Martin Wagner (artist)
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April 27, 1966
A film major at the University of Texas at Austin, Wagner began Hepcats as a comic strip in the college newspaper in 1987. Starting in 1989, he self-published it as a black-and-white comic book series. Although the series received critical praise, the combination of poor sales, Wagner's lack of business experience, and his divorce in 1991 contributed to financial difficulties. His production schedule became increasingly protracted and he ceased publishing the series altogether following issue No. 12 in 1994. In 1996 he made a deal with Antarctic Press to republish the existing material, to be followed by new issues, but the only new material published was a special "#0" color issue.
Following his departure from the comics industry, Wagner illustrated children's books for an Austin-area author and began a new career working in Austin-area film and television commercial productions. In 1999, Wagner produced some early conceptual drawings for director Robert Rodriguez (who was also a cartoonist at the University of Texas at the same time as Wagner) for his film Spy Kids, though he did not work on the film during production or any of its sequels. In 2005, Wagner was slated to direct a 24p high-definition short film, Tremendous Risk for Mr. Ferdico, but when the producers failed to secure funding, he shifted his attentions to a documentary, Bloody Work, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in the summer of 2013, but was never released, and as updates to the campaign ceased in 2016, seems to have been abandonded. Wagner was a rotating co-host on the webcast and public access show The Atheist Experience from 2000-2016.