It was a snowy Saturday afternoon outside the Batom Comics offices on West Third Street. Inside, Mitch Knox had just finished with his weekly dressing-down from Brady Wentworth and was impatiently fidgeting as he waited for his mother to return from shopping at Higbees so she could take him home and he could get to work on his latest Tank Thompson World War Two Tale. Flash Freeman was there working with Phil Holt wrapping up an already late Starbuck Jones issue when he decided to lighten the mood in the room by positing a question to those assembled. As the cars slushed by on the street below, Freeman asked, “If someone were to offer you two thousand dollars to create a hero based in Africa, what’s the first thing that you would do?”
With barely any hesitation, Phil Holt said that he’d use some of the money to go to Africa where he’d live for a couple of months in the shadow of Kilimanjaro sketching and taking photographs in an effort to study the life there and soak up as much of the African mythos as he could before returning home to begin work on the story.
Without reaction, Freeman then turned to young Mitch who seemed pleased to be distracted by the query. After a few thoughtful seconds, Mitch declared that since he still needed a ride from his parents to go anywhere, visiting Africa was out of the question, so instead he’d have them drop him off for a Saturday at the downtown Cleveland Library where he’d spend the day researching all he could about the dark continent so that, when he began to write, all of the details would ring true and could be backed-up by his usual encyclopedic research. And then he said, “What would you do, Mr. Freeman?
Flash waited a beat and then said, “I would put the two thousand dollars in the bank first, and then I’d go home and write the whole story from my imagination.”