Part 2 - Interact-O-Rama

Second in a short series
© 2018 Glen Cadigan
Originally posted on Facebook on July 16, 2018

Art by Eric Shanower, except the insets (except the bottom one, which he did do!).

A long time ago, I entered a contest held by Dark Horse Comics that went like this:

In the pages of Dark Horse Presents # 65 they ran an eight-page story called, "Interact-O-Rama." It was penciled and inked by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney, and the challenge was to rearrange the pages in any order, then provide dialogue and captions. You see, the pages contained artwork only. From the letters page of that very issue, editor Randy Stradley wrote:

"Entries will be judged by a select panel of judges culled from the Dark Horse staff. The decision of the judges is final, and all entries become the property of Dark Horse Comics, Inc. If space is available, the first place entry will see print in a future issue of DHP (if space is not available, all of the entries will linger for all time in the Dark Horse vaults). What're you waiting for?"

If this is the first time you're hearing about this, you can guess which of those two options became a reality.

Back then I was a lot younger than I am now. The stars were still in my eyes, so I did as instructed and waited to hear back. Actually, I figured the winner would be published and that's how the rest of us would find out we were losers, even though I hoped, in the way that you hope when you buy a lottery ticket, that you'll win.

I can't remember exactly when, but probably many months later I received a package in the mail. It was a Dark Horse t-shirt with the Mask on the front and the Dark Horse logo on the back. There was also a letter inside, which said, to the best of my memory, that only ten people entered the contest and because it was a lot of work to follow the instructions and write the story, there was no winner and everybody was getting a free t-shirt.

The proof! A very old t-shirt that has seen better days. Art by Doug Mahnke. The Mask TM and © Dark Horse Comics, Inc.

I liked the t-shirt (a lot), but was disappointed that there was no winner, especially since it's a lot easier to win a contest when the odds are only one in ten. But a ten-way tie isn't a loss, and at least I had something to show for it.

A while ago, while doing some deep house cleaning, the t-shirt showed up. It's yellow now, but it jogged my memory. Then, wonder of wonders, a few days later my copy of the script that I sent in manifested itself in a drawer. I was even happier to see it than the t-shirt because as soon as I found the t-shirt, I immediately mourned the loss of the script. Now, both were alive and well (well, the t-shirt is yellow and will never be worn again, but still....) and then it hit me: back then, the means to letter a comic book yourself did not exist. But now the software is out there, so what was to stop me from putting "Interact-O-Rama" together in the way it was originally supposed to be lettered and bring it to life?

If you look below, you'll see that's exactly what I did. Just start with the first picture and follow through to the end and you'll be able to read for yourself what happens when Muscular Man and Junior attempt to free Molly from the fiendish Dr. Double Brain (all names mine, btw). I liked it enough to resurrect it and put it online for the whole world to see, so maybe there's something there, after all.

And by the way... I know nothing about how Interact-O-Rama came to be. I don't know what Dark Horse was thinking, or why Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney were chosen. I guess Randy Stradley would know, if he can remember...

Inside back cover of the issue of Dark Horse Presents that brought the world Interact-O-Rama! Art by Tom McWeeney.

You know how this goes! Click to make larger!