The first comic I ever read, the comic that made me love comics, was Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew.
I was a kid and back then you got comics at gas stations & 7-11s off newsracks next to the magazines & newspapers. It was issue#3, the cover featured the Zoo Crew in pitched combat with Frogzilla. I begged my mom to buy it & I was hooked. Like, for life.
CCAHAZC was the perfect gateway drug: it was a funny animal comic, chock full of puns & parodies, but it was rooted in the formula of super-hero comics: villains & crises rose, receded & recurred in the episodic pace of comics, by the time I started to outgrow the funny animal genre I was primed to trade in the parodies of the Justice League for the real thing.
Scott Shaw! was the regular artist and there was a dull ache at the issues he didn't draw; I'm still a fan. I got the chance to meet him at a con in Anaheim & although they warn you not to meet your heroes he couldn't have been more of a prince. He said nice things about my portfolio and invited me to sit with him at his booth. I can't stress this enough cos I've had some chilly receptions and cons are, let's face it, an amiable shitshow, but Shaw! was amazing.
Anyway, the Captain Carrot still holds a soft spot in my heart (you never forget your first) and for a while I wanted to take a stab at doing real world versions of the Zoo Crew. I started with my first prepubescent crush, Alley-Kat-Abra.