Thursday, July 23, 2015

HIKIND’S PERSONAL PURIM



NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind was handcuffed today in front of Senator Charles Schumer’s office. He was arrested for disorderly conduct as he blocked the entrance to the powerful U.S. Senator’s New York City office. The question we need to ask is how in the world will this make any difference or help protect Israelis from the growing threat of Iran?

Let’s be honest: Comparing Barak Obama to Neville Chamberlain, or the threat of Nazi Germany to today’s Iran, is unfair. Obama is by no means as educated as Chamberlain was. Neither can we assume a similar altruism. Chamberlain genuinely believed he had achieved “peace in our time” for the United Kingdom. And when he eventually perceived how his miscalculation had only advanced Hitler’s quest for European dominance,  the former U.K. Prime Minister did an about face and wholeheartedly supported Churchill’s bid for Britain’s war with Nazi Germany.

Further, all bombs are not created equal. Atomic weapons arsenals in the U.S. and Soviet Union in the 1970s became deterrents that relegated a potential military conflict to a benign Cold War. But nuclear weapons in the hands of a State that currently boasts bragging rights to the highest rate of terror-supported activities in the world is another matter. Iran has, among other threatened and often-times successful atrocities, sworn to eliminate the State of Israel.

Comparisons of Iran to Khrushchev’s Soviet government are also misleading. The Soviet’s vantage point progressed from a seemingly virtuous but ultimately failed economic system. Its adherents formed the basis of a na├»ve worldview based, at least in theory, on uniting world workers. By contrast, the religious fanatics who will hold the keys to an Iranian nuclear arsenal are boisterous evangelists of a death cult. Deals and armistices and non-aggression pacts with such an aggressive player on the world stage hold little promise for peace.

How many times during an armed conflict with Israel did Islamic leaders raise the white flag of surrender or accept a negotiated truce only to fire upon the Israelis immediately after their guard was lowered?

One need not be a prophet nor science-fiction aficionado to anticipate the dark dystopia enabled by a powerful, nuclear-armed and genocidal band of Ayatollahs and their hundred-million legions of fundamentalist cannon fodder. The ability to extrapolate from recent history and sociological norms should make anyone of even semi-intelligence more than alarmed by a deal that gives America’s long-standing enemy, and Israel’s most dangerous and blood-thirsty adversary, the ability to produce a nuclear arsenal over time.

What can one man do?

One man can do plenty if he is Winston Churchill or Menachem Begin—if he is charismatic and capable and attains a position of authority whereby he can make a huge difference. But even the smallest among us are obligated to do our share.

Dov Hikind understands this instinctively. He understands that a N.Y. State Assemblyman may have little sway in the U.S. Senate or Congress. Nevertheless, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring attention to the village-is-on-fire seriousness of a nuclear Iran. Those who chained themselves to the White House fence or marched in Selma, Alabama for civil rights understood this, as well: All that’s necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand silent.

Of course Hikind’s arrest in front of Senator Schumer’s office was street theatre. But street theatre brought attention and an eventual weakening of American willingness to maintain immoral military actions in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Hikind was cuffed and charged so that others would wake up and also raise their voices.

There was a simple message for Senator Schumer, too—a message which echoed Biblical Mordecai’s plea to Esther the Queen: “Do not imagine that you, in the king's palace, can escape any more than all the Jews… And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"” (Esther 4:13)

Most of us are not elected officials. Most don’t even have a blog. But all of us possess a vote and a voice and social media and prayers. All of us should be willing to sacrifice now so that countless others will not suffer later.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Meet Paty Cockrum, Get FUTURIANS RETURN and (Maybe) Win a Dave Cockrum X-Men File Copy

Paty Cockrum's FOOM illustration of Marvel Bullpenners as members of the original X-Men.

Artist Paty Cockrum, the widow of beloved X-Men co-creator Dave Cockrum, will be a guest at X-Con this weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Paty was one of the last members of the legendary Marvel Bullpen where she penciled such titles as Amazing Spider-Man and Claws of the Cat and worked on FOOM. Her stories of working with Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., Marie Severin, Roy Thomas and Bill Everett are spell binding, to say nothing of her tales of Jim Shooter and Bob Harass (“Harass, you idiot!”)

