Is Once Upon A Dime?
Don Swan and I were growing up in Wisconsin, we
couldn't believe how much each of us knew about
comics. He knew the DC, Charlton and Amazing Comics
stuff better than I did. But I knew the funny animal
books and the Timely Comics stuff better than he
did. The other kids in the neighborhood (those that
had any interest in comics, and they were few) would
try to stump us. As a team we were unbeatable.
grew tired of explaining the relationship of Bruce
Wayne to Selina Kyle and to Kathy Kane and the difference
between earth one and earth two. So he wrote some
of the basics down. Like his own mini-encyclopedia.
Then when a too-frequently-asked-question would
come up he would pull out the appropriate tattered
page of loose leaf and offer it to the novice comic
fan. Don began to decorate some of these pages with
his drawings. I liked the pages and asked if I could
borrow them so my dad could make copies at his office
and I could keep a set.
had a cousin in Cohoes, NY my mom would make me
write letters to three times a year. Until we stumbled
on the topic of comics those letters were a chore
to write. Once I began relating some of the conversations
Don and I would have, my cousin Mark started asking
a lot of question about comics. Our letters increased
to weekly. I began to send Mark copies of the pages
Don created. Once he had all there were he still
wanted more. So I started writing some of my own.
I think my first was "Captain Marvel is just
a big baby".
didn't take long before Don and I decided we needed
more copies of our essays on comic books. Don's
mom was a teacher (Don would later follow that path
too) and showed us how to type on mimeo paper. Remember
that? Blue-ish "ditto" copies rolled off
a print drum like carbon copies. We drew heroes
and a logo in addition to the text. Don coined the
name of our newsletter "Once Upon a Dime".
I think our first print run was 20 dittos. Most
of those were handed to disinterested schoolmates
and promptly fashioned into paper airplanes. Of
course I sent one to my cousin Mark.
wrote back asking for six more copies for friends
of his. That was when we first realized our audience
might not be the kids we knew personally. It was
exciting to believe there were kids like us out
there beyond the reaches of our bicycles. Soon we
had a small network of friends or relatives to whom
we would mail five or ten copies of the latest issue
of Once Upon A Dime. And yes we dreamed of the day
we'd get a female subscriber. Of course she would
be so charmed by our wit, knowledge and artistic
ability that she would fall in love with one of
us, probably me.
we upgraded to photocopies - sometimes hand colored
with crayons. And by the 80's we had a computer
with desktop publishing. We never really stopped
publishing but often the frequency of our output
sometimes slumped to one issue a year (college years
were the worst offenders).
later as adults (but never grown ups) Don and I
were ready to open our own comics shop. There was
no question that we'd call it Once Upon A Dime.
past year (2002) we got to know Derek McCaw and
Daniel DeFabio and they offered to lend their web
publishing skills and editorial oversight to create
this online version. It's becoming a bit like our
greatest hits archive. We hope you have a Golden