Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mustek RIP: 1999-2008

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!


Gonzalo Martinez said...

My condolences.
Mustek A3 is a loyal hard worker scanner.
My scanner is actually working with a 12v 2a power adaptor instead of the former 15v 1a and it is still reliable, kind of slowish, but reliable.

I'd like to know what's the replace scanner.

BTW. I really love your stuff. Kind of Indiana Jones, Terry and the Pirates with european Tintin flair. It's the kind of stuff I'd like to do someday.


Gonzalo Martinez.

Randy Reynaldo said...

Thanks for the kind words about my work, Gonzalo! You identified many of my influences exactly!

I've actually ordered a Mustek ScanExpress A3, primarily because it appears to be still compatible with Windows 98, which is my primary PC for my comics. I also have a Mac, but I heard Mustek's are not compatible with OS X. Since you're interested, I'll perhaps post a follow up commentary about how it works out!

Gonzalo Martinez said...

I actually use my Mustek ScanExpress A3 on a mac mini PPC with Tiger.
There's a SANE driver available at:

Kind of tricky to install but it works fine.

I understand the the new version of this scanner, Mustek ScanExpress USB A3 600 PRO comes with a Mac OSX driver (Is this your new scanner?). Take a look:

That's it.

Good luck and congratulations again, Rob Hanes is cool.