The fateful day occurred in April of 1976. I was ten years old and had been reading comics in the newspaper and in paperback compilations of Beetle Bailey and Family Circus for a few years. This allowed me to understand the iconography of comics; the panels, the word balloons, the imagined action between panels. I was hooked and soon started reading monthly issues of Richie Rich and Archie from the local 7-11. I noticed superhero books on the old spinner rack but was never interested in them until I spotted the cover on the now infamous Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes issue #216. The infamous introduction of Tyroc. I was thrilled to see a face that looked like mine standing on the cover shaking his fist at Superboy and the other Legionnaires. I was aware of Superman and Batman from their respective TV shows from the 50’s and 60’s, so I understood who Superboy was, but seeing that Fred Willamson’s inspired profile changed everything. I started collecting all sorts of comics after that.
Sometime that following summer I decided to create my own characters and super teams. The first was a Black Superman with the childlike name, Supergreen. He and his companions were in a group by the name of The Afenders, a combination of the Defenders, The Avengers and The Legion. I wrote and drew their adventures throughout Middle School culminating in having my first “professional” gig as I created, wrote and drew a comic for the school newspaper named SuperCowboy. Although, I would occasionally draw one of my characters and still collected comics, High School and my normal infatuation with girls got me away from drawing The Afenders like I had earlier. After graduation, I contemplated art school even going to visit Joe Kubert’s in New Jersey. But after seeing other students’ art, my confidence shook, I realized that I’m just not a good enough artist to make it. I went to Film School instead and started a career as a Director of Photography shooting everything from music videos to independent feature films. I moved to Los Angeles to work in the industry. After a few years, I was restless and couldn’t quite find my footing, that was when I was introduced to a book, Creating a Life Worth Living. It helped focus me on what I wanted to do creatively with my life. It was then that I decided to publish my own comic. It was the late 90’s.
Although only a little over a decade ago, the Internet wasn’t what it is today. I set out to find information on writing a comic book, it was a task. After much research, I found several templates and samples posted, what I learned is that a comic script can look almost like anything from panel to panel descriptions for tight control as a writer to plot summary page style which allows more input from the artist. So I sat down to create my story and characters. After fooling around with several ideas, I came back to my childhood creations. In them I already had a created universe, it just needed an adult update on its rather crude ideas. So Supergreen became Francisco the Supergreen a disgruntled ex-superhero on a galactic quest to find the missing king of Omega. Muscle Girl became MG, a comrade of Supergreen’s in the now named supergroup Force Galaxia. My intentions were to create a Heavy Metal style magazine but set within one universe, so that every issue of Force Galaxia would contain several different stories, that were tangentially related. The next task was finding an artist. After scouring the web, I discovered DigitalWebbing.com, a place where I could post an ad for artists. Upon posting, solicitations pored in. From everywhere in the world. It was amazing to me. Some samples came as attachments to email, though most came through snail mail, it being the late 90’s. I settled on two artists, from Venezuela and Mexico respectively to bring to life Omegan Chronicles and Sisters of Power in Force Galaxia. Then I met a talented artist here in Los Angeles by the name of Mike Werner, he inspired me to add a third tale, Supergreen 14, to the book. Because I was financing the entire enterprise myself by working as a camera operator and with credit cards, it took a few years to complete the entire 64 page first issue.
Now that I had all of the components in place I still didn’t have the knowledge about printing and promotion. Like every year, I traveled to San Diego Comic Con in 2005, though this year was different as I was on the search for information about independent publishing. Miraculously, I came across Robert Roach and Dale Wilson of The Antidote Trust in artist alley. I had met Robert on the website Blacksuperhero.com, but never in person. They invited me into their new collective and gave me invaluable insight into how to publish. I met my printer through associates in The Antidote Trust. I decided to go with traditional printing because at the time digital printing wasn’t up to the standards I demanded. By the spring of 2006, I was ready to go. I had the Force Galaxia website up and running, I had cards and posters printed and most importantly I had the first issue in my hands. Force Galaxia #1 debuted at the now defunct Wizard World Los Angeles. Finally I had completed the first step in my journey of publishing Force Galaxia and the circle was complete from those childhood days of The Afenders.
Andre Owens continues to publish Force Galaxia.