Paty is also the colorist of Dave Cockrum’s FUTURIANS RETURN, which will soon be released by Aardwolf Publishing. With contributions from Neil Gaiman, Jim Lee and Bill Sienkiewicz, FUTURIANS RETURN is the final Futurians story written and penciled by Cockrum (who created Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, Mystique and many other characters for the Marvel Universe). Paty will have signed bookplates specially made for the FUTURIANS RETURN and everyone who purchases the book will be entered into a raffle to win one of Dave Cockrum’s X-Men file copies.

X-Con occurs this weekend (May 15-17) at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 North Oak Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577. For more information on the convention visit xconworld.info For more on The FUTURIANS RETURN visit AardwolfPublishing.com

Note: All customers who pre-ordered FUTURIANS RETURN via Aardwolf Publishing or the Kickstarter campaign are auto-entered into the drawing for the Dave Cockrum X-Men file copy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Speak Up: Cast Your Vote for Best Inker

Neal Adams and Clifford Meth delighted to support The Inkwell Awards.
I was pleased to be named a Special Ambassador to the Inkwell Awards this year. Now it's time to vote. Please join us.

Here's the official skinny:

The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit organization devoted to the education and promotion of the art of inking, invites everyone to vote for the industry's best of the past year. The official public ballot will be available on the Inkwell Awards' homepage from May 1 through May 15. Voting is open to everyone, from fans to professionals.

The ballot also lists the nominees for the internally chosen Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame lifetime achievement award. To avoid a popularity contest where recent names have more influence than past masters, the two winners were chosen by a separate, pre-arranged Hall of Fame Nomination Committee. Current nominees are listed as a courtesy. Past HoF award recipients can be found on the organization's web site.

New for this year is the Special Recognition Award (SRA) for an outstanding inking career of 25 or more years in American comics. This differs from the HoF award due to one or more factors such as the artist being out of the “public eye,” having limited name-recognition due to semi- or full retirement or death, limited-yet-influential output, social barriers such as gender/race, or other factors that would otherwise limit them from being nominated for a traditional HoF award. This award was also chosen internally.

“We’re always thrilled for this event, where the best of the best ink artists and their work get the recognition they deserve,” said Bob Almond, founder and director of The Inkwell Awards. “Inkers have their own fans and followers, yet often go unnoticed or glossed over by most awards events. Ours cater specifically to ink artists and allows them to be recognized and appreciated in various categories. We hope to have even more voters than last year.”

Once voting closes after May 15, the winners will be announced at the live awards ceremony at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC June 19-21 on Friday the 19th. Click here to vote.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Supporting the Gene Colan Scholarship


Sales of the following items support The Gene Colan Scholarship, which is awarded annually at the Joe Kubert School for Graphic Art. If you'd like to buy one of these items--or if you'd like to contribute something to this fundraiser--please email me at cliffmeth@aol.com

Meth, Colan and Other Theologians, which Gene and I did for Aardwolf Publishing some years ago, can be signed and/or personalized  - $18 each, postage paid.

This Bastard Planet  signed signed by Gene Colan, Marie Severin, Dave Cockrum, Paty Cockrum and myself that are $52 each postage paid. There are very few of these and, of course, Gene and Dave are gone, and Marie is no longer signing either.

God of War #1 signed by Marv Wolfman - $10, postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copies of Clive Barker's The Harrowers #1, #5 and #6 all in Near Mint. These books contain Gene's art and the set is $22 postage paid.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 signed by Gene Colan.  This 1990 comic is $20 postage paid. Note that Gene designed the Guardians.

Swamp Thing #50 (NM-) by Alan Moore - signed by artist Rick Veitch - $10 postage paid.

Teen Titans: Deathtrap GN - signed by Marv Wolfman $16 postage paid.

Teen Titans: Spotlight on Raven GN - signed by Marv Wolfman - $16 postage paid.

Vigilante #7 signed by Marv Wolfman - $8 postage paid.


Judenhass (Aardvark-Vanaheim) personally inscribed to Adrienne Colan by writer/artist Dave Sim - $15 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copy of Creepy #1 (Harris) signed by Gene - $20 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copy of The Curse of Dracula #1 (Dark Horse) signed by Gene - $25 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copy of Howard the Duck #4 (Marvel) signed by Gene - $25 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal file copy of Glamourpuss (Aardvark-Vanaheim) signed by Gene - $12 postage paid.

Gene Colan's personal copy of Kickback hardcover by David Lloyd, which was inscribed and given to him by David (see photo).  - $22 postage paid.


Just added: Tales of Suspense #39 reprint - signed by Don Heck, signed & remarqued by Gene. Click here to bid on this book.

Check back for updates as new items might be added.






Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Johnny Romita: Who Made Who?

My friend, the writer Mark Ellis, was discussing Stan Lee’s contributions to comics recently on his Facebook when an official card-carrying representative of the Jurists and Archivists of Credits for Kirby’s Overt Fundamentalist Fans (aka Jackoffs) swooped in with a standard-issue hysterical invective against poor, benign Stan. Why? Because, in certain Groth-pocked social-network circles, praising Stan Lee for even the ability to tie his own shoes is taken as an affront.

Thus:

“All [Lee] he wrote was dialogue,” opined the acolyte, “but he stole pay and credit for the whole writing job, in order to pad his bank account, and later, as a way to ensure the company owned the Copyrights. THAT's why they started pahying [sic] him a million a year-- so they wouldn't have to risk losing what they STOLE from other people. The sick thing is his fans not only refuse to see this, they also INSIST that the uncalled-for changes he increasibngly [sic] made toward the end of the 60s to other people's perfectly-good already-finished stories were somehow ‘improvements’, when in truth, they resulted in countless plot-holes, continuity problems, and characterization inconsistencies. Considering this guy to be some kind of creative genius, and brilliant writer, is the worst sort of self-delusion.”

The educated Mr. Ellis was quick to assign the vitriol to its rightful place, responding “I'm tired of opinion masquerading as fact. Opinion isn't indisputable, no matter how vehemently you frame it… Until someone puts forth some documentation or old movie film that shows Stan forging Jack's signature on a contract/check or stealing his wallet, all of this sturm-und-drang is based on speculation, conjecture and opinion.”

I’ve known and faithfully corresponded with Stan for three decades. I've also read numerous interviews with him. Never once heard any attempt to remove Jack’s all-important contributions from the creative history of Marvel Comics. But who cares what I’ve read? I’m just another face in the crowd.

But Johnny Romita isn’t.

Indeed, Romita’s position at Marvel was likely as close as anyone would ever again come to replacing Kirby’s all-important role as Marvel's unofficial chief creative officer. So I asked Johnny to go on record regarding his own contributions, and the “process” with Stan.

“Stan would leave a note on my board with a name,” writes Johnny. “The Shocker, the Rhino, the Kingpin, the Prowler, the Kangaroo, the Schemer, the Gibbon, Hammerhead, the Tarantula (not all brilliant)... The other editors would ask for costume designs like Wolverine, Punisher, and a few more… hardly any questions or suggestions… flattering to the ego… also did new costumes for older characters (Black Widow, Falcon, Submariner, etc... Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel also original...over 30 designs). Check out the poster with Alex Ross. He kept reminding of more and more as I sent sketch after sketch… biggest surprise was Roy Thomas and Len Wein not demanding a mask for the Punisher (never a word)… is this enough words? John R”

Further deponent sayeth not.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Good Advice from Mickey Marchello

It's blue I tell ya!
Everyone's been hungry for an update on the Peppi Marchello book that Aardwolf Publishing committed to shortly after Peppi passed. What better time?

The book is fully laid out and we're just re-arranging some photo and graphical elements now… Still waiting on Mickey Marchello's finished Foreword, but I speak with Mickey several times a week and it's coming along.

And Mickey received my own introduction "A Little Twisted," which, after three decades of writing about the Rats' officially and unofficially, is the best piece I've produced on my pal Peppi. Speaking of producing, you should hear the music that Mickey's been coming up with lately! But I digress…

Mickey wisely suggests that sharing the unfinished book with anyone until it's 100% done is a mistake. We're taking that advice. He related the following:

"So Peppi would call me and say, 'Did you see what I sent you? I think it should be blue but I know you're gonna say red.' And I'd say, "Pep, I didn't even see the fuckin' thing yet and you're already fighting with me about it?' And he'd say, "I knew it! I knew you'd say red! Well we're keeping it blue!' And I'd say, 'Pep, I don't care if it's blue or red. You decide.' And he'd say, 'You do this every time, Mickey. It's blue and that's final!' And then he'd hang up angry… Then, the next day, he'd call and say, "Mickey? I think you're right. We should go with red.'"

"This book is your vision, Cliff. It's my brother's lyrics but it's your book."

Well, yes and no. Someone has to make the hard calls and take the heat but we've had tremendous help from the fans, Stefan Marchello, Cathy Marchello, and from Mickey. Our designer Richard Sheinaus has delivered a gorgeous design, too. Can't wait to share it with everyone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The High Price of Cosplay. Pat Broderick Breaks His Silence.


