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Going to Comic Convention's was the best thing in the world to me.While I dug the mainstream Marvel shit,and the San Francisco Underground shit,I was increasingly drawn to the fanzines that were sporadically printed and sold at the Convention's.Stuff like Squa Tron and other small publication's printed bt fan's,to me,seemed like a bridge between the unobtainable world of big time superhero book's and more human,smaller publication's.Already attracted to Underground Press through copies of old East Village Other and Rolling Stone that my hippy mom had sitting around our dumpy pad,I decided I could be a great comic artist if I put my mind to it,and practiced enough.My home life at this time was getting worse and worse.The cop's had kicked in my door and tore my room apart,because my older brother had hidden a bunch of stolen silver in my heat vent.Him and my mom got in a fight about it,and he decked her and gave her a black eye.She sent him to live with my dad,who beat the fuck out of him every day-for good reason.My older brother was a human crime wave,often taking me out with him as he broke into houses,stole drug's,vandalized shit,and used inhalant's,encouraging me to do the same.My dad would constantly grill me on this,asking about Damian's activities,asking for dirt on Mom to get her in trouble,but I wouldn't talk.Since I was a comic nerd and had long hair and hippy clothes,everyone in school hated me,too.They would beat my ass,sometimes with encouragement from coaches and teacher's.Everyone knew I was filthy welfare scum-even though it was barely true.My mom was opposed to welfare-she wouldn't get food stamp's.Alot of times,we just didn't have food.We would have to fish,or forage for it somehow.She said it was either this,or go live with your father,who promised us all new crew cut's and a fresh Catholic upbringing.Without my brother around (he was in reform school) I was easy prey for bullies and psycho's,and the abuse piled up.This made the Comic Convention's and the stories they provided my best bet.I dug into the alternate reality they provided,and through this I found unrealistic examples of role model's who overcame severe hardship's through ingenuity and radioactive spider bites.This being the 70's,I also got to see alot of real celebreties,like Gene Rodenberry and Rod Serling.I also started to draw my own comic's,and try to trade them,but they weren't good enough yet.I was only 10,and a worthless speck of dust.The only people that liked me were my brother's and sister,or cat's.Everyone around me seemed hostile,or uptight and mean.I started getting stoned more,and stealing booze and smokes,to help deal with stress,and to bribe bullies and keep them from beating me up.Back in the 70's getting beat up was part of life,and you made it through it.That was just the way it was,for better or for worse.

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