Friday, May 11, 2012

Machine-guns go BUDDA-BUDDA

The entire run of "the Minute Men" monthly comic book
by David Hudnut & Al Cisneros

When my dad died, I discovered a rare treasure underneath his old work briefcase. It had sat there, untouched, for nearly thirty years. The entire run of original artwork for the comic book I created with my pal Al Cisneros when we were kids.

circa 1985

the Minute Men #1, Cover & page 1
It wasn't much: five pages. But it was pure gold. And boy, did it bring back memories. Me and Al, sitting together on the carpet in my parent's living room during summer vacation, drawing comic books on my parent's coffee table (which I don't recall they ever used for supporting cups of coffee).

What could be more fun for a boy? Very little.

Me and Al were determined to finally make and finish our very own co-created comic book. We were so passionate about it. We designed characters. Talked about the story. It was going to be a mix of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. We were both loyal fans of Marvel Comics at the time. We started drawing the first issue. We were going to be famous!

the Minute Men, pages 2 & 3
Until my dad got pissed, for one reason or another (I probably forgot to mow the lawn or something equally ridiculous), so my dad CONFISCATED the original artwork for the Minute Men. And never remembered to give it back. That was the end of the Minute Men. Out of business. Before we even got into business.

Until now.

When I found the yellowing original art, it was a rare treat.

It inspired me to do a recreation of the cover in the journal I carried with me, in the spirit of other comic book greats who did recreations of their classic covers late in their careers. Greats like John Buscema and John Byrne. Of course, the art for the Minute Men was nowhere near as memorable as The Silver Surfer #4. So what? I'm not going to live forever.

Cover Recreation of the Minute Men #1
I made it my goal to draw with the same drawing sensibility I had when I was a kid. I cheated slightly with the flame-haired hero. Too much perspective in the drawing of the anatomy. Sue me.

And I also added some 3-D sensibility to the force fields around the legs of "the Deathmaster" (the monster guy). Notice how his legs and feet pierce the planes of the cubes? I could draw cubes back then, but never would have thought to add that little touch. But I can say that I would have if I had known how.

In a moment of adult humor, I found myself wondering what the heck the Invisible Guy was going to contribute to the battle in my re-created cover. I recall that as a boy, I fantasized about the limitless possibilities available to a man who can become invisible. But what good is invisibility when you're trying to smash & bash a godzilla-esque monster? Called THE DEATHMASTER?

"Hi everybody," Invisible guy says while waving at the camera, "I'm invisible! See? Look! Look at me!!"

the Minute Men, page 4

Al Cisneros went on, not to be a comic book artist like he had planned at the time, but to become the frontman of the stoner-metal band Sleep. After Sleep disbanded, he continued on with Om, then teamed up with the fellows in Shrinebuilder.

Al taught me some very important lessons as an artist. I'm sure he had no idea what he was teaching me at the time, nor did I realize what I was learning. But it always stuck with me.

He taught me to focus on the story, not the technique. Get the story told. Don't worry about how good the drawings are. Tell the story.

the Minute Men is one of the first instances where I actually found myself telling a story. If not for Al, I wouldn't have helped draw the few pages of the Minute Men that I did.

Thanks Al.

Al taught me one other very important thing:

Machine-guns go "Budda-Budda."


  1. That's so awesome that your dad kept them. I remember you telling me about them. Nice to see them posted here. WONDERFUL!

  2. Man this comic looks like so much fun! I remember doing this too, back in the day. I still have some pages at home, plus all my wannabe 12-year-old D&D illustrations. Thanks for reminding me how much fun can be had with comics! This is the same spirit I'm trying to keep on my current comic.