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Read A Day's Work,
the first 24-Hour Comic

The First 24-Hour Comic...

...was a scary experience. As far as I knew, no one had ever done anything like it, and as far as I knew, it couldn't be done – least of all by me.

In the summer of 1990, I was the second-slowest artist in comics. The slowest was my pal Steve "Glacier" Bissette, who was producing barely a page a month at the time. But when Steve did a signing at a local comics store, I noticed with awe how fast he sketched for fans. His hands ripped across the page at blinding speed, turning out masterful pen and ink renderings that would make Heinrich Kley weep with envy. I thought: "Why is this guy slow?? I'll bet he could do a full length comic in a day if he wanted to! Why, I'll bet he --"

[Sound F/X: Lightswitch.]

I knew what Steve needed to do.

And I knew that the only way to get him to do it, was if I did one too.

The deal was struck. Steve and I would each do a complete 24-page comic in a day by the end of August. I suggested midnight to midnight, but Steve's semi-nocturnal schedule worked better within the more flexible 24-hour rule so we went with that.

Procrastinator that I was, I finally began my comic on August 31st, at 6am. I had a stack of art books beside me that I'd grabbed the day before at the library in Somerville, Massachusetts. Big photos of Donatello sculptures. Pre-Columbian Masks. Hopper. Some Russian painter I'd never heard of... And a whole bottle of Dr. Pepper.

I vaguely remember Ivy coming and going. I think she was actually rehearsing for something or another with some friends. Or was it a lingerie party? Bad movie night? It's all a blur.

Feeling increasingly alone and silly, I called Steve to see how he was coming along on his comic to discover he couldn't do it that day after all because of family obligations. This made me feel even more alone and silly of course, but I kept going anyway. (Steve would keep his bargain though, completing his far better "A Life in Black and White" on August 36th.)

I finished at about 11:30pm, throwing in a cover so that when Steve did his I could brag that I did one more page than he did. Steve, even though he knew nothing about mine (by mutual agreement), pulled the same trick. Each of us had drawn a complete 25-page, 24-hour comic.

We had no idea what we were starting.