When I was a kid, I employed many forms of escape. Indeed, escaping was my life, and I only grudgingly gave attention to the so-called real concerns of the real world. One of the most important of my escapes was through the brilliantly illuminated portal of the comics. I liked "Dick Tracey", "Smilin' Jack", and "Prince Valiant", but my real favourites were the strange ones: "The Phantom", "The Shadow" and "Flash Gordon" only hinted at the dreams I wanted to see opening in front of me. Mongo was a forerunner of The Empire, and the Winged Men were a clue to the marvelous humanoid aliens I wanted so badly to hang out with.
I wanted to live with things so much that I began writing about them. The comics, along with early pulp science-fiction magazines and the stories of H. G. Welles, Jules Verne, H. P. Lovecraft, A. Merrit and Edgar Rice Burroughs, were part of what made me a writer; or I could say, made me want to write. I wanted to be a dreamer, sure. But I also wanted to be one of the dream-makers, that special class of people who provided the kingdoms of the mind through which a boy could wander. And now, many years later, a dream-maker is still what I want to be.