Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A continuation of my e-mail correspondence with the artist who did the covers to my books oh, so many years ago, who I just found.

Dear Duncan,

I'm Romas' wife, Allison, and I must tell you this little thing about Star Axe: You mention not noticing the ethereal head on the slab before your great warrior. That little element - not called for by the art directors but inspired by your manuscript - was Romas' first leap into interpreting the books he read, as opposed to simply painting what he was told. He managed to maintain that level of communication betweenwriter and artist for 27 years. Oh, and our son, Guy, made us turn the painting to the wall until he was 10, thanks to the ghostly head you missed! He's now 14 and will get a huge kick out of "Frog Axe".

It is interesting but not surprising that you've heard of the "Goofyfoot Gurl" series, but I was surprised you discovered it in a blog only yesterday. What blog was it and how/why did you find your way there? Are you familiar with PreTeena?

Since I have you and we're on my favourite subject: What comics/books/graphic novels do you love/hate? If you have time, I'd genuinely like to know. I grew up reading illicit, hidden Playboys in our drunken neighbor's garage; I used to tear out all the full-page colour comics and kept a portfolio of styles and jokes, beginning when I was about eight or nine years old. I loved the simple reduction of line (the rosy-cheeked fat exec in bed with the bursting ingenue: He says: "Of course I share everything with you -- that's a Mouton Cadet de Rothschild 1948 . . . ").

Does Pegasus of Bend stock the Vertigo series of graphic novels ("Lucifer", "100 Bullets", "Sandman")? I was and remain a big fan of "100 Bullets" and think it would make a fine TV drama for a cable company like Showtime or HBO.

Thank you for letting me blab about comics. My life-long aspiration is also my passion, and I love to exchange opinions (the more spirited the better) about the genre.

We will recover the paintings for your books. Ro is meticulous about preservation - not so much about cataloging. I think I know where they are.


To which I answered:

Well, howdy, Allison!

Yeah, I carry all kinds of books. Full runs of Lucifer, 100 Bullets, in fact every Vertigo title in print, I think. I try to have every good book I can find. I do lots of cartoon books, fantasy art, children's books (Where the Wild Things Are...), Edward Gorey, Silverstein, and lots and lots of pin up books. Think Bud Plant in a store. It's kind of a strange mix; packed into a very busy downtown tourist area, in a very active but isolated tourist area.

My wife, Linda, who I met in a writer's group 25 years ago, owns a used bookstore, called the Bookmark. She sticks strictly to used books, whereas I'll carry anything that interests me.

Lately, I've started carrying regular fiction, of course, science fiction and fantasy, but also anything else that catches my eye. The beatnik authors, Kerouac, Burroughs, the hip new authors, Palanhiuk, Eggers, the cult authors, Phillip K. Dick, Lovecraft, hippie authors, Robbins and Vonnegut. Just anything I think will catch the casual browser.

I have thousands of art books, which because of lack of space, are mostly carried spine out -- pretty ridiculous and hard to sell. I just consider them my collection until they sell, I guess.

I sort of threw out trying to choose which subjects to carry a while back.

I'll try to find Frog Axe for you, and get it scanned. Your son might get a kick out if.

I'm not very technical. I'm very, very active blogging -- it's where I can get my writing jones fixed. But you'll see it's all words.

Is your strip an online strip? Forgive me for not knowing -- but even our little art world is huge, if you know what I mean.

Haven't delved into the online strips, yet.

I check out Comics Reporter, Journalistic, and the Beat every day....that's probably where I heard about Goofyfoot Gurl. Ironically, I had just put the title into the notebook I keep by the computer of stuff I need to buy for the store.

Also not real conscious of current strips.

My favorites. I tend to look for authors more than artists. Garth Ennis, Gaiman, Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, the usual. But I have very broad taste, and nothing is out of bounds.

I love kind of guiding people off the street from the material they recognize, the the material they've heard of, to the material that seems familiar, to the material that is slightly out of their comfort zone, and onward.

Like I said, check out my blog, Best Minimum Wage Job a Middle Aged Guy Ever Had, if you want to know where my head is.

Thanks for looking for the paintings...I can't wait.



And later;

Dear Allison,

Wow. Good stuff. Looked it up. I'm pretty sure our local paper doesn't carry your strip, the Bend Bulletin, and most every other paper I read online. I'll check tomorrow, for sure.

I get the bulk of my material from Diamond comics, but use Baker and Taylor every week now as well. I'll check for your books first thing tomorrow.

Sorry I wasn't up on your work. It looks interesting.


And then this morning:

hello, ramos and allison,

The picture a bit sun-faded, because it was above my desk for years. I hope this is a big enough scan.� Maybe you can touch up the colors.

Our friend, Brad Lesher did this. (Sorry, don't know how to get it on the blog, folks.)

In a rather amazing coincidence, I had come across a review of Goofyfoot Gurls the very morning of the day I e-mailed you. Considering that I browse dozens of sites a day, and ignore most of them, I find it fascinating that I had written down the title in my notebook to order. I found it on a site called; Occasional Superheroine. And I noticed that Journalistica has a link.

I've got PreTeena bookmarked now.



1 comment:

Jason said...

Good sir, this is very cool! I'd love to see the originals when (if?) you get them.