Around September 1999, acting on a tip I received from a listserve of cartoonists, I purchased a Mustek A3 EP scanner, capable of scanning pieces as large as 11x17, for only $69 at a local electronics store chain—the perfect size for original comic-book art! I had it up and running in no time, connected to a desktop PC running Windows 98—a computer that’s still my primary PC.
On April 24, 2008, the Mustek died after more than eight-and-a-half years of service. Of course Murphy’s Law was in full effect: it didn’t just die while I was working on a random page of my next issue, which would have been merely an inconvenience; instead, it died while I was in the middle of scanning the final-inked piece of my contribution for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International souvenir program, the night before the deadline!
Desperate to scan the piece, and with my wife and two children comfortably asleep in their beds, I drove down to my local 24-hours Kinko’s at 11:30 pm hoping they could scan it for me. Being the usual minimum-wage drones they are, of course they didn’t know how to scan the art as a high-quality tiff. (I suspect they could have, but they didn’t understand the full capabilities of the system.) Rather than attempt to take over the machine to figure it out myself, I decided to pack it in and hope to find an alternative the next day.
I did and submitted the piece a few hours before midnight the day of the deadline. But, of course, I soon learned that the Comic-Con emailbox for accepting these submissions was full. Fortunately, I have a friend on staff at the Comic-Con who promised to forward the file to the right person.
Despite the last minute panic, I hold no grudge against my old Mustek. It served me well over the years, and I was saddened to have to disconnect it from my computer and save it for the junk heap. The Mustek is the only large-size scanner available at its price spectrum (under $200). Though I’ve read many complaints about its quality, it always served my needs and was a workhorse. I plan to get another Mustek to replace it, but it won't ever take the place of my original A3 EP in my heart!