Thursday, June 22, 2006

Another life goal met.

Dean Zirmer of Leeds says: Having read the Ironhide Tom comic you released on Free Comic Book day, I decided, on a whim, to get a tattoo.

Bravo, Dean! I applaud both your taste and decisiveness.

And, for those keeping score at home...
Life goals achieved:
1. Know the loving touch of a woman.
2. Meet Will Eisner.
3. Know the loving touch of another, slightly taller woman.
4. Have someone out there like one of my comics enough to get a tattoo of one of my characters!

Life goals yet to be achieved:
1. Get positively reviewed by the New York Times.
2. Develop my own martial arts fighting style called "Sleeping Tiger Ink Fu."
3. Retire to Italy.
4. Have someone out there like my comics enough to get a full bodysuit of tattoos of my characters! (Hint, hint, Dean.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Magellan pt. 3

The mutiny depicted in this story is hardly the only one that Magellan ever faced. If I learned anything researching this story, it was that Magellan was basically a dick. Every group of people he ever came into contact with tried to kill him. I mean everyone: his own countrymen, his adopted countrymen, just about every crew he ever sailed with, and certainly most of the natives he encoutered in his travels.

The first time a mob screams for you blood, you can say "It's them." The second time a mob screams for you blood, you can probably still say "It's them." When you're up to your fifth or sixth bloodthirsty mob, buddy, it's you.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Magellan pt. 2

My narrator for this story is Antonio Pigafetta, who was basically along for the ride as a tourist on Magellan's expedition. He was the sensible choice, because he (a) actually kept a journal during the voyage, and (b) survived to the end. This last point disqualified my preferred choice for narrator, a slave named (if I recall correctly) Juan. Juan was from Malaysia, and Magellan picked him up in Africa to provide local knowledge during the journey. Since Juan had already made the Malaysia-to-Africa leg of the journey before the Spaniards even got started, he was, officially, the first man to circumnavigate the globe. But the Malays didn't write the history books, which is why we've never heard of him.

A sign of how rushed I was on this job was that I didn't have time to work out a composition that would have allowed me to draw the creatures described by Cartagena.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Magellan pt. 1

Continuing the comics I made for McGraw-Hill, here is the stroy of Magellan's trip around the globe.

I can't make many claims to being an Iron Man, but this comic is one of them. The six pages of this comic were completed in one weekend... along with another ten page story! Sixteen pages in three days! That's Jack Kirby level production, brother! Granted, the ten page story was one of my stick figurey ones, and I'm not terribly proud of the art in this McGraw-Hill story, but forget quality! Glory in my quantity! Sixteen pages!

How fast was I moving on these pages? So fast I forgot to put a title on the above, uhm, title page. I don't know what McGraw-Hill ended up naming this story, and am pretty mystified that they didn't call me out on this.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Carlton Kendrick Mathes, 1913-2006

I recenty had the privledge to sit at my grandfather's bedside during the last two weeks of his life. The circumstances of his death are, I think, to be envied. At 92 he was still playing tennis several times a week. He could drive himself around town and handle his own finances. The night before he entered the hospital, he went on a date and to a poker game. When the end came, it was relatively rapid: after a silent heart attack, he became very confused because he was no longer able to get enough blood to his brain. He had about two weeks of occassional lucidity, during which he was able to greet family and friends. Everyone got to say all the things one would like to say on such an occassion. Then he went to sleep for a week. We should all be so lucky.

The lovely wife and I got to be there for his last moment of lucidity, during which we ate tapioca and talked about his summer cottage in Connecticut. But I missed his death while having dinner with my younger brother.

Carl was born in 1913 in Terryville, Connecticut. He loved history, and had a particular admiration for Abraham Lincoln. In emulation of Lincoln, he decided to become an attorney, pushing himself through college in three years so that his family would be able to afford schooling for his younger siblings as well, and then going on to Harvard Law. At a Govenor's Ball he met Doris, a girl from a small town in Connecticut who was now living the adventurous life on her own in New York City. They eloped. During World War Two, Carl served in the FBI, where, among other things, he learned about the Atom Bomb before then-Vice President Truman. He and Doris had a daughter, who in turn had three grandsons.

Every kid should have a grandfather like Carl. He was never self-concious in his enjoyment of children, and eagerly shed his role as a respected member of the community to goof around with us. I loved going to visit him at his cottage during the summers. We would go out in his boat and pull lobster pots every morning. He took me to Mystic Seaport and taught me about whaling. He tried to teach me tennis and the Gettysburg Address. During the winters, he and Gram would come down to Virginia and take us to Civil War battlefields, or up to the museums in Washington, DC.

He put my brothers and I through college. And not just us. Gramp never forgot the difference education made in his life, and he made sure that many others got that opportunity.

He was a remarkable man, and a big part of who I am. I'll miss him very much.