I am kicking around the idea of doing a series of drawings that are homages to my artistic influences. The first piece is Mike Allred. In the late 90s I got back into reading comics and pursuing my dream of being a comic book artist. It was 2000, I believe, and I saw the art for the forthcoming ATOMICS by Mike Allred. I was aware of his art, having been a big Kevin Smith fan, but I never really read any of Allred's work. The pop sensibilities and overall FUN look of the art intrigued me. So, I had my LCS, which was 40 miles south in Colorado, order the Atomics for me. I LOVED it. Mike's writing, his art, Laura's coloring... it just struck such a strong chord in me. I quickly went on eBay and found every issue of Madman printed, which lead to Red Rocket 7, which lead to the Geek, which lead to Dear Air and Graphic Musique and Graphik Muzik. I wrote my first ever fan letter and got postcards back. Mike's independent, DIY spirit and friendliness was intoxicating. Soon, there was an Allred message board over at ComicsCommunity and I jumped onboard head first! The board allowed us fans to talk to Mike and each other, meeting and conversing with people I consider to be friends to this day. People I would have never met except through the magic of the internet. I also began to self publish comic books around this time; Mike was a big part of that too. We would e-mail each other and he would always have encouraging words and advice for me. Then, in 2008, my wife and I separated. I was in a bad place personally, feeling lost and unloved. Mike and Laura were making a RARE public appearance at Neon Monster in San Francisco for the 10th anniversary of Red Rocket 7. I read this and said, "Fuck it!" I am hopping on a plane and going to meet the Allreds in person. I arrived at the Neon Monster and ran into fellow Allred board member Ralph Apel and his wife Stevi. They took me into the backroom of the shop where Mike and Laura were hanging out. Upon introductions, the Allreds gave me a big hug and said how nice it was to meet me in person. They say you should never meet your heroes, because they always disappoint you. This was the farthest thing from the situation here. Mike and Laura were (and still are) the most gracious and friendly people I have met in a long time. Heck, a few years later, when I was REALLY getting into self publishing, Mike agreed to do the cover for my book, Kidnapping Kevin Smith.
With all that said, I present my Norman Rockwell inspired piece about Michael Dalton Allred!