Pat Broderick is more than disenchanted with the Greenwich Village Halloween parade that comics conventions have become in recent years. He says the skin show costs artists like himself money. So he’s doing something about it.

“A few years ago I returned to a wider comic convention circuit,” Pat told me. “I’ve been doing commissions for many clients and have a backlog. Recently I was also fortunate to receive work from DC Comics, and I have my own properties, which I’ve been working on for the last two years.  So there’s no lack of work now and I find myself in a happy position for an aged artist.”

Aged artist? The proper term is veteran. Take a gander at the Werehawk pin-up Pat recently contributed to Aardwolf Publishing’s forthcoming Dave Cockrum’s FUTURIANS RETURN project. But I digress…

“This last year,” said Pat, “I reviewed the years’ convention appearances and came to a sobering conclusion. Conventions had veered away from the family-friendly events they once were into major media events with large cosplay involvement. At first I thought the mega increase in attendance would also bolster sales with [artists and] dealers. Sadly it has not.”

Pat says promoters are all about maximizing advanced ticket sales, which leads to more people at a show, but the wrong type of people: unqualified guests. People who want to see and be seen aren’t at shows to spend money.

Pat's contribution to Dave Cockrum's FUTURIANS RETURN
“From a promoter’s point of view, it’s a great day,” says Pat. “Sadly it’s not so great for artists and dealers.”

So Pat bailed on an appearance in Ft. Lauderdale. “I'd been working with this promoter for about a year and every time I’d inquire why artists weren’t getting the same promotional efforts channeled towards cosplay events. And I was told that the artists were. Sadly this just did not prove to be the case.”

The next day, when Pat logged onto Facebook, he found numerous “friend” requests from cosplayers. So he requested that cosplayers cease “friending” him. He also asked convention promoters not to invite him if they were building their shows around cosplay events and media guests. “It was a simple request,” he says.

By the following day, Pat’s announcement had gone viral. It even was picked up by The Atlantic. “The amount of hate mail was huge,” says Pat. “The amount of support was even larger.”

Pat believes the inclusion of cosplay as a main convention function adds no value to the shows beyond padding attendance. Not only doesn’t it translate into sales, it does the opposite.

“Cosplayers work their way around convention floors and impede the natural flow of traffic as they stop and pose for photos. They don’t care that they're blocking people from selling their wares. These roaming groups of costumed players shut down a convention floor.”

And what of the notion that cosplayers are creating or participating in a form of art? “They’re not,” says Pat emphatically. “If they had created the designs from scratch and they were truly uniquely theirs, then that argument could be made. But they don’t do anything original.”

You're so busy looking at me that you can't even read this article.
So what are cosplayers good for? Nothing, apparently. “They rarely spend much if any cash except on their costumes,” says Pat. “It’s just gotten out of hand and these show [promoters] are forgetting that it’s their obligation to make it a profitable event for everyone.

Pat is considering creating a different kind of comics convention. “A decision was made about three months ago to produce my own shows and an attorney was contacted. Backers have been approached and are interested. Structure is being put into place. Names are being bounced back and forth. Eventually we’ll host our first show.”

Of course Pat’s position has not come without a cost. “I've been banned for life from attending four Florida shows by one promoter,” he reports. “But that’s okay. I’d rather be dropped ahead of time than attend another bad show.”



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Richard Lenchus: Still Crazy After All These Years

With deepest love and respect, wishing my Sensei Rick Lenchus, the Great Grandmaster, martial arts pioneer and founder of Legend Shotokan, a happy birthday on this, his landmark 75th. For half a century, Sensei Lenchus has given all of his students great dedication while setting us on the path of dignity and budo.

Legend Shotokan of Morristown, NJ
And he taught us how to fight.





Clifford Meth, Rick Lenchus, Avi Meth and Benjy Meth (2010)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Joe Sinnott on Neal Adams. How'd You Like to Own This?


News Release…

For the first time in 44 years, comic book legends Neal Adams and Joe Sinnott have collaborated on a special edition to be auctioned by the non-profit Inkwell Awards (aka “The Inkwells”). The auction will take place in March, 2015. The two artists contributed their talents to a sketch cover of a Batman #0 comic book. The first and last time they collaborated was on two issues of Thor in 1970.

“We are thrilled beyond belief to have these two living legends work together again on our behalf,” said Bob Almond, Inkwell Awards founder and director. “We originally planned to auction the piece off in December of this year but decided we didn't want to compete with holiday shopping. By waiting until March, everyone who wants a shot at this piece of history will have time to save for it.”

