Sid's Story

    Sid Lew is the creator, editor, head writer and artist of Hyperbolic Fabrications, the sci-fi, anthology magazine. He's lived many lives in his 74 years of life as an artist, writer, soldier, journalist, father & grandfather.

Lewis Sydney jr. c.1945

Lewis Sydney jr. c.1945

Sid Lew was born as Lewis Sydney Jr. on a warm, Spring day on April 3rd, 1944 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the third child to born to his loving, mother, Mariam Sydney, and his father, Lewis Sydney Sr., a butcher who was away fighting in  WWII. Lewis Sydney Jr would never get the chance to know his father, Lewis sr, who was killed in action in the Pacific. Lewis had a brother, Henry, who was 11 years older than him. Henry loved to pick on young Lewis every chance he’d get. Lewis’s sister, Marlene on the otherhand, couldn’t be any more different from Henry. She was kind and gentle with her baby brother. She was like a second mother to lewis, caring for him while their mother was off at work to support the struggling family. Lewis didn’t see much of his mother, who was always working late, or early.  Mariam Sydney knew her son was gifted, and would make sure he and his siblings had every opportunity in life.

    The neighborhood Lewis grew up in was rough to say the least. The streets were full of stray animals, bullies and street thugs. It was no place for a young Lewis Sydney, a bright, young mind full of curiosity and wonder. Lewis was also incredibly shy, and quiet, and rather  than  taking his chances outside with the neighborhood bullies, Lewis preferred to spend his time alone drawing, making up stories, or playing make believe with his imaginary friend, Kevin the flying boy. The other children on the block had a tendency to pick on Lewis & tease him about his friend Kevin. "Maybe it was just him", a young Lewis would tell himself, His brother agreed. Henry, Lewis’s older brother was no help in the situation, and often escalated the bullying of his brother. His sister, Marlene though, would always come to his aid of her baby brother, which would only make the bullying worse for Lewis in the end. As a means to escape his harsh reality, young Lewis would write stories and illustrate fictional worlds . These were secret worlds of course, as Lewis had no interest in EVER sharing his work with others. Lewis’ secret wouldn’t last long though, when Henry discovered  his stories and read them out loud to the  kids at school . Henry's prank would backfire when the neighborhood kids wanted to hear more of Lewis' stories. The neighborhood kids loved Lewis’ stories and drawings, and couldn't get enough of them. They began paying for his stories and Sydney coudn't draw them fast enough to keep up with the demand. This would be a early glimpse at the destiny of the future Sid Lew. At age eight, Lewis Older brother would leave home to fight in the Korean war. Henry never returned home, having been killed in action less than a year later. Lewis didn't cry when he was told the news of his brother. He understood the sadness and  felt bad for his brother, but little Lewis didn't feel sadness or remorse over the loss of his mean older brother. His mother on the other hand was never the same, having lost her oldest son the same way she lost her husband just a few years before it was just too much for her. It was just Lewis and his sister, Marlene, now, but that would not last long either. Mariam would marry an older man and move upstate just a three short years later. Although lewis now had friends in the neighborhood, He was now truly alone. Since his mother worked so much, Young Lewis would be left to his own to fend for himself.

Lewis Sydney & Rose Shaw C. 1962

Lewis Sydney & Rose Shaw C. 1962

    Lewis began high school in the Fall of 1957 at age 13. Lewis, now nicknamed "Sid", which short for sydney, by his pals. Sid was one of the youngest members of his gang, the sparrows, but he'd entertain his former bullies with his fantactic stories.   The sparrows would spend their days skipping school and getting into trouble around the neighborhood, at night, Sid would sit out in the alley and tell the gang stories he’d make up on the spot until it was time to come home.  It was also around this time that Lewis would meet his future highschool sweetheart, Rose Shaw who refused to go around with a no-good hood, like Sid.  Rose would eventually come around a few years later, once Lewis left the gang life behind after getting into trouble for shoplifting. After that, Lewis began to focus more on his studies and art, rather than his social life.  It was during Lewis senior year in 1961, that he and Rose would begin dating. Lewis would graduate from high school in 1962 with high marks, Rose would be Valedictorian. They would go steady later that Summber.

    Lewis would attend New York University to study art in hopes of becoming a famed artist someday, but his academic career wouldn’t last long though. Half way through his second year, the situation in Vietnam would escalate, and Lewis felt it was his patriotic duty to fight for democracy, like his father and brother before him. His mother refused, but he could not be talked out of his decision. He and Rose would wed in a private ceremony before Lewis headed off to war in a foreign land, leaving a pregnant Rose behind back home to worry. Rose would give birth to Lewis’s first Daughter, Mariam-Rose Sydney, in 1964 While Lewis was away on tour. Lewis Sydney Jr. would return from ‘Nam two years later, a changed man. WAR IS HELL, and Lewis quickly learned that the hard way.

