I had planned on reviewing the John Carter film here, but my wife and I got a late start and never made it to the matinee. (Sorry, I’m too cheap to pay full price. We could have made it to the 3-D version but again, too cheap. And frankly, I’ve seen maybe three 3-D films that I thought were worth the extra dough and hassle.)
I also intended to talk about the passing of Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, as well as Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff, but the one vital quote and art I wanted to use for Moebius I couldn’t find, nor could I find my notes on Shelly from his excellent Batman panel at San Diego–after over a half hour of searching at 1AM. I figured I could either do a half-ass job and wing it, or just wait to do something decent. I opted for the latter as I figure accuracy and thoroughness is preferred over timeliness–unless, of course, it’s the news!
So since I’ve done lists before, I thought of something interesting. I started a spreadsheet to list all the artists, writers and “famous” people I’ve met over the years. The older I get, the more I forget, so wouldn’t it be cool to have a complete list in one location, rather than having to go through autographs, convention programs and photos?
First, I started with just artists and writers in comics. Figured I’d just list those I remembered off the top o’ me noggin, then go and check my autographed comics and past convention programs later. So far, the list is over 150 names. Not bad for an ancient like me who has trouble remembering where he put his glasses ten minutes ago.
Of course, with the passing of Shelly and so many of the industry greats in the recent past, I started thinking about who I haven’t yet met. And among those names are those I want to meet and those I really couldn’t care less one way or the other. (Referring only to those still around, of course. The list of dead folks I wish I could have met would take up a small phone book.)
Sounds like a blog post to me! So without any additional ado:
ARTISTS I’D STILL LIKE TO MEET (in no particular order):
- Steve Ditko (Love his work, not his philosophy; one of my first influences and early favorites, thanks to his “monster” stuff with Stan Lee reprinted in the ‘70s. His character The Creeper is one of my favorite DC types of all time. And yes, I know I’d have an easier chance meeting the President!)
- David Boswell (Two words: Reid Fleming. Major inspiration for my character Bru-Hed. His art (David’s, not Bru’s) is surpassed only by his comedy.)
- Jack Davis (One of the best ever! EC, MAD, Odd Rod cards, countless sports and Time illustrations, you name it. Major influence. Really nice guy. I talked to his rep when I was in advertising and was sent a first day cover of Jack’s Post Office stamp. And I think Jack showed up in San Diego for one of the EC/MAD tribute panels, but didn’t have a table. Argh!)
- Mort Drucker (Best living caricaturist, one of MAD’s greatest artists, and a helluva comics artist/storyteller.)
- Any other living MAD artists from the 70s and earlier that are still with us. (Paul Peter Porges, Bob Clarke…)
(I’d also like to meet a bunch of the writers like Dick DeBartolo and Nick Meglin, but I’m trying to keep this list to artists for brevity.)
- Nelson Dewey (He did wonderful work in CARtoons magazine when I was a kid; we’ve emailed a few times but never met. He generously sent me a page of art he did for the Flintstones which I cherish. Unfortunately he’s up in Canada and rarely gets to the States.)
- Scott Adams (I found copies of his 1990s–mostly text–hardcovers, The Dilbert Principle and The Dilbert Future, and his writing is ungodly hilarious and uncomfortably poignant at the same time. How one person can come up with that much cogent comedy astounds me.)
- Mike Ploog (Who wouldn’t want to meet the co-creator of Marvel’s Ghost Rider, Werewolf By Night and Frankenstein? Not to mention the storyboard artist of one my top ten films of all time, John Carpenter’s The Thing! He’s capital Awesome.)
- Jim Starlin (Cheating a bit here–I met him decades ago but want to meet him again as an older adult, as I’ve a bunch of questions about his time in Detroit, Dr. Weird, technique and so on. His Captain Marvel and Warlock especially were great parts of my childhood and another influence.)
- Stephan Pastis (Cheating again–my wife and I met him at the Charles Schulz Museum, where he’s been on the board, but we had NO idea who he was and had never read his strip! Of course, within a few months we bought the first Pearls Before Swine treasuries and have been hooked ever since–easily the Best Comic Strip This Century So Far. Ugh! Talk about blowing a big brush with the best! He asked me if I was a cartoonist and I told him about my silly online strip, Game BUZZ, not realizing I should have been asking him a million questions and gushing about his greatness. I probably would have drooled on his shoes or spit on his chest–he’s like seven feet tall–so maybe it’s a good thing.)
- Darby Conely, Vic Lee, Dan Piraro (Of my other favorite current strips in the local paper, Get Fuzzy, Pardon My Planet and Bizarro).
- Chris Ware (Didn’t like the interview he gave to The Comics Journal years ago as he came off very snobby, but his skill is impeccable and I’d love to pick his ample brain. And sign my Acme Novelty Library comics, of course.)
- Joe Sinnott (One of the Silver Age greats, and Jack Kirby’s greatest inker. Who wouldn’t have him on their list?)
- Joe Giella (Another Silver Age great–must be something with guys named Joe!)
- Alex Ross (Not a major fan but I’m in awe of his accomplishments and success.)
- Drew Friedman (Unbelievable technique, usually very funny and brilliant work.)
- Syd Mead (Incredible designer and futurist, Blade Runner visualizer, impressive intellect, amazing body of work. I have half a gazillion questions. And I want him to sign one of my books and posters!)
There’s probably another dozen I can’t recall at the moment but the above would be a good start!
Of course, there are those I haven’t met but don’t really care too, mostly because of their views, work or interviews/articles I’ve read:
- Alan Moore (Not an artist but he often acts like one.)
- Ted Rall
- Dan Perkins (aka “Tom Tomorrow”)
- Rob Liefeld
- S. Clay Wilson (I bought an “adults only” copy of Bicentennial Grossouts #1 when I was an impressionable teenager and his particularly nasty story messed me up for a long time–even though it was supposedly censored! I’ve wanted to wash an image off my brain ever since.)
- Art Spiegleman
- Trina Robbins
- Mike Hoffman
- Keith Giffen
The good thing is, none of those folks care or have the faintest idea who the hell I am, so at least I’ll never have to worry about crossing paths!
Lastly, I’d like to leave you with a suggestion to make your own list of who you’d like to meet, and do your best to do so while those names are still here. Even if your “meeting” is on Facebook, email or through a hand-scrawled letter, it’s better than reading another obituary and saying “I wish.” Life’s too short. It’s more fun to make a longer list of “I did”!
Now, who would you like to meet? Or not? Feel free to say so in the “Comments” section below.
P.S.: Isn’t it time to add an original art commission from yours truly to your “I did” list? No time like the present–I could get crushed by space debris next week. Do it now! Just ask Craig here.