It doesn’t matter if it’s a car, girlfriend or boyfriend, or superhero you create, you never forget your first. When your first superhero makes his debut in your first published comics work, though, that’s really special, and, thanks to Caliber Comics, I’m getting to relive that experience because they have made the adventures of my first superhero available in their own solo package for the first time in Vanguard: Genesis!
Vampire? Superhero? Both? Or something worse? Lee Cowan is your average high schooler until he is murdered then resurrected with terrifying powers and a terrible, uncertain destiny.
Now you’ve probably never heard of Vanguard, but you’ve definitely heard of the artists I was blessed to collaborate with on these adventures, starting with Vanguard’s origin story “Genesis.” Published in 1981 in Quazar #1, “Genesis” featured art and letters by Dan Jurgens.
Dan and I completed the next Vanguard adventure, “Paragon,” in 1982, but plans for Quazar #2 fell through and “Paragon” went unpublished until 1997, when Sundragon Comics included it and “Genesis” in its impressive anthology series Scales of the Dragon.
Because Dan and I were raw talents when we worked on Vanguard, Sundragon correctly decided the stories needed polishing. So I re-scripted the stories while S. Clarke Hawbaker (Nomad, Starslayer) and Christopher Jones (Dr. Who, Young Justice) re-pencilled “Genesis” and “Paragon” using Dan’s art as layouts. After that Clarke and C.P. Smith (TAP, OZ) inked “Genesis,” C.P. inked “Paragon,” and JEO*Graphics lettered both stories. These reworked stories appear in Vanguard: Genesis, along with an art gallery of Vanguard art through the years and an afterword by me.
To say I’m excited to finally see these stories in their own publication is an understatement. If you enjoy old school superhero tales with a supernatural bent … something like a cross between the original Morbius the Living Vampire and Omega the Unknown … this one is for you.