I’m saddened to hear about the passing of Murphy Anderson, at the age of 89. He was one of those artists whose work was so perfect that, when I was a young kid and reading my first comics, it never dawned on me that a human hand could be behind those pictures. They just had to magically roll off of a printing press somehow.
Eventually I got to meet Murphy and saw him once in a while, back when I was doing a few Superman stories for our mutual editor, Julius Schwartz. I never saw him without a coat and tie, and he was one of the more soft-spoken and unassuming giants I’ve met.
When Murphy learned I was from Cincinnati, he got as excited as I’d ever expect to find him. He recalled for me his past visits to Cincinnati, and in particular to the Ohio Book Store on Main Street, his area destination for buying vintage cartooning and art books.
At the time that I met him, Murphy was currently doing a series of stories featuring Golden Age characters for DC’s Secret Origins title, an assignment he said he really enjoyed.
Murphy inked one cover (pencils by Howard Bender) for a story I wrote, an Action Comics issue. That was a big fat checkmark on my bucket list, to be able to count him among my collaborators, but more importantly, to have been able to get to know him even just a bit.
Got these in the mail yesterday: The first two issues of a comic zine, The German Spider-Man, produced by my friend Peter Stangenberg, whom I first met at the Pittsburgh Comic Book Show in, I think, 2013. I LOVED finding these zines in my mailbox, as I so seldom receive stuff like this through the mail these days. Now it’s all online or down at the comics shop. But these take me back to my early fanzine-collecting days of Star-Studded Comics, Trumpet Magazine, Dallascon Bulletin, The Buyer’s Guide For Comics Fandom, The Comics Reader, Stan’s Weekly Express — all that stuff that had the smell of ‘homemade,’ the days before it all became too slick and institutionalized and the line between fan and pro became so blurred.
Anyway, Peter sent me these because I contributed some art for the April issue, and he was nice enough to feature me in an extensive interview for the August issue. My knowledge of the German language is nil, so reading the pages is a bit of a trick, but I love browsing and looking at the illustrations, and Peter’s love and enthusiasm for the subject matter comes through loud and clear. I have owned many of the comics, books and magazines pictured and discussed in the pages, so these issues of The German Spider-Man were a fun time capsule for me.
I’ll add additional links when I get them from Peter.
Continuing with my sketches from Cincinnati Comic Expo.
Jughead and Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #15 is in the stores currently, and for those who follow my work, this issue contains around eight of my Jughead stories — most of them illustrated by my trusty collaborator, Rex Lindsey, who always manages to get the most out of whatever humor is in the scripts with his linework.
Please note, there are a couple of incorrect credits on the stories in this issue, as is often the case in these digests. One of my Archie stories, “Unbalanced,” is incorrectly credited to my friend George Gladir. Sorry to saddle you with that, George! This story was drawn by Stan Goldberg, whom I only got the chance to partner with on rare occasions, and that’s probably a factor in how the credit got mixed up. This story has to do with a large piece of artwork, a metal mobile of the type designed by Alexander Calder. In this story, the artist’s name is Wilder.
And then I am credited with writing a story called “Showdown At the Mall,” which I did not write. The art on this one is by Doug Crane. To my knowledge, Doug and I have never been paired up on a story. I’m Guessing that George Gladir wrote this one. The title sounds like one of his.
Also of note is a story of mine called “Pop Goes Jughead!” I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of stories I’ve written where the plot was dictated to me by my editor, Victor Gorelick. But this is one of those. Victor had somehow ended up with a gadget that was designed to eat popcorn with — It was like a modified set of chopsticks — and he decided that a Jughead story could be written around the invention. He actually sent me one of these things to try out, and here is the story that resulted. In the story, I called them ‘Popcorn Pincers.’ I forget what they were known as in real life. Anyway, the Archie characters are such that you can give them any object and they can get into trouble with it for at least five pages, so no problem there.
Still in a Wes Craven frame of mind. Here’s my take on Ghostface from the Scream horror film series.
Keep an eye on my eBay sketch card listings. I think this one is scheduled to go up tonight.
Wes Craven, director of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, and so many other greats, passed away on my birthday, August 30. He was an Ohio boy, born in Cleveland.
I got to meet Robert Englund, who played Nightmare’s Freddy Krueger, very briefly this year, in the green room of Motor City Comic Con.
Good news! I’ve been given the opportunity to launch a graphic novel workshop, for aspiring or accomplished storytellers, at the Fairfield Community Arts Center in Fairfield, OH. I’m looking forward to seeing who comes through the door for this one. The idea is for people to bring in their work-in-progress, or ideas that haven’t launched yet, and we’ll bat them around a while and see if there’s some constructive input to be had. As such, the format will be very fluid, and shaped by who and what shows up. Should be fun!
Drop me a note if you’re considering joining, and are wondering if this is for you. Or contact the Fairfield Community Arts Center. There is NO ONLINE REGISTRATION. To join, contact the Community Arts Center at 513-867-5348.
Class times: Thursdays, Sept. 17- Oct. 8, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Fairfield Resident: $70, Nonresident: $75