Omega the Unknown #7 (March 1977)

I should never have had the opportunity to work on a fill-in issue of this title. That I wrote Omega the Unknown #7 was purely the result of being in the right place at the right time. Many writing assignments back then ended up being handed out in that way.

Steve Gerber, the creator of Howard the Duck, was also the creator (along with Mary Skrenes) of Omega the Unknown, an intriguing series that was revealing its secrets slowly. Unfortunately, that was not the only thing that was being done slowly. For reasons I no longer remember (The writer? The penciller? The inker?), the book was in danger of missing its printing schedule. The editor-in-chief at the time, Jim Shooter, was determined to crack down on what was referred to in those days as the Dreaded Deadline Doom. So Shooter took Roger Stern and me out to dinner and told us that we were going to write the next two issues of Omega, basically overnight, allowing the hero to have adventures while making sure nothing important was left changed about the characters at the end of either issue.

We were each assigned an artist to whom we had to quickly turn over a plot, and I was thrilled to nab Jim Mooney as my artist. I had a sentimental attachment to Mooney, since he had drawn the adventures of Supergirl back in Action Comics in some of the first comic books I ever read.

But one panel of his did not make it into print exactly as drawn, thanks to the censors at the Comics Code Authority. On the last page of the story, the villian of the piece, named Blockbuster, runs off, slugging a policeman as he goes. Since one of the rules of the Code was that no villainy was allowed to go unpunished, we had to white out the policeman, so that Blockbuster was left swinging at empty air as he ran off into the distance.

And so the morals of the children of America were once more kept safe.