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After studying cartooning and illustration at SVA in the early '80s, Steven Block's goal was to be "the next great comic artist." He was unfortunately sidetracked into a career in the garment district, however, designing screen prints for children's clothing. Block, now 34, finally changed directions three years ago and started a new career as an agency art director. He's in his fourth month as an AD at BBDO/New York now, and, just as exciting, he's finally fulfilling his dream to be a comics artist.

The first part of Block's Buzz serial recently appeared in an indie comic called Rivets and Ruby, with three more installments upcoming. Buzz, the story of rich inventor Simon Kirby, who gets transformed into a hulk with a very annoying voice -- hence his name -- is "a retro comic," says Block, inspired by the old glory days of Spiderman and Fantastic Four. "It's like the Marvel comics from the '60s, when comics were still fun and all the characters weren't killing each other. Simon Kirby is the best of all those superheroes rolled into one."

The fact that it's black and white is not a retro flourish, however; it simply reflects cost limitations. The complete Buzz saga eventually may be reprinted in its own full-color book, but even more promising is Block's future comics project, known as Special Ed and Girl Man. It's the story of "a mentally challenged superhero and his sidekick, who's a guy who turns into a superstrong little girl," says Block. "It's really weird shit."

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