A long time ago, I started reading comic books. I was a kid, and my mom worked in a small office (she was a secretary) that was just across the street from our apartment– serious good luck on her part. The guy she worked for did a lot of traveling, and to this day I have no idea what he did, I just know he was rarely there and my mom was usually the only person in the small office. He would phone in what he needed and my mom would work & answer the phone.
That meant that in the summer, when I was just a kid and school was out, I went to the office with her and I could draw or make paper planes or do whatever I wanted (within reason). My mom found that she could give me some pocket change and send me to the 7-11 store next to us and I could get a few comic books. At first I got “mom-approved” stuff like Casper the Friendly Ghost and Ritchie Rich, but one day I got a copy of something called “G.I. Combat”, and in its pages was a feature called “The Haunted Tank”.
The Haunted Tank was just that: a tank that was haunted. The ghost was General J.E.B Stuart, a Confederate general from the US Civil War. He was chosen as the “ghostly guardian” of the tank because the tank was originally a M3 Stuart light tank, and the commander’s name was “Lieutenant Jeb Stuart” and supposedly (unknown to him) a distant relation of the Confederate general. What exactly the “ghostly guardian” guarded against was unclear since no one could see him except for the modern Jeb Stuart, and he couldn’t stop bullets or anything but he could sometimes give cryptic warnings about dangers up ahead for the crew.
I really enjoyed that story even though I knew how silly it was; it was far more interesting than the kiddie fare I had been reading before and got my imagination going. I wanted to do something to pay homage to that and so I decided to introduce “The Haunted MRAP” (MRAP: “Mine-Resistant/Ambush Protected” vehicle) and have some fun with it. The original comic was a DC title and ran for years and is now regarded as something of a cult classic in a lot of comic circles, especially among military/war comics fans.
In the real world: I’d like to thank everyone for standing by me during these hard times. I alternate between days when I feel great and have everything under control and have dealt with my loss, and then an hour later I feel like I am staring at a dark pit in my heart. I had this comic ready to go and another mostly done, so I wanted to put these out today and the next one on Monday. I will probably do a Monday-only schedule for a couple of weeks as I ease back into regular posting. On one hand I like having something to focus on, but there are still a few days I just don’t have the energy. I have yet to get her ashes back and we are picking places to spread them– favorite spots we used to hike and had good times together.
This month, on the 24th and 25th, I will be at the Boise Comics Arts Festival so if you’re in the Boise area, stop by my table and say hello. I have a number of Patreon characters making debuts in September, and that is also something I look forward to. Speaking of Patreon, I’ll be contacting some of my subscribers there to get addresses to send book copies. Book Two is also in the beginning phases of being put together.
It’s been a very difficult few weeks, but your support helps and means a lot to me.