It starts in Louisville, Ky. Unitas Tower on the campus of the University of Louisville in '92, to be precise. And it can all be blamed on a Spawn t-shirt.
One night on the way to use the community microwave to make some ramen noodles or chili or something else which would eventually be topped with a mound of sour cream, I noticed two guys talking outside a room a few doors down from mine. Didn't think much of it, at first, until I saw one of the guys was wearing a Spawn t-shirt.
See, at that point in college, the friends I had, who were mostly guys from my hometown, didn't read comics. I walked to the comic shop by myself, read my books, and that was the end of it. I had no one around to really talk to about the form or the stories. I mean, I talked about comics. It was just no one around me really gave a crap. This was before the days of message boards, of course.
So, I nuked my food and commenced to standing around for ten awkward minutes, waiting for the chance to simply ask, "Hey, do you read comics?"
As the minutes dragged on, it was becoming apparent the other guy, who I can only recall as looking like the kid from A Christmas Story after too many years of Big Macs and addiction, was rather long-winded. I want to say he was going off about Karl Marx and Kubla Khan, but maybe my memory is just wanting to add flavor. Though, I am positive flip-flops and a yellowing white t-shirt were involved. Eventually, he made his point, and I got my chance.
As it turned out, the guy in the Spawn shirt did read comics. He also went on to become one of my best friends and creative partner, Jeff Winstead.