Gone to Amerikay is an eagerly-awaited graphic novel due from Vertigo next year. No, it’s not super-heroes, or gorillas, but we can be sure that with writer Derek McCulloch and artist Colleen Doran at the helm we’ll be in safe hands. How so? Well, both have a long track record as far as a love of long-underwear characters goes—probably a far longer track record than either would wish to remember…

Derek McCullock letter

Here we can see 15 year-old Derek showing his praise of all things Deathlok, Marvel’s mad, bad cyborg of the future. This missive comes from Marvel Two-in-One #61, a title that saw the former Luther Manning team-up with the Fantastic Four’s “Bashful” Thing on numerous occasions, following his series’ cancellation. Mind you, Derek also shows his darker side here, as he obviously loves the fact that Ben Grimm shed some real blood in MTiO #54. Don’t blame Frank Miller, folks, the grim ‘n’ gritty era of comics was Derek’s fault. How different things might’ve been had he instead been forthright in his criticism of said scene.

Meanwhile, on the distaff side of things, here we see mumble-mumble year-old Colleen waxing lyrical about the Super Friends:

Colleen Doran letter

The comic itself (this is from #5, June 1977), is not particularly outstanding, being a kind of junior take on the Justice League of America, written by E Nelson Bridwell and drawn by Ramona Fradon. Based on the cartoon of the same name, it’s a fun, undemanding read, largely aimed at a younger reader.

As you can see, in the letter Colleen mentions that she “want(s) to be a cartoonist, so (she) pays close attention to the comics, and studies and copies constantly.”

So, there you go. If you want to get into comics, merely purchasing a copy of Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David or How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way is not enough. To get anywhere at all, it’s clear that you’ve got to start early, and writing to a letter column ought to be top of your list of priorities.

Gone to Amerikay—it’s gonna be great.