    While in ‘Nam, Lewis saw atrocity and horror imaginable. Sid also did things he isn’t proud of… for over two years, Lewis Sydney fought in a war he had once believed in and supported like the good patriot he thought he was. To this day, Sid Lew doesn’t talk about his time in Vietnam. During his tour, Sid would be introduced to the drug, marijuana, and would come to enjoy it’s mind altering effects. Sid’s military service was cut short when he took 3 bullets in the back during a Viet Cong ambush. To survive, Lewis would lie sill  on the ground and pretend to be dead while the rest of his platoon fought a losing battle to the VC. Lewis Sydney was the only one of his platoon to survive the ambush. For the next few months, Lewis would stay in the infirmary recovering from his bullet wounds. While he was there he took to writing about his experiences in a journal. He wrote about he views on the war and he wanted to write down all the horrors he had seen. Sid also met and fell in love with a young Vietnamese girl. He had a short passionate relationship with her before having to return home to his life in America. He never saw her again. Upon his return home in 1967, Lewis Sydney was awarded with a purple heart in recognition for his sacrifice in VIetnam, but Lewis would always carry the shame of what actually happened that morning in the jungles.

Photo by andykatz/iStock / Getty Images

    Lewis was never the same after the war. He was more internal, focussed, but not really present. He wasn’t much of a father to Mariam, always burying himself in his work. Lewis decided not to reenlist and decided to return to college under the GI bill.  Sid decided to major in journalism to pursue a career exposing atrocities like that ones he saw in Vietnam and bringing the truth to the masses. It was also during college that Sid would become involved in campus demonstrations against the war, and would regularly attend civil rights rallies and report on them. It was at one rally in particular, that Lewis was reporting on when he met political activist and poet, Dorothy Freeman. The two would began a passionate love affair. Dorothy made Lewis feel something for the first time since returning home, he felt a fire in him once again. Sid would file for divorce With Rose two weeks later, and begin a career as a freelance journalist traveling the world as a war correspondent.

    In 1968 Lewis Sydney and  Dorothy would marry in a private ceremony, and move into an apartment together in harlem. Lewis was often globetrotting, reporting on the new emerging world. Dorothy was writing poetry books and doing readings around the city, as well as organizing demonstrations. They spent a lot of time apart, but that was their sacrifice for the work they did. In 1969 future painter, Lewis Freeman-Sydney III was born, Lewis and Dorothy’s first son. Two years later, Their Daughter, Louise Freeman-Sydney, an accomplished poet in her own right. Eventually raising two children basically on her own began to become a strain on Lewis’ marriage to Dorothy, so he had no other option began to take work state side. Sid would begin doing interviews with musicians and bands in the city in the summer of 1973. As a music reporter, Sid interviewed the worlds biggest musicians, and was exposed to all manner of drugs and women. Within two years he had destroyed his marriage with Dorothy and the two divorced in 1975, their relationship continued on and off relationship for another 2 years before Dorothy finally decided to end the relationship for their own good. Dorothy was the love of Sid Lew’s life, and he wasn’t quite the same after his marriage with her ended.

    After his divorce Sid was once again working on the road, this time traveling with bands while they toured and writing stories on the experience. After 2 years of life on the road, Sid was a mess and he could not go on in his sad, drugged out state for much longer.  Sid’s life would eventually be saved & forever be changed one night while doing a story at a music festival. On this night, a drugged out Sid, while backstage would decide to try acid for the first time, as well as mushrooms, and some stuff he drank that tasted like feet. The experience was like nothing he had ever experienced. While in his psychedelic state of mind, Sid began to see visions. He came face to face his inner demons, the fear, the anger, the shame he had carried for so long. Lewis saw visions of himself he had never seen. He witnessed ancient cities & futuristic metropolises. He caught glimpses into worlds he could never possibly imagine. It was as thought Lewis was seeing this all for the first time but also remembering something long forgotten from deep within. Lewis Sydney jr saw the entire expanse of space & time, across all reality in every dimension, infinitely, in every direction he looked, forever. It was here that Lewis could feel all of the different universal energies he had never noticed (or refused to notice) converge within him & emit out of him once again.

