Scott Kurtz is best known for his work on the webcomic PvP, one of the longest running and most successful in the field. PvP started mostly as a strip focused on video games and gaming, but has evolved into a very entertaining situational comedy.
But before PvP (and this book), Kurtz was struggling to find himself as an artist. Engaged but working at a sign company schlepping Plexiglass around, Kurtz was at a crossroads. His friend and fellow cartoonist, Chris Jackson, offered him a deal- rent an apartment with him and create a comic book, with Kurtz as artist and Jackson as co-writer/editor/drill sergeant. Kurtz and Jackson took seven months and created Captain Amazing, and actually got to pitch the book to Larry Marder, then Executive Director of Image Comics. The book didn’t get picked up, but Kurtz stuck at cartooning, and eventually built PvP into a viable platform for his skills.
I’m left with two thoughts:
1. More young cartoonists should try this. Talent alone does not make a successful cartoonist. You need drive and discipline, the ability to force yourself to draw every day even when you don’t feel like it.
2. Why the hell didn’t Image pick this up back then?
This is rather entertaining stuff- most of the jokes work, the linework is smooth, the composition of the panels is strong, and the story is rather cute. Kurtz talks about how he’s a bit ashamed about this stuff, but there’s no need to be. Captain Amazing is a no-power superhero trying to stop a crime spree, win a loser-leave-town competition against his superpowered rival (Strapling Man), keep his kid sidekick out of trouble, and capture the heart of his crush, Rachel Ryan. Anyone who’s ever chuckled over a Silver Age DC comic will enjoy this story.
But even if the story stunk, this book shows how important determination is for a career in comics. Drawing’s easy; drawing day after day after day is hard. Kurtz became a success only after he learned how to put his pencil to paper every day. Here’s hoping this book inspires others to do the same.
Capes don’t guarantee success;
Just draw every day.