Amateur publications were a major creative outlet for me between 1984 and 1997. These ranged from the conventional format to APAs. Don't knock the amateur press. It's where artists and writers hone their skills. It's also where professional artists and writers can kick back and do what they want (to the delight or chagrin of others). Outputting a barrage of parodies during the first half of the 90's allowed me to fine tune my embellishment techniques enough to land an assortment of assignment with various comic book publishers.

I became a writer by default, when procrastinating contributors of my Zine in the mid-1980s required me to fill the gaps under a pseudonym. Before then, I was very bad with words, and relied on my art to communicate with precision.

The APA - or Amateur Press Alliance - has been around since the late 19th century. Its format is distinguished by the fact that each participant is responsible for printing up their contribution. Everyone's zine copies are sent to an elected Central Mailer who collates them into volumes and sents the compilations back to the membership. There are APAs geared toward a variety of subjects. My focus of course was on comic book related APAs, often drawing a comic parody to include with written reviews.

My first APA membership was with something called "Thwack!" which came and went fairly quickly. Marvel Zombie Society (MZS) and Capa Alpha (K-a) were pursued contiguously. K-a is reputed for being the oldest comic book APA. It spawned several industry professionals, and boasts of several in its membership to this day. (psst: it's all overrated)

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