This shocker was revealed by Steve Epting in an interview in a recent issue of Marvel Spotlight.
Spotlight: How did you get your start?
Epting: I graduated with a BFA in graphic design and had been doing that for a while when I read about a contest that First Comics was holding at the Atlanta Fantasy Fair. They were going to publish the best 6-page story as a back-up in one of their books. I decided to enter just to see if there was any chance of getting into comics. I didn't know anyone in the business and had no idea how to go about trying to break in, so I figured this was worth a shot. Well, I arrived at the convention and was surprised to find out that nobody from First Comics knew anything about the contest. They had not authorized it and told the eight or nine people who entered that they would look at the entries, but they would not be publishing anything. Another guy and I were declared the "winners" and First's art director met with us to discuss possibly doing some work for them. That's how I got my start, but I don't remember the other winner's name, and I've often wondered who he was and if he went on to work in comics. Who knows, maybe he's reading this?
Epting began doing back-ups, then fill-in work for First.
Then a few issues of Whisper...
Then the Hammer of God mini-series....
By the time First closed shop in early 1991, Epting had worked on a number of projects. He then got a fill-in job at Marve on the Avengers...
then he did some more issues of Avengers, and ultimately, he ended up becoming the official artist on the book.
And he's been a popular mainstream artist ever since!
All from a contest that did not exist.