Mike Saenz

Mike Saenz

Mike Saenz, born in Chicago, Illinois, is a comic book artist and creator of the first digital comic book. After a brief career as a professional comic book artist for hire, he went solo and authored the first comic book produced entirely on the computer, Shatter, as well as an early adult video game, MacPlaymate.

As the founder and CEO of Reactor Inc., Mike Saenz has been a developer and publisher of interactive entertainment on CD-ROM. Reactor produced some of the best selling CD-ROMs of its time, including Spaceship Warlock, Virtual Valerie, Virtual Valerie 2, Virtual Valerie: The Director's Cut, and Donna Matrix.

Shatter was the first comic created entirely on a computer, written by Peter Gillis and illustrated on the computer by Mike Saenz. Shatter was initially drawn on a first-generation Macintosh using a mouse and printed on a dot-matrix printer. It was then photographed like a piece of traditionally drawn black and white comic art, and the color separations were applied in the traditional manner. A breakthrough for both comics and computers, Shatter attracted widespread media attention and set sales records for an independent comic.

Inspired by its success, Saenz continued incorporating comics and computers. He developed Comic Works, the first computer program for creating comics. He later went on to develop Iron Man: Crash, which was the first computer drawn graphic novel.


  • March, 1985: the first episode of Shatter appears as a double-page spread in the British computer magazine Big K published by IPC Magazines (now IPC Media).
  • June, 1985: Shatter appears as a backup feature in Jon Sable: Freelance #25, and Shatter Special #1, published by First Comics.
  • December, 1985-1986: Shatter continues as a 14 issue series by First Comics. Mike Saenz leaves after 2 issues. Other artists include Steve Erwin who drew traditional art on board that was digitized by Bob Dienethal, and Charlie Athanas who re-established the practice of creating the comic directly on the computer.
  • 1988: Iron Man: Crash, the first digital graphic novel is published by Marvel Comics. Drawn by Mike Saenz.
  • August 1993: Mike Saenz creates Donna Matrix, computer generated graphic novel with 3-D graphics, published by Reactor Press. This is the first 3-D CGI graphic novel.


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