There was a golden time in my life a little more than a decade ago. I had a full time job, still lived at home, and had no real bills to speak of.  All of this meant that I was young, impulsive, and had a significant amount of disposable income. So I did what any self-respecting young man would do, I blew it all on comic books.

I regret nothing.

I would show up to my local comic shop every week or so and pick up my hold. On one particular week my hold was light. Only a couple of issues had dropped that week and I just wasn’t happy if I didn’t leave the shop with a stack so big it required double bagging.

I should also mention that this is where I first met Kill-Tacular-tron.

So I says “Hey Mr. Tron, the comic gods have seen fit to deliver this paltry offer this week. What might you recommend that I can put in this bag to ensure that the carpal tunnel I’ve worked so hard to develop has no time to recover?”

He turned me onto many great things, I first read “The Watchmen” because of him. While the story telling talents of Alan Moore aren’t in question, perhaps my favorite thing that Mr. Tron introduced me to was “Pirate Club.”

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I absolutely loved that book and looked forward to the new issues as they came out. I told all my friends about it, I bought a membership package that included an arm band that is still on a jacket I wear today. I shoved it (lovingly) down the throats of anyone I encountered, and they thanked me, because it’s awesome. At least that’s how I remember it.

Fast forward to a few months later, I’m in getting my hold which includes a new issue of “Pirate Club.” Again, I was dissatisfied with the stack so I went to the wall to see what new releases I could add. While I perused the selection another patron sidled up beside me and began perusing as well. He glanced over at my stack (totally inappropriate dude) and saw “Pirate Club” on the top.

He says “Hey, nice choice.” Or something to that effect, there probably shouldn’t be quotations around that… is there a paraphrasing punctuation? I’ll look into that.

Anyway, I begin proselytizing to him about the book, because that’s how I do. At which point he introduces himself as Derek Hunter and tells me that he draws the book.

I left, walking on air. It’s not every day you run into a writer/artist that you respect. A few weeks later I picked up my hold and on top was an oversized copy of the first issue of “Pirate Club.” It was one of the initial run that Derek self-published prior to getting onto Slave Labor Graphics. There was a post-it on the top that read simply, “Thanks for pimping my stuff. Derek.”

As a young impressionable kid, Derek Hunter left a mark on my life that I’ve never forgotten. That issue of Pirate Club is still among the most prized items in my collection. Later I learned that Derek had been hired by Cartoon Network drawing backgrounds for a little cartoon you may have heard of, “Adventure Time.”

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A guy more deserving of an opportunity like that, I’ve never met. That’s why when I heard that he was running a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book of the comics he’s drawn over the years I had to take a minute to tell you all about it. The compilation, titled “Skidmarks,” will include mini-comics from the world of “Pirate Club,” “Lobster Ladd,” “Rascal the Adventurer,” and more.

As of this writing, the campaign has eight days left to meet its $6,000 goal. For a pledge of just $20 you’ll get 178 pages of indie-comicy-goodness, plus Derek will sign it for you. So you too can have a piece of treasured Hunter memorabilia in your collection. If you enjoy the abstract more than the tangible, you can get a digital copy for $10.

For the independently wealthy among you, consider a higher pledge, there are some great prizes. Ultimately the greatest prize is helping out a guy who is not only incredibly talented, but super nice.

I credit Derek, at least partially with inspiring me to write. He showed me that you could be just some guy from Utah and succeed at this. This is all a very long way of asking you sincerely to give his campaign video a watch, maybe check out some of the stuff on his site, or his choose your own adventure comic “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s Apprentice”  and then, if you laughed, or enjoyed yourself at all, consider pledging to make this new book a reality. The world needs more Derek Hunter. 

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Tags: Pirate Club , Adventure Time , Skidmarks , Kickstarter , Derek Hunter