Monday, November 27, 2006

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I was very sorry to read of the passing of Mr. Jerry Bails. Comic book fandom as we live it today would certainly not exist if not for the organizational efforts of this pioneering gentleman over forty years ago. Click here to read what Newsarama has written about Mr. Bails.

I never met Mr. Bails, but I do have a connection to him that I want to tell you about. It turns out that one page in my since-dismantled original art collection had previously belonged to Mr. Bails! I didn't purchase the page directly from Mr. Bails, but it was stamped on the reverse side with his name and address.

The page, from the 1960s and drawn by Fred Fredericks, featured King Leonardo lunching with his pal Odie Cologne (a skunk!). Click here for a history lesson about King Leonardo and click here to view a somewhat frightening King Leonardo doll.

Whereas stamping one's name anywhere on a comic book would be wildly inappropriate, the reverse side of a page of original comic book artwork is a looser and freer milieu. I never minded that Mr. Bails had put his identifying mark on the back of that piece of artwork; on the contrary, that mark made the page more special to me than it otherwise would have been.

And it gave me the idea to create my own identifying mark. I had begun the process of dispersing my art collection to all four corners of the earth, so why not leave a little smudge of myself on each of those pages just as Jerry Bails had done on his collected pages many years before?

I marched over to Officemax and designed a stamp that said "From the Hayfamzone Collection" inside a thought balloon. I ker-clicked the stamp on the reverse side of each page of artwork in my collection, and to this day I still use the stamp on packages of comic books that I send to lucky ebay high bidders. Thank you Jerry Bails for giving me this great idea!


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