Comic book Babylon
In the gossip columns, this is called a “blind item.” Dirt without a lawsuit.
But, I saw it, and I am a camera. Or, at least a radio.
What A-list star threw an N-list, cripple, small-time-star up against two elevator doors because he lent the Big-Time-Star’s daughter twenty dollars earlier that day?
What B-list star shook his crying baby so hard that it caused brain damage?
What B-list star brought two thugs to a freelancer’s house to intimidate him into giving back a pencil-rate when the job was simply breakdowns?
What B-artist whined to Marvel because the government had seized his checks due to neglected back child-support, that he didn’t have any children.
What artist showed-up at what other Comic star’s home to retrieve an old mattress, only to meet the guy’s girlfriend at the door with a black eye? And have the whole thing explained, by a shirtless artist with an English accent, “I’m WORKING!”
What two creators got into a fist-fight, in a broken-into apartment, because the inker wouldn’t respond to deadline calls?
What B-artist borrowed fifty bucks and a record player from his then-girlfriend, then moved to NYC the next morning? The girlfriend arrived at the mother’s house at sunset, only to be told, “No, he left for New York this morning.”
Did I also mention that he “borrowed” $50 from her, “catch you up next week.”
What A-list artist screwed a C-list artist’s wife in the hallway of his studio, and caused a divorce?
What G-list artist was almost thrown out of Jack Kirby’s birthday party in San Diego because he was doing blow off of the guest table, in plain sight?
What B-list artist called me out of the blue and asked if he’d ever insulted me? Hmmm, this coke-fiend is now in a twelve-step program.
What NYC promoter engineered the theft of a great deal of Comic art from D.C., and then smiled in their faces and shook their hands, two weeks later later at his show?
What ex-Marvel editor invited Jack Kirby to his home, and acted innocent while Jack inspected the empty spaces of the wall where pictures had hung the day before?
What silver-haired artist regularly stole art from his employers, then tried to laugh it of when Jim Starlin called him on it?
What B-artist regularly stole art from Marvel Comics, then denied that he had any children?
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap?
Who caused his boy brain damage?
What B-artist was so lazy that he copied another artist work, panel for panel, and then billed for it? While stealing the same artist’s work for Fantastic Four #38 scant years before?
What Marvel editor was fired for throwing chairs around his office, and got a job at D.C. one week later?
Who masterminded the theft of Jack Kirby’s art so the company wouldn’t have to return it, and, in some way admitting he had a claim on their characters?
What Marvel editor was fired around the same time, then re-hired a few weeks later for his part in it? “Thick as..”
Who stole Sol Harrison’s Foster TARZAN page during a DC move?
What top senior D.C. editor smoked pot with Billie Holiday in 1940, just because it was the chance of a lifetime?
What artist smoked pot with Timothy Leary, and almost got arrested together, with Leary grinning ear to ear and asking “Is this a bust?”
That would be me.
What A-list artist was seen at a Toronto Comics con, on the floor, drewling from an L.S.D. trip? If your fans could see you now.
Who’s sorry for all of the grief I’ve caused? Certainly me, and I hope, them.
On being a Comic Artist
When you’re a Comic creator, you are the king or queen of the universe. Like the novelist, it’s the last refuge of the one-man-band. Take it or leave it, I created it all. Myself, I never have to say that. I publish my own books. I never have to wait for four other people to say yes or no. And so it with the Comics autuer. Freed from the confines of any studio system, the creator develops it, offers it, and if rejected may publish it themselves.
Like the American ethic, freedom reigns in the Comics. How big a set do we need? Big. Priceless. What actors do we need. Well known. Priceless. Any trouble from the suits? No? Priceless. DO you do exactly what you want to do? Yes. Priceless.
Financial matters, and the White men who run them are not a consideration to the independent Comic artist.