Introduction from ZED #1 published September 2001
Hello, I'm Michel Gagné, the creator of ZED. I grew up in Quebec, Canada in a small town called St-Félicien (population about 8,000). As a kid, I had an acute asthma condition, and spent a lot of time in the hospital.
One day, before visiting me at the hospital, my mom stopped by the local bookstore and bought me a set of large, beautiful French books, reprinting Fantastic Four issue #44 to 100, from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. What a treat that was! I forgot all about my misery, as I read those tales over and over again. It was the ultimate escape! That, as I recall, is when I first fell in love with comics.
A couple of years later, I joined a comics fan club (CSHRV), and became an active member in the production of our fanzine. I started corresponding with other kids, namely my friend Paul, who shared some of my interest in animation. I grew up, learning English through reading comics (French is my first language), and watching animated movies whenever my local theaters were playing them.
Upon finishing high school, sometime in 1982, Paul told me about an animation school in the Toronto area (Sheridan College) where he just enrolled. I applied and was overjoyed to be accepted into the three-year classical animation program. That was a great period of my life. I did two short films while I was there. One of them even got a theatrical distribution.
I finished college in 1986 and went to Los Angeles to try and "make it" in the animation industry. I landed a job as an animator for Don Bluth Studios and the next thing I knew, I was on my way to Ireland. I lived in Dublin four years, working on pictures such as "An American Tail", "The Land Before Time" and "All Dogs go to Heaven".
In 1990, Bluth relocated me in Burbank, California. During the day, I worked as an effects animator, and at nights and on weekends, I started creating an ambitious 35mm animated short film, "Prelude to Eden". After Bluth shut down in 1992, I moved to other studios, creating, designing, animating and supervising special effects for several animated and live-action feature films. One thing that has remained consistent throughout my career is that I've always allocated a portion of my time for personal projects. While working on sixteen feature films, I have made a short film, created and exhibited fine arts (painting, sculptures, and conceptual art), and I've written, illustrated and published five books. These are my babies. I carried them from conception to delivery. Today, I am glad to share ZED with you.
Summer 2000 was when I came up with the story of ZED. I first conceived the thing as a proposal for an animated series. Then, I thought, why not try doing it as a comic series? The narrative of the story was perfect for that medium and I had been itching to do comics for quite a while. At the time ZED materialized in my head, I was supervising special effects animation on "Osmosis Jones". It was a full commitment job. No spare time to do a comic series. When the film ended in December 2000, I knew exactly what I wanted to do next!
And here it is! ...ZED, issue number 1! Thanks to my lovely wife, Nancy, for her support, loyalty, and guidance. She is the most awesome wife any man could wish for. Thanks also to all the friends who gave me constructive criticisms. I hope you all have a blast reading ZED. It sure was lot of fun to create it! I can't wait to see how the next issues will turn out. I'm jazzed... I have a big story to tell, and I sure hope you'll be along for the ride. Please let me know what you think.