The piece came about when Inkwell volunteer Joe Goulart approached Adams at the 2014 Connecticut ComiCONN to contribute a donation sketch for the non-profit. Adams then made his own request: He would do so if Inkwell Special Ambassador Joe Sinnott inked it. Sinnott is also the namesake of the charity's Hall of Fame Award and its annual Inking Challenge event and book collection.

Sinnott's son Mark was contacted and the deal was sealed. Two months later, Joe brought the inked version to the Rhode Island Comic Con for a historic photo with Neal. The comic book has been professionally graded 9.4 and “slabbed” by the Comic Book Certification Service.

Information on the upcoming auction may be found on the organization's web site and Facebook page. The Inkwell Awards is an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization and the world’s sole registered advocacy for the promotion of the comic-book inking art form. In addition to its stated mission, “The Inkwells” annually recognize and award the best ink artists and their work. The organization is overseen by a committee of industry professionals and assisted by various professional ambassadors and contributors. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rick Buckler Original Art. Cheap. Last Chance.

In 2015, Aardwolf Publishing will release Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator a perfect-bound book of Rich's art with an introduction by Roy Thomas. This collection of Rich's impressive drawings will be a very limited edition run.

Before we launch our Kickstarter, Aardwolf is offering fans the opportunity to order the book now along with signed/numbered bookplates from Rick (Lettered bookplates are now sold out). These bookplates will contain unique head sketches of Marvel and DC characters that Rich has drawn specially for this project. This is a chance for you to own a piece of original Rich Bucker art as well as the rarest iteration of this new book.

Signed/Numbered editions of Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator (only 100 will be produced) including the head sketch by Rich are $45 postage paid.

You can also order the book without the original head sketch for only $20.

Orders that need to be shipped outside of the U.S. will require additional postage.

You may request the character of your choice and we will try to accommodate you, but all character head sketches are either Marvel or DC characters, and each one is unique.

We do not have a ship date yet but you can reserve your copy now for just $20 (or by paying in full) by sending your order via PayPal to sales@aardwolfpublishing.com - Please specify whether you are ordering the numbered edition or a book without an original sketch.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator

Order now before they're gone:

In 2015, Aardwolf Publishing will release Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator a perfect-bound book of Rich's art with an introduction by Roy Thomas and some rare insights from other important professionals. This collection of Rich's impressive drawings will be a very limited edition run.

But before we launch our Kickstarter, Aardwolf is offering fans the opportunity to order the book now along with special signed/lettered or signed/numbered bookplates from Rick. These bookplates will contain unique head sketches of Marvel and DC characters that Rich has drawn specially for this project. This is a chance for you to own a piece of original Rich Bucker art as well as the rarest iteration of this new book.

Signed/Numbered editions of Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator (only 100 will be produced) including the head sketch by Rich are $45 postage paid.

The Lettered Edition of Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator (only 26 will be produced), including a head sketch by Rich, is $72 postage paid.

You can also order the book without the original head sketch for only $20.

Orders that need to be shipped outside of the U.S. will require additional postage.

You may request the character of your choice and we will try to accommodate you, but all character head sketches are either Marvel or DC characters, and each one is unique.

We do not have a ship date yet but you can reserve your copy now for just $20 (or by paying in full) by sending your order via PayPal to sales@aardwolfpublishing.com - Please specify whether you are ordering the numbered or lettered edition, or a book without an original sketch.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator - Signed/Remarqued Edition Pre-Sale

I've been pleased to know artist Rich Buckler for decades and was happy to recently help renegotiate his contract with Marvel Comics for genuine participation in the Deathlok character that he created.

When I was young, Rich drew some of my favorite books including Fantastic Four, where he was handpicked to follow John Buscema, and later The Avengers. Best known for creating as well as writing and illustrating Deathlok (soon to be a major motion picture?), Rich is among a handful of legendary Marvel Bullpen artists who had the opportunity to draw nearly every major Marvel character of the 1970s.

In 2015, Aardwolf Publishing will release Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator a perfect-bound portfolio of Rich's work with an introduction by Roy Thomas and, I expect, some rare insights from other important professionals. This collection of Rich's impressive drawings will be a limited edition run that's launched with a Kickstarter campaign.

