech University's MFA program, still in graphic design, but also producing comics whenever I could. Not only was Star Quack birthed there, but I produced the strip Bea Bayou for North Central Louisiana Style Magazine, as well as my first attempt at a superhero comic book, The Locust. It was done as part of my MFA thesis on Visual Storytelling, and you can see I was trying on Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's approach for size.
After graduation, a "real" assignment followed, which was a biography of Muhammad Ali for All Pro Sports Comics. Unfortunately I severely miscalculated the time it would take me to complete the book, and the company folded before I could finish it (but I did anyway).
While toiling as a graphic design professor in the years that followed, Alan Davy and I decided to "get the band back together" and try a syndicated comic strip submission called Sue Nami, featuring a girl who was a pure force of nature. We placed in an Andrews McMeel Syndicate contest, but got no further with our submissions. Coupled with the Star Quack experience, I seemed quite capable of winning contests, but not getting picked up by a publisher.
And don’t get me started on Lost in Space! I’ve been trying to get a gig with Will Robinson and crew since 1991, with no luck. Innovation comics gave me a 3-page tryout script, but never responded to my submission. I later saw that they had decided to go with a painted style, but that their monster looked a great deal like mine! In 2015 another close brush came when the Famous Monsters of Filmland people were going to do an LIS mini-series. They seemed enraptured by my older Innovation samples, even calling me on the phone to praise my efforts, but after I submitted new pages, their interest fell flat. I never understood the dramatic shift, particularly when I saw the art from the first artist they ended up using (before Val Mayerik, who did a great job). Sigh...
But there have been some successes! Also in 2015, I got a gig redesigning display graphics for the Red River Valley Museum in Vernon, Texas. And somehow (I'm still not sure how) I convinced them that they needed a comic book of their stories to sell in their gift shop! You can see selected pages here. In addition, Alterna Press will be publishing one of my Omni-Men stories in the 15th issue of their anthology title, It Came Out On A Wednesday, (Icarus), and I hope to get them to run more. As far as self-publishing printed works, my plan is to finish the first Omni-Men mini-series (#0.1- 0.6) and then look at the practicality of releasing single floppies first, or just going straight to trade. The whole Diamond distribution route doesn’t seem as simple as it used to be (thanks to COVID and social media), so all that remains to be seen. First, I have a lot of work to get done!
Star Quack? I have one more story I MUST do, (Bird Seed, in which the Enterfowl discovers a cryogenic sleeper ship from the 1990’s, the S.S. Bobbity Boo). At that point, I would have 100 pages, plenty for a trade paperback. The only problem is fitting it into my schedule! One solution to that might be going the 3D illustration route, but first I have to learn Blender. I’ve used Lightwave 3D until now, but am starting to see the benefit of switching. But after the significant amount of model-making and rigging on the front end, the stories should be easy! Right....?
And I’ve got lots more that I want to do, including children’s books about dinosaurs and my own serious sci-fi comic book concept. Can I get it all done? Of course not! But hopefully you will be excited to see just how much of it all eventually comes to fruition! Let me know what you think of the work so far and stay tuned!
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