When Tom and I decided to re-start Section Zero, the good news was: I still had all the original art. The bad news was: in my various moves, I had no idea where the coloring and lettering files had gone. With limited finances, I resigned myself to re-lettering the entire story— I thought I could do a serviceable job— but neither Tom nor I had the ability or time to recolor the books. And the thought of losing all the wonderful work Ben Dimagmaliw had done just killed me. So I crossed my fingers and hoped we could track down copies of the files.
Comicraft had lettered the book and composited together the pages for printing. They had complete files— twelve years ago! Did they still have them? I sent an email to Richard Starkings… and heard nothing. If he had good news, I was sure he would have gotten right back to me. So I assumed the worst.
Second email went to Ben Dimagmaliw. No lettering files, of course, but did he have color files? He did! He kept copies of everything! Except… they were in the United States and Ben was in Japan, with no way of knowing exactly where they were unless he returned stateside to look himself. Which wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
So I prepared to re-letter the book myself, and find someone to recolor it…
…Just as I got an email from Richard Starkings! He had been in England and unable to reply until he returned. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any of the files either, but felt an obligation to finish what Comicraft started, so offered to re-letter the entire book and asked me to phone him so we could work out the details. When we talked, I told him how truly, deeply touched I was by his kindness. He shrugged it off, paused, then mused “Come to think of it, those files might be out in the garage. Let me check and get back to you.” Not three hours later I received this photo:
Coloring Files. Lettering Files. Ads. Previews. Covers. Everything! But that wasn’t enough. After looking at the pages, Richard insisted on “freshening” the lettering, giving the book a new look… and himself a lot of extra work. Didn’t seem to phase him.
There are a lot of good guys in this business, and a lot of unsung heroes. You ask me, Richard Starkings is at the top of both lists.