Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Artist Party, 1983

Starting in 1982, I drew a twice-monthly full-page comic book commentary strip for The Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom as published by Alan Light. (TBG was mainly an adzine newspaper that consisted of approximately 10% editorial content surrounded by ads of comics for sale, and maybe you would call my pages commentoonies.) When the paper changed hands and became more journalistic with the new name The Comics Buyers Guide under editors Don and Maggie Thompson in 1983, I drew a commentary panel instead of a full page and continued on pretty much the same twice-monthly schedule into 1985. Click here for a reminder of what I drew for TBG and CBG.

One day in 1983, I received a phone call out of the blue (or was it a letter in the mail?) from a gentleman named Craig Yoe. Craig was also drawing for CBG at the time, producing a regular feature entitled Craig Yoe Yo Ho, but I had never met him or seen him or spoken to him. Craig was calling (or writing?) to invite me to a party for artists that he was having at his home. It was a courtesy invitation for a CBG-mate, and of course I said yes! (Click here to visit Craig's website where you can see the new Felix the Cat statue designed and produced by Yoe Studios, and click here to see an Amazon.com listing of quite a few books that Craig has written and/or drawn.)

Trepidatious, I didn't know what to expect at this Artist Party. (By the way, "trepidatious" is not a word, but I feel that there should be an adjectival form of the word "trepidation" and, also by the way, "adjectival" is a word.) I arrived at Craig's home, which I seem to recall as a stately mansion on a beautiful tree-lined boulevard. At least I'm pretty sure that I remember that there were beautiful trees, but no matter how hard I rack my brain I can't recall where in suburban Chicago this estate was located. My best guess at this time is that it was in the town of Elmhurst.

The party had already begun when I arrived, and it was quite a treat for me to see who was in attendance.

Right away I spotted Jim Engel, whom I recognized from his all-night cartoon-showing marathons with Chuck Fiala at the early Chicago Comicons. Click here to read the entry about Jim in the Who's Who in American Comic Books by Jerry Bails. To this day I can rember how hard I laughed in the 1970s when reading Jim's "Boris Tutiers" three-panel strips in which he repeatedly recycled the same three panels of artwork but each time with a different punchline. (Jim and I were both in attendance five years ago on the last day of the brick-and-mortar version of Joe Sarno's Comic Kingdom.)

Also present was Jay Lynch, one of the architects of the Underground Comics movement in the 1960s and who was at the time of the Artist Party writing Phoebe and the Pigeon People that was seeing print in the Chicago Reader. Everyone at the party was huddled around Jay like kids around their favorite uncle at a campfire as he told his fantastic stories. Or maybe they weren't, but that's at least how my memory has realigned the reality of the situation. Click here to read the entry about Jay in the Who's Who in American Comic Books. And click here to see an Amazon.com listing of some books that Jay was involved with, including one that is a collection of Phoebe and another that is interestingly miscredited to an author by the name of R. Jay Lynch Crumb.

Who else was at the party? You've got me! That's all I remember! I have a shadow of a memory that there were between six and twelve people comfortably lounging in Craig's cozy living room, but I have no recollection of who the others were. This was maybe one of the most memorable things in my 1983, yet I have only this hazy snapshot of the scene. I'm glad I've gotten this little bit into black and white (with a sea-green background) before the memory had a chance to evaporate entirely.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

It Was Inevitable

It was only a matter of time. It was bound to happen eventually, I guess. I didn't see it coming, and it gave me a funny feeling as I watched it happening.

Fans of and regular visitors to the hayfamzone know well that I sold my entire collection of original comic book artwork (except my Jack Kirby pages) in 2005 and 2006. Well, recently on ebay one of the pages I sold was up for auction anew! I would have missed it because I usually only look at the auctions for Kirby pages these days. But I just happened to be looking on ComicArtFans.com and the page was listed as one of the most-watched auctions on ebay at that time and it caught my eye. I remember clearly how my auctions were regularly being highlighted on that most-watched list back when I was selling the artwork.

The page auctioned of a couple of weeks ago was the 1976 cover to Metal Men #46 penciled and inked by Dick Giordano. Click here and you can see what the original art looked like for the 20+ years that I owned it and click here to see a copy of the printed cover as it appeared on the newsstands (because back then comics still did appear on newsstands and not just in comic book stores!). All those robots! This was one of the most detail-laden pages of art in my entire collection!

The individual who had the artwork up for auction recently thought to do something that never occurred to me. He added a photostat of the Metal Men logo in the empty space that longed to be filled (and he clearly stated in his auction listing that the statted logo was not original). My hat is off to the gentleman because the page looks 100% better with that stat in place! Click here while you can to see how the artwork looks with the logo stat added (but this ebay link will evaporate at some point in the not very distant future).

And click here if you'd like to see images of other great pages that used to be in the Hayfamzone Collection.