"Htown: Revisited"

By Allan Angel

(August 18, 2016)

Chris Perguid and I, Allan Angel, met a decade ago at a Wondercon convention when it was in San Francisco. He took over my table while I was away and began to sell and talk to customers like nobody's business. I thought, "I like this kid. I can use him to move my products", and about 12 months later, he proposed a project.

The script was good enough. Okay, here was Hitler and he was going to create these genetically mutated humans to destroy the world and who better to stop him than the United States of America under the direction of President Roosevelt. It all seemed kind of an idea that's been done to death by the major publishers. However, the banter between Dr. Dino and Erika America was hilarious, so I probably was sold with caveats.

I told him, "you know I don't really read comic books, is there anymore to this? Like drawings or something, because I've seen this type of comics done before." So he handed me drawings neatly organized in a Manila envelop. I opened the folder, and I was amazed! The costumes were genius! It harkens to the golden age of comicdom but were very contemporary.

Unfortunately, I don't have those drawings at the moment due to unfortunate circumstances that happened to my art studio, a novel unto itself. I was used to the costumes done by DC comics-- i.e. logo on chest, utility belt, underwear, boots, and headgear or not of some sort, but this was different. I really wish I could show you what the costumes looked like but it would be a disservice to Chris' genius for me to even talk about them. In short, it was inspirational and I was sold.

The costumes were heavily inspired by Rob Liefeld. At the time, I hated Rob Liefeld because his drawings and success were what probably stopped me from reading comics. That is until about 2 years ago, when I was doing my own projects (specifically …S…) and I required a character with an exaggerated musculature (R.I.P.). I realized Liefeld was actually an incredible artist! He did something different. And it was good. Really good.

We, Chris and I, worked on the project. At times, I was frustrated with the script, because there were conversations between the characters that went on and on. Chris said his goal was to have this comic book adapted as a television show or mini series. He did the layouts and I did the finishes, lettering, etc. and about a year later or probably less than that, it was ready for deployment.

As you can tell, I wasn't that great-- I realized I didn't even draw the swastika correctly-- Chris suggested a story about this earth being an alternate universe and to go ahead with the printing. In short, I hadn't drawn for about a decade really, because I was busy working 2 full time jobs while going to school part time. I did make time to do Lost Legends during breaks at work. Yes, it is possible! Chris's idea of doing Htown probably drew me out of retirement.

Audiences were very receptive to Htown. It did well. I don't know how exactly we got on television but it was probably after talking to our great friend Mel Smith, an Eisner award winner. Chris was really funny in the segment, I was terrified! After that, things started to get really good.

So we went on the circuit, traveling to LA, Bakersfield, Sacramento. The best part was seeing the fans being receptive to our original material. That being different, selling comic books instead of arts and crafts products other people were bringing to comic cons, was what made us stand out. That we were bringing our love of comic books to the world, and people were digging it.