Literally my first creative act, when I began publishing fanzines in 1965, was drawing my self-created character The Immortal Corpse for the cover of Super-Heroes Anonymous #1 (February 1965).
The Immortal Corpse stories were probably the only worthwhile things offered in my fanzines before Sense of Wonder, largely because all but the origin story were written by Dick Trageser. Dick was a talented writer who worked alongside my father in the Northern Pacific Railroad offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when I was growing up. He wanted to write professionally, and (in my opinion) had the ability, but never made a concerted effort to make it happen.
Dick Trageser wrote four Immortal Corpse stories, and then I continued the characters with my own stories, and those of others (such as Dave Harrer and Ron Norton, in the fanzine Bombshell). I always handled the spot illustrations. There weren’t Corpse comic strips at the time, because I felt the character’s horrific aspects were most effective in text form, allowing the reader to use his or her imagination.
When I began Hamster Press, and was planning a book reprinting the best amateur strips from the fanzines, I decided that the time had come for me to try creating the first Immortal Corpse graphic story. Partly for sentimental reasons, I adapted Dick’s script for “Skimmer’s at the Museum,” a story he had written for Sense of Wonder #1 (May 1967). I’m not the best artist, especially my inking, but this is about the best I can/could do.
- The Immortal Corpse and The O’Brian Gang are © copyright by Bill Schelly.
- All artwork in this portfolio is © copyright by Bill Schelly.