In 1988, writer and editor Tim Quinn was working for America’s Saturday Evening Post and decided, for the Easter edition of its Children’s Digest magazine, that he would put his religious upbringing to good use.
“Tim Tyme” could travel anywhere in history on his fabulous Timeboard, a series that ran for about 15 years in Children’s Digest, a series that saw him encountering many historical, as well as fictional characters, among the latter Robin Hood and the former, George Washington. So why wouldn’t he travel to Jerusalem, circa 33AD, to witness an event that’s been the subject of many a SF story?
(One tale I recall, published in the 1970s, in the Sunday Times I think, whose author escapes me, even had the entire crowd shouting for Jesus death comprised entirely, they realised, too late, of time travellers).
So Tim commissioned Indianapolis-based artist George Sears to draw a poignant silent story, who of course delivered in his usual consummate style (published in Issue 363, if you’re keen to track down a copy on eBay)… but reader reaction wasn’t entirely positive.
Sadly, Tim’s work on the title had become the sustained target of complaint of a determinedly unhappy reader from America’s Bible Belt… and taking a skateboard to the Crucifixion had gone down badly.
“The inevitable letter of complaint rained down from Alabama, thus cancelling Tim Tyme’s planned trip to the Nativity the following Christmas,” Tim recalls.
“I can’t remember the exact details of the complaint other than that a skateboard was a frivolous addition to the Crucifixion,” he says. “I was just trying to get kids to read…or, in this case, not read, but follow the picture story.”
Tim Tyme returns to comics soon, as part of the FAB 4000 project.
Tim also worked with George on a few Sherlock Holmes adaptations (including The Hound of the Baskervilles) and other strips.
“George would drop by the offices at 1100 Waterway Boulevard, where the Post was located and shake his head in disbelief at the general ongoing barminess of the place,” he remembers. “Nobody else drew like George, just as nobody else drew like Dicky Howett.
“Interestingly, just about every illustrator I’ve worked with, regardless of faith or lack of, has a desire to draw the Bible. Few other books can match the visual element, from the very first line onwards.”
• Tim Quinn – writer, publisher and more – is the genius behind the FAB 4000 project that he created with Russ Leach, inspired by Jayne Massey and her seeing eye dog Witney who feature in the stories. Ken Dodd recently gave his support to the project, and Tim is working on the latest edition for the Merseyside charity, Liverpool Heartbeat – www.liverpoolheartbeat.com.