I was introduced to MAD Magazine (the late 60s version) when I was in elementary school (at around age 10). I was an instant fan. I started trying to draw my own comics to amuse my classmates. I learned by the “Monkey see – Monkey do” method of copying the styles I saw in the magazine. While I admired all the various drawing styles, my drawings tended to be more Don Martin-ish.

But MAD Magazine was despised by my father, and he considered it to be such a bad influence that it was not allowed in the house. So while I liked drawing pictures where the faces were either really goofy or exaggeratedly scary, such buffoonery was frowned on by my disapprovarian father. And when he disliked something his belt was not far behind. He wanted me to be serious. Or at least to draw NICE pictures.

And so I learned to keep my drawings hidden, and only showed them to my friends at school.

During High School I kept a manila folder with a collection of my comics. People could borrow it to read them, but I wasn’t making any copies. (You had to use the xerox machine at the public library, which cost a dime a copy, and my pencil drawings copied like crap)

At age 18 I graduated from HS, and the next December my father threw me out of the house. Apparently somewhere on the list of the things I was not allowed to do was “Recovering live WWII naval munitions while scuba diving”.
One of the ways my father showed his displeasure was by drilling holes in me and my brothers scuba tanks.
My mother and brother left the house at the same time as I did. There were some tough times. I had planned to get a Marine Biology Technician degree from Shoreline CC, but dropped out to get a burger flipping job instead.

Paper 400

Did you think I was joking?  (Dec. 16, 1976,  Vol. 62  No. 171   20 cents)
(The Lake Washington Shipyards at Houghton built ships during the WWII and stored decommissioned ships after the war – obviously some stuff got tossed over the sides)

That spring an exciting new magazine hit the stands: Heavy Metal!
I was amazed by all the differing art styles in the
magazine and became a regular reader. I was especially impressed by the comic “Is Man Good?” by Moebius (Jean Giraud). I liked the way it told an interesting short story without using any dialog. (Plus it even has Don Martinesque sound effects!) I very much wanted to be a comic artist and I spent a lot of time drawing.  But I couldn’t see a path to that career.

I did try to take one art class at the local community college. The instructor would give a short lecture, set a ball on a pedestal and tell us to draw, then he went off to get coffee or something. After a week we moved up to a bowl of fruit. Later he told us to go outside and draw buildings. I was drawing some stupid building and thought “How the hell is this teaching me draw funny faces?” so I said “Screw this!” and never went back.

I eventually got an AAS degree in Electronics from NSCC. But being an Electronics Technician just doesn’t seem to be as much fun as being a cartoonist.

While I continued drawing, only a few friends and co-workers ever saw my pictures.
Now however, with the Internet, I can reach a larger audience.
I hope you enjoy it.

If you are interested in how I make the comic or want to see some of my pencil drawings, see the “MAKING OF” page.

Mike the Mountain Elf in his preferred habitat

Snow Lake


I like many different outdoor activities. I’ve enjoyed hiking, mountain climbing (I’ve summited Mt. Rainier at 16 and Kilimanjaro at 43), biking, scuba diving, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, car camping, hike camping, canoe camping, snow camping, running rivers in rafts, canoes, kayaks, and exploring abandoned mines.

You can contact Mike at Elvanpyres@hotmail.com