Karate Joe Comics
The first issue. Karate Joe Comics No.1: The Origin of Karate Joe. - View the comic, one frame at a time, or download the pdf version.
The second issue. Karate Joe Comics No.2: Karate Joe's Revenge. - View the comic, one frame at a time, or download the pdf version.
The final issue. Karate Joe Comics No.3: Karate Joe the Crime Fighter. - View the comic, one frame at a time, or download the pdf version.
Karate Joe comics are copyrighted by the author: Robert L. Vaessen
Karate Joe comics were written and (crudely) illustrated by Robert L. Vaessen (That would be me by the way) back in the very early 80's. The comics were part of a newsletter put out by the Karate Class offered by the Town of Ashwaubenon. I started taking Tae-Kwon-Do lessons while attending high school at 'West De Pere High'. I was a scrawny geek type, the target of numerous bullies. I originally took the classes for self defense, but they eventually became much more.
At first they were simply grueling physical torture, which I was barely able to endure. They left me drained, weakened, bruised, and battered. I started to regret my decision. But the thought of wasting my parents money kept me in the classes. Eventually, I started to build some strength and endurance as a result of the punishing regime our instructor put us through. Soon it started to become something more than a physically challenging self-defense class. I started to become good at it. I started to like it, and I started to become more self assured.
I actually think that the new self assuredness that I started to exude as a result of the classes, had more to do with the reduced number of 'attacks' I was subjected to at school, than the actual physical training. Of course my demonstrations on how to break four boards with my bare hands may have contributed to a slight reduction in the list of potential 'Robert bashers'. I started to exert myself and became somewhat more confident.
Within two years I was leading classes and had risen to a considerable rank within the organization. My friends started taking the classes as well. They saw what it was doing for me, and convinced their parents to spring for the fee as well. The Tae-Kwon-Do classes had done more for me than I could have ever imagined. I started taking them for self-defense purposes, but they taught me far more important things. Through the classes I actually became respected and liked by my peers. They came to me looking for leadership and guidance. I reveled in the attention, and soon found that I could be a leader. I could be an influence. No longer would I be forced to be the 'Stick man'.
Over the next three years I graduated from high school, and started going to school for Computer Programming at the local Technical College. It was about this time that I started doing the comic. The newsletter started out as a list of class times, but gradually grew into a multi-page document. My friends and I contributed to the newsletter. I did these comics and an occasional column. I continued taking the Tae-Kwon-Do classes and writing the comics. The classes had given me so much self assurance and confidence that I could openly admit that the principal character in the comic was based on me, and my evolution through taking the classes. Tae-Kwon-Do did an excellent job of preparing me for future leadership roles. It taught me 'Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-control, and indomitable spirit'. I wish I could adequately thank my former Instructor and all my classmates from those days. They were some of the best 'times of my life'.
The Comics did not last long. Only three issues of the Newsletter would actually contain the comics. All three of these issues were released in the 6 months before December of 1984. That's when I entered the United States Air Force. As one can imagine, my life changed drastically from there on. Although I continued taking classes for a while, I was no longer learning anything as valuable as what I had learned in those five years. Although I still have my belts and a uniform, the one thing that most reminds me of those 'good old days', are the comics. Here then are the three Comics I drew/wrote during that time. They still represent a good deal to me, and I've been told, are Funny as well.
If you have comments or questions about the 'Karate Joe Comics' please feel free to e-Mail me.
Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail:
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