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My Tale

When I was very young, I believed in lots of things. I believed that at any moment, someone was going to peel away reality and tell me that my life had been an elaborate stage play. I believed Darth Vader was going to sneak into my room late at night and strangle me. And I believed there was a mystical world waiting for me underground.

Well, the stage play thing never materialized. As for Darth Vader, I put a poster of him up in my bedroom so that he could see I was a fan, and it must have worked because he left me alone.

As for the underground... Tenth grade. Algebra II, first period. Bill Henderson, the first person I knew who took acid and didn't turn into Sonny Bono, showed me a crudely produced Xeroxed pamphlet. It was titled Blood Bath, and I was hooked on zines.

I didn't know that's what they were called, of course. And I didn't know if Blood Bath was the only one in existence, or what. But I started drawing and cartooning and writing crappy little essays I thought were clever.

I envisioned a publication called The Subway (it's underground, get it? Jeez, was I pathetic.) that would blow the lid off the heartlessness and hypocrisy of High School, USA. It would at once be scathing and light-hearted, never taking itself too seriously but never pulling any punches, either. I actually produced some stuff for it, as did several friends of mine. We even got an anonymous submission from a teacher (there's a reason it was anonymous... too vulgar even to describe here, but bitingly funny.) I suppose it's ironic that The Subway never saw the light of day.

I did eventually produce some mini-comix in college. I was inspired by Matt Groening's first book, Love is Hell. I laughed so hard reading that silly cartoon book that I couldn't stand up. I was on the floor of Waldenbooks with tears streaming down my face, laffing that laugh where there's no sound. Just shaking and tears. So there's that.

I finally produced a zine. Three issues, in fact. That dried up a couple years ago, but not forever. Issue number four is currently in production.

--Houston Wells

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