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Installment #7

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Copyright 1989 Neil Riehle

Back in the late 80s, when I was making my living doing art on T-shirts and jackets, I liked to read the comic section of the newspaper. My favorite was Calvin and Hobbes. A lot of the strips that I saw in the paper, however, I thought were crap...I was always more interested in the drawings than in the jokes (which usually weren't funny anyway), and most of today's comic strips have abysmal art. With that in mind, I decided that I would try my hand at creating a daily newspaper strip.

I don't remember where I came up with the name BELO ZERO, but it was probably something I had developed before and was waiting for an opportunity to use. I did character sketches and tried to come up with a theme for the strip. Before I actually began doing any work, I did some research. Checking the ARTIST'S MARKET out of the Library, I learned how the syndicates wanted new strips submitted. Most wanted 26 dailies to get a feel for the characters and the strip. That meant I had to do 26 different daily episodes just to get in the door. The book also told me the size I needed to make my strip, which turned out to be 4"x17.75".

It took a while, but I did the required amount of strips and sent copies to a bunch of the different syndicates. I realize now just how bad these things really were, although I'm still quite pleased with the artwork. Every syndicate I contacted rejected my strips, and I don't blame them. They've been sitting in the bottom of a box full of drawings ever since.

Recently, I decided to expose them to the web, mainly because I think I'm a closet masochist. I decided to put one up every month, like a monthly installment. I'm hoping it won't be too long before I start putting up new comics, but for now, as long as I have them, I'm going to inflict BELO ZERO on anyone who happens to cross this way...