This is the space we would like to use for comments and recollections from ODD people. I especially invite those who were intimately involved in the creation of ODD to add their thoughts to this space. Just email your stuff to me at daveherring@mac.com.

My ODDyssey

By Dave Herring

ODD No.1 1957It all started with MAD. My brother Steve and I really loved the MAD 10-cent comic book in the 1950s. We had to create our own version, and came up with the name ODD. The first issue appeared in 1957, just one copy drawn with pencils and crayons. Steve was the editor. I was a staff artist. We got friends to contribute. Our team created three issues, but this is the only one that survived. If you’re curious, download a PDF of this previously unpublished issue.

Harvey Kurtzman Around that time, Steve and I were able to visit both the MAD and HUMBUG offices in Manhattan. I remember the MAD office had stacks of back issues on a table, selling for 10 cents a piece. While visiting one time, we got to meet Wally Wood.

I also recall that the HUMBUG office shared space with PLAYBOY magazine. Hugh Hefner had published the short-lived TRUMP magazine with Harvey Kurtzman. After that failed, he rented space to HUMBUG at a reduced rate. HUMBUG was owned and published by its own staff of editors and artists, and Harvey Kurtzman was in the office when we visited. I don’t remember meeting any of the artists there. We did get Harvey’s autograph, and even sold him an issue of ODD. He said they had considered using the name ODD for their magazine.

Humbug Fans

Dave and Steve devouring Humbug

In 1959, Steve and I got creative again and started ODD Volume 2. This time we made six complete issues. A PDF of the previously unpublished Volume 2 No.1 can be downloaded now. The artwork is a little better than Volume 1. Some of the stories and ideas were also reused in the ODD fanzine started in 1964.

ODD Vol2 No1

ODD Vol.2 No.1 cover and sample of inside art

I really wanted to be a cartoonist when I was growing up. I loved Will Elder’s work in MAD and hoped I could someday be that good. That was an impossible dream. As Marv Wolfman mentioned in his ODDBLOG, I attended the High School of Art and Design and tried to make my impossible dream come true. I got a little cartoon training there, but mostly it was advertising art training.

I did meet Marv at Art and Design, and he introduced me to the fanzineA&D logo world. Impressed with ditto technology and its ability to print a few colors, I immediately thought of ODD and started being creative again. With brother Steve away at college, I became editor of our fanzine in 1964, but I was able to get him to contribute. When I needed to buy a ditto machine, Steve chipped in and we became Herring Bros. Publications. The rest is history.

ODD samples

ODD was published as a fanzine from 1964 to 1966

The years designing and producing ODD were very important to me. I didn’t have much else going on in my life at that time. My parents were nice enough to let me spend a few years drawing comics in their basement – sometimes all night long and often sleeping through the day. Those were great years.


ODD 12 samples

I still had that dream of becoming a professional cartoonist. ODD No.12, our last issue, was printed entirely in photo-offset. Hoping this would lead to job opportunities, I sent copies to several publishers. MAD was not interested, but I did get feelers from CRACKED and HARVEY COMICS. I took the train to Manhattan in January 1967. That is a terrible month to traipse around freezing Manhattan. Not a very successful trip.

After ODD, I continued to contribute to other fanzines, and even drew a couple of strips for underground comics. You can download and read the entire Jonny Galaxie strip

Jonny Galaxie

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It came time for me to return to the real world. Dave in NamIn 1968, I received Herring in Mekong Mudgreetings from Uncle Sam and spent the next two years as a soldier in the U.S. Army. This included a trip to Vietnam. I later made a YouTube video recounting some of my experiences over there.

After Vietnam, I was fortunate enough to be stationed for a whole year at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. I hated the Army but really loved Hawaii. In fact, I went back there years later for my honeymoon.

Art by HerringI never became a cartoonist, but I had a pretty good career as a graphic artist. First, I was in advertising art and then editorial art for The Christian Science Monitor and World Monitor magazine. You can view a sampling of my graphics, illustrations, and maps on my Art by Herring website.

It was in the workplace that I met Linda. We have been married now for 23 years. She is also my business partner and editor, correcting my poor grammar. We went back to Hawaii on our 20th anniversary.

Since retiring, I have found other ways to stay creative. A few years ago, Steve and I collaborated on an animated story called “The Subway Shining,” dedicated to Stanley Kubrick. Steve wrote the story and I created the images with 3D software. You can see it on YouTube. I also have lots of other videos on YouTube. Video has been a hobby of mine since 1975.

Subway Shining

Recent fan interest in ODD led me to preserve the twelve issues of the fanzine, as well as the earlier ODD issues that still remained. I made reprints for a few people. Some encouraged me to print them in book form, but I decided just to put everything online.

Kurtzman bookThat brings us up to date. I am now reading Bill Schelly’s exhaustive biography of Harvey Kurtzman. It inspires me to be creative again. Not sure what I will do. Start ODD again? Try my hand at comic strip art? We shall see what we shall see.


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