But before we do that, Aardwolf is offering fans the opportunity to order the book now along with special signed/lettered or signed/numbered bookplates from Rich. These bookplates will contain unique head sketches of Marvel and DC characters that Rich has drawn specially for this project. This is a chance for you to own a piece of original Rich Bucker art as well as the rarest iteration of this new book.

  • Signed/numbered editions of Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator (only 100 will be produced) including the head sketch by Rich are $45 postage-paid.
  • The Lettered Edition of Rich Buckler: Artist, Innovator (only 26 will be produced), including a head sketch by Rich, is $72 postage-paid.
  • You can also order the book without the original head sketch for only $20.
Orders that need to be shipped outside of the U.S. will require additional postage.

You can request the character of your choice and we will try to accommodate you, but all character head sketches are either Marvel or DC characters, and each one is unique.

We do not have a ship date yet but you can reserve your copy now for just $20 (or by paying in full) by sending your order via PayPal to sales@aardwolfpublishing.com - Please specify whether you are ordering the numbered or lettered edition.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Kinder, Gentler Harlan Ellison

"Good afternoon. You are the four-hundred and ninety-third caller today."

"Listen. We're choosing up sides for a tug of war and I wanted to see if you can come out and play."

"Cliffy, I am eager to go home."

As reported earlier, Harlan Ellison hardly comes across as a man who recently suffered a stroke. In just 10 days since his episode, he's recovered a fair amount of mobility in both his right arm, right hand and right leg. His medical team--some of which knew him only from his appearance on "The Simpsons"--is calling his progress miraculous. His friends are calling it Harlan Ellison.

The Oracle of Los Angeles continues to hold court every day in his hospital room, entertaining the baffled staff and myriad guests who have come to visit the eighth wonder of the world, to seek his blessing and ask the tzadik to heal their lame cat. When we speak, I detect a restlessness that tells me my pal really will be home even before Secretary of State Kerry solves all of the problems in the Middle East. Now I'd call that an excuse to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stan Lee: Indefatigable Excelsior

Gil Champion, Stan Lee, Clifford Meth and Gene Colan
I've spoken with Stan Lee twice in the past two days about matters than I can't share at this time (so why mention it, Meth?). Both times I'm left with a growing admiration for my 92-year-old friend who is so much bigger than merely the creator of Spider-Man and everything else he added to the pantheon of temporary culture.

Not much of a blog entry, I know, but I didn't want this moment to go personally unmarked.

Aardwolf Publishing saved Stan's "live" appearance for our forthcoming Kickstarter. But his alter ego Stanley Lieber makes a brief cameo in our current one.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Encountering Ellison


It was my first day in Los Angeles, which was bad enough, and I had a dull headache from the seven-hour flight out of LaGuardia, but  my luggage had made it in one piece so that was something, and the sun was shining and that was something, too. I got my rental car, tossed my bag in the trunk, and pulled out onto open road.

It was a time when only the rich and famous had GPS systems and I was neither. And my mobile phone, like everyone’s mobile phone, was only good for making phone calls. But I had Harlan’s map on my knee and I figured he was better than average at everything else so why should giving directions be any different?

I figured wrong. Of course Harlan would say I just don’t know how to follow directions and maybe that’s true, too, but either way I ended up lost in Sherman Oaks.

If you’ve never been to Sherman Oaks, imagine long, narrow, treacherous ski slopes covered in blacktop that slant at 90-degree angles and turn on a dime at breakneck speeds if you’re doing better than 7 m.p.h.  Stop your near-vertical vehicle on one of those perilous inclines to ask the occasional jogging passerby for directions and you’re just as likely to hear, “No problemo—turn right at Richard Dryfuss’s house” as “Sorry, buddy, I’m just visiting.” So I was frustrated, but it was still sunny out and I did have that good-for-phoning cellular, which was indicating a whole two bars of range. So I dialed the Oracle.

“I’ll guide you in,” said Harlan after I explained my dilemma. And he did just that, turn by turn, over hill and dale, until I found myself riding my breaks down what seemed like an endless drop and fearful that I’d hit a bump and go flying and fall off the face of the earth.

By now I was hungry  and thirsty and the headache had gone from a throb to a thump. I needed a drink and I needed to pee and my ears were beginning to itch. Ahead of me, in the middle of the road, was a site that assured me my eyes, too, were off kilter.

“Are you still there?” I asked the phone.

“Yeah, where are you?”

“I think I might be on your street but it looks like there’s there’s an old lunatic in his underwear standing in the middle of the road, talking on a phone.”

I pulled up to the man and rolled down my window.

“Fuck you,” said Harlan.