It was many years ago that I stumbled into the comics business. I had been working for a toy/publishing company called Mail Mania and the company had gone through a major shake up, laying off most of its staff. I was the Art Director and Illustrator for the three product lines, Pet Shop Pen Pals, Dream Chasers, and Sneaker Seekers. Finding my self out of work for the time being, I decided to volunteer at the local comic convention. Why not, get in for free, hang out with the stars, and who knows, maybe make some connections. I never would have guessed volunteering for I think 4 hours would change the course of art career in such dramatic ways.
After passing flyers out and escorting stars to their signing booths for a few hours, I wandered through the various publisher’s booths and artist spots. I came across Silent Devil’s booth and chatted it up with Christian and Adam Beranek, showing them some of my children’s illustrations. We hit it off and decided to work on projects together in the future, and that’s how I ended up working in comics. I could never be more thankful for that. Through this one convention I became friends with so many great artist and creators: Nick Beranek, Josh Medors, Raven Gregory, Chris Burke, Mitch Hyman, Sean McManus, Taki Soma, Tony DiGerolamo, Chris Moreno, Lauren Perry, Pat Loika, Doug Scarborough, Eric Balsaldua, David Peterson, and so many more. I ended up doing conventions all across the states; Philadelphia, New York, LA, Michigan, Florida, and others. I had so many crazy adventures with these folks. There was nothing more inspirational then these Wild Wild West days of the comic’s world.
It was through this collaborative process with Adam Beranek that One Eyed Jack was born. He had a one eyed cat named Jack that was the inspiration. From there my long time writer/editor Rob Staeger came on board too.
Art was always part of my life, but it seemed to conflict with my need for adventure. One is years of your life locked in a studio creating magic. While the other is not knowing where you next meal would come from, what language was being spoken, or if you were even going to make it back. Ha, actually, the next meal part is the same for both life paths.
It had been years since artists were hired to explore and travel. Everything is photography now, and even they are having a hard time. So I saw The Lives on One Eyed Jack as a way of combining my life adventures with my art.
I absolutely love the story telling process that comes with comics. I used to buy comics for the art, but as I matured I realized no matter how good the art is, if the story is not there, it doesn’t mean squat. While at the same time, I have seen artwork I absolutely hate, but the story and pacing kept me in. I consider myself a story teller above everything else and I absolutely love the comics medium.
So here for the first time is the collected stories of One Eyed Jack. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I loved working on them. Many thanks to Adam, Christian, and Nick Beranek and my long time creative partner Rob Staeger. There is nothing better than when you connect with people on a creative level to make wonderful things.
Once you click on the link, you will go to the my website at MichaelBencik.com. Sign up for the newsletter at the bottom to get updates on the latest news and work. One lucky subscriber will get an original piece of art from Ireland. The drawing will be in late May.
I will be showcasing the different parts of my website once a week for the next seven weeks. Feel free to share with your friends on any and all social media and thanks for your continued support.
One Eyed Jack Comics
I’m glad you let the freedom of creativity lead you into the world of comics. I appreciate this pathway very much because reality can be portrayed so well with artistry focussing on story-telling …I believe it was the way of many of greats in past who were perhaps supressed because ‘their’ art was not ‘classic’. Thank you for your blog.
I have had a pretty amazing life, a very unique, but amazing. It’s one of the things I really enjoy about being a artist. Even when I am renovating old Victorian houses I use my art skills.