Without ever going through the conscious decision of collecting them, I acquired about half of my comics one way or another. I can’t say I liked many of these comics that fell on my lap. If I ever got rid some of this variety of comic book, regret rarely followed. The Reign of the Dragon Lord #1 was a comic that I bought with a clutch of other throw-aways. I had never heard of it before I found it in a bargain bin at a tiny comic convention (or maybe it was a book fair). But Dragon Lord stood out from the others as soon as I went past the cover and took a look inside. It was B&W and done in an array of crosshatching uncommon in comics, immediately raising an affinity within me as it connected with my own comic book ideas. The story was of a different turn while paralleling general fantasy themes I was addressing in my own work. Whenever I recalled that one well-done unknown, it was with some sense of respect. Because of this, I never would have gotten rid of it, and it disturbed me to find out it was missing when I was going through my collection a couple of years back.
Who knows what happened to it? I may have lent it to a friend, or I could have mistakenly included it with the thousand or so comics I sold to partially finance my educational plans (with money I never received). All I know is that I wouldn’t have gotten rid of it. Soon after the discovery, I found it online and bought it along with the second issue. I got comfortable a couple days after Christmas and read them together, taking joy in how it all came together and finding the effort commendable, albeit not without flaws. It was the kind of thing that could be labeled a labor of love, far more interesting to me than a perfectly-crafted comic that had no soul beyond the drive of a corporate outlook. I looked online for more, but I found that Eternity Comics, the publisher, had cancelled the title before the third issue came out. It was a story that had no ending though there was apparently one that was intended for it.
When I looked into it further, I came across a novel with the same title, and looking even further found the novelist was the same person as the one who had done the script all those years ago. This novel had come out within recent years, and it seemed to take the same premise as the comic book. If it was the same story, it at least brought the story to some form of resolution, even if it were missing the essential aspect that brought the experience home for me: the art.
The author had a website, and I sent him a message through it, telling him about my story with the long-lost comic and how much I thought it was special – like nothing I had seen before in comics. I asked him if he ever finished the story, impllying to mean as a comic book. If I remember this correctly, this was December 31st. When he responded, it was just three hours before New Year’s (on the West Coast). After expressing his appreciation of my comments, he told me that he had recently written a novel that finalized the story he had in mind all those years back. Then he added that my comment had come at just the right time; he had had a terrible year and at least he was able to finish it on a good note with the warm thoughts of an old fan. He told me to check out the novel, that I wouldn’t be disappointed. I wrote back telling him I would, even though I knew I didn’t mean it. Somehow, as I thought of it then (and as I still think of it now), it wouldn’t have been the same.
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