    Lewis was now in a new world, a world between worlds, the space between everything, the axis, the origin, the source, the light, and he was here for what felt like eternities. He was here so long that the being once known as Lewis Sydney jr had lost all sense of himself and his identity of the life he once knew.  At this time, Sid was in a complete state of euphoria, but at the same time all that he knew was crumbling down around him, and he felt reborn. It was at that moment, appeared a tall being made of pure light, floating before Sid’s eyes. Sid knew the being was there to give him a message, & as the being began to share his message with Sid, a blinding light was unleashed & a soothing tone filled the head of the confused Lewis as he fell to the ground unconscious. Sid awoke the next morning in the psych ward of the local hospital and he was informed that he had been fired from the music magazine he was working for. Sid had no idea how he ended up at the hospital, but he felt great. Lewis Sydney jr for the first time in a long time, felt happy, truly & honestly happy. Sid no longer felt the dead weight of the demons he brought back with him from the war. More Importantly Sid Lew now knew what he had to do with himself, but it was going to take a lot of work, hard work. Lewis Sydney jr had received his message loud & clear the night before from the strange being. It was time for Sid to clean up his act & take some control over his life. Lewis told the doctor everything that he saw the night before, but the doctor told him, “the visions were only hallucinations, mere "hyperbolic fabrications" of the mind to deal with the cocktail of psychedelics he ingested.”, but Sid knew better. That morning, Lewis Sydney jr decided to walk away from the world of journalism, & entered rehab. He was ready for the next phased of his life.

    After 6 months of rehab in late 1979, Lewis Sydney jr would begin work on his first comic book. He decided to adapt the visions he saw the night of his visions into stories, he also wanted his travels and life experiences to influence his stories. Lewis had up to this point built up quite a reputation for his name in journalism for better or worse and didn’t want his name to interfere with his work in comics so he decided to take on a pseudonym. Lewis decided to use the nickname, “Sid” given to him as kid to use as his first name, and the first half of his name to use as his surname, “Lew”. On the morning of december 18th 1979, Sid Lew and his, comic book series, Hyperbolic Fabrications were born. He began work on his first series of stories and series quickly gained traction in the independent comic world. Sid Lew had finally found his calling, he was living clean and sober, and finding really success and happiness. Sid believed the dark days were finally behind him.

    By 1983 Hyperbolic Fabrications was taking over the comic scene, and Sid Lew was on top of the world, until he received word that his oldest daughter Mariam-Rose had died in a car accident. He was distraught and racked with guilt over the daughter he hardly knew, and wished he could do it all over again. He wanted to kill his pain, but rather to fall back on old habits he decided to reachout to his remaining children and try to build a relationship with them. Lewis III and Louise both flat out refused their father’s offer. Sid was heartbroken, but continued his work instead of numbing his pain, and it was paying off tremendously. Hyperbolic Fabrications’ readership and exposure were growing with every issue, and by the summer of 1987 it was a household name. It was during this summer, at a comic book convention in fresno, California, that Sid would meet his third wife, Sophia. Sophia was the single mother of a young fan named Carl and his younger brother Leo. Sid would propose to Sophia 3 years later and bring her and her son’s to his Malibu mansion. Carl grew resentful of his hero, Sid Lew, marrying his mother and was nothing but trouble for Sid. His little brother, Leo was a good kid. He reminded Sid of himself when he was a boy. In 1992 Sid would have his final Daughter, and future comic creator, Sophia-Lucille “Sophie” Sydney at the age of 48.

    By 1995 Hyperbolic Fabrications was ready to venture into the movies and released their first and only film, the Adventures of Kevin Kidd. THe studio that created the film didn’t stick to the source material of the comic, and it bombed at the box office. It was critically panned and Sid was out millions of dollars, and he fell out of the public eye. He continued to work on his comic series but interest in the book was beginning to wain. In 1999 Hyperbolic Fabrications filed for bankruptcy and the series was cancelled in early 2000. Sid had lost his comic, and didn’t know what else he could do with himself, he decided to focus on his family. For the next few years Sid and his family traveled the world and vacationed. Sid even patched up his relationship with his son, Lewis Sydney III. In 2003, Sid Lew was hit with the bombshell that he had fathered a son while on tour in Vietnam. His son, Sydney Thuy Hue, sought Sid out after his mother had finally told him the truth about his father on her deathbed. Without Hesitation, Sid Lew embraced his son, and received the next bombshell when he learned that he had four grandchildren back in Vietnam. In 2009 Sid would lose his wife Sofia to cancer, and it was the Sid’s breaking point. Once again, Sid found himself turning to drugs and alcohol, this time at the age of 65. The drug binge only lasted a few days and with the help of his daughter Sophie and step son, Leo, He was able to kick the habit once again and enter a rehabilitation program. Sid’s been clean ever since, and has been enjoying his time with his family.

    After years of retirement, at the age of 74, Sid Lew has decided to come out of retirement and reprint his entire run of comics starting at issue 1, and finally bring his world of Hyperbolic Fabrications to a new generation of readers to discover & enjoy!

Mr. Sid Lew in 2014

Mr. Sid Lew in 2014