This was the cover to the first issue.  The art was by Sam Kieth and the colors were by Philip Zimelman.   Both were big time professionals in the world of comics at the time so we were doing good to get them both to do the cover for us.  And next week you’ll see the second cover by Mike Zeck, another professional that should need no introduction, but we’ll talk about him next week with his cover.   Sam had worked on Sandman and  his own comic The Maxx was published from Image.   A comic that I was going to write for about two seconds until Sam decided that William Messener Loebs was a better choice and I can’t fault him.  Mr. Loebs was one of my favorite writer/artists working at the time.   Sam was a big name in the industry at this time so getting him to do the cover was a big thing for us.

Phil was a colorist working mainly for Marvel.  He was doing a lot of work with Mike Zeck and his colors can be found on a lot of the Punisher mini series that Mike drew around that time.  So another win for us.

Now you’re probably wondering how we got these big names to work on our little comic.   A little background:  my first published story in the comic world was a back up featured that appeared in JOURNEY a comic written and drawn by William Messener Loebs.   For my money this is one of the lost masterpieces of comics.  You never hear much about it today, but it was and still is one of the best things to come out of the comic field.   The four page story was illustrated by none other than Sam Kieth.  It wasn’t Sam’s first work, he was doing some work for Comico and Fantagraphics and maybe a few other smaller publishers at the time.  I don’t think he had started any work with Marvel at this time though, so he wasn’t the name he was on his way to become.

Sam and I had been struggling to break in for awhile by this point.   He live in California and I lived in Louisiana but we communicated by phone and letter, this was before computers and email, so things were a little slower.    We spent a lot of time working on a character called Agatha Moore and did two short stories with her that we brought to the San Diego Comic Con and tried to convince any publisher that would slow down long enough for us to approach that they should be publishing her adventures.   Sadly you haven’t read any of her comics, so you can see how that turned out.  We continued to keep in touch and work on other things.  Sam was starting to get work with other publishers, his skill was not going unnoticed.

So when Brian and I decided to self publish DIEBOLD we knew we needed every advantage we could get.  Unfortunately we picked the end of the black and white book to decide to launch our title.   Still we were going to give it our best shot.   I’m not too proud to say I capitalized on my friendship with Sam and any residue guilt he felt in my not writing the Maxx to ask him for a cover.   Anyone that knows Sam knows what a nice guy he is so I really only needed to ask him and he said yes.

And that was how we got a cover from Sam Kieth.