comics club


A couple of weeks ago Runaway Comics Technical Assistant Brigham Martin and I did indeed go hang out with Colin and his chums, just like we said we might. It was cool. We drove up to a charming town in New Hampshire in the rain and met in a charming cafeteria in a charming bookshop. I can't remember the name of any of the places, but the people above are Colin and Brigham, Blake, Ryan and Bill, and Something Bjork. I can't remember his first name. My brain got stuck on the Bjork part. My picture is not in there because I had the camera. And who wants to look at me again anyway? Enough already!

So anyway, we all met in this bookstore where Ryan manages the comics section, and the place was closed so we had the whole place to ourselves. So we got to relax and draw and hang out, and putter around in the comics. I found a copy of the Raw, Boiled and Cooked catalog marked down to 7 bucks, so I got it. I'm in the darn thing and I only had one copy! Now I have 2!

Ryan also publishes, along with his wife, Moo-Cow Fan Club. We talked about maybe publishing "The Dot", a dot-to-dot comic I created but that I could not convince Disney Adventures or Nickelodeon to publish, in Moo-Cow Fan Club. Dude, it's a total no-brainer! It's awesome! You just know kids are going to love it! And so forth and so on, but when push came to shove Moo-Cow Fan Club rejected The Dot. One day, The Dot will live, and Disney and Nickelodeon and Moo-Cow Fan Club will self-flagellate, just like all of the fools who turned down Harry Potter.

Smashing good fun. I put the finishing touches on the cover for Runaway #2 while the other guys drew. I got a great hamburger from the charming diner next door that I cannot remember the name of.

and now - some replies to some replies!

eeTeeD said...
good old days and the 70's are two things that do NOT go together

RHoward said...
Your current audience might just be a bit too Hoity Toity to appreciate my particular brand of red-neck reminiscing.

Now I say...
eeTeeD ain't hoity toity, he's just a grouch. But this time I have to agree with him. The 70s were lame. It ain't your fault, Ardell. Some things were great, like that Todd concert, and Martin Lee yelling "Run! She's gonna blow!!!" But overall, the 70s sucked.


Bill Anderson said (offline)...
My recent purchase of Runaway Comic #1 (my one-and-only, moratorium-breaking, pamphlet purchase of this century) got me riffling through my collection re-reading your work, where I could recall it appearing. What I was wondering was, do you have any plans on putting up a bibliography of your work, so I can dig out books you appeared in that I've forgotten about?

This question comes up from time to time, and I have always had to say "sorry, no" - until now! I'm soon going to start posting my bibliography, including actual comics and/or illustrations from the listed material, on a semi-regular basis at panel-to-panel.net. I'm afraid it won't be going up in any chronological order, or any other order for that matter. Just one or two pieces at a time as I drag it all out from the catacombs. I'll announce it here when that thing is up and running.

Also, are any of your online comics going to be reappearing on your site like Marky Mark Britches did?

I honestly don't know that right now.

HEY! Did you really break your moratorium for Runaway? GAWRSH! Thanks!

18 comments:

eeTeeD said...

hoity toity???!!!! they don’t come any lower than me....... err “I”
everything about the 70’s sucked. i grew up in a steel town in the 70’s. there was a time when our steel mill was the biggest and most important on the planet. when you graduated from school you were pretty much guaranteed a job there. but the management of the mill got greedy and so did the workers. they gave themselves huge raises and goofed off. by the end of the 70’s the steel mill was pretty much dead, and my generation was left to scrounge for jobs with much lower pay/benefits/security/etc.
i remember gas being rationed and gas prices soaring in the 70’s. i remember pollution getting out of control, and the population getting out of control. i remember music turning into disco, and clothes turning into polyester. i remember the QUALITY of everything going downhill in the 70’s. remember those big square ugly cars that detroit was making in the 70’s? and how they were so poorly made that japan stole the auto market away from them?
worst of all for me was that CARTOONS really sucked in the 70’s. filmation garbage. hanna barbera trash. suddenly cartoons had to have messages and morals. comic books got lame old and tired. printing prices soared and killed the underground comics industry.
sorry, but if i had a choice of what era to grow up in, i definitely would not have picked the 70’s.

Colin Tedford said...

-The town: Peterborough, NH
-The store: Toadstool Books
-The eatery within the store (though it's hard for me to think of it as having a separate identity): Aesop's Cafe.
-The first name of the fellow within the cafe, whose last name was Bjork: James (I think).

I don't know the Diner's name, and in any case it would break the inward progression established in naming the other things.

Moo Cow said no to The Dot? Does Moo Cow have Mad Cow?

Anyway, thanks for coming up and making a fun time even more fun! It will be a semi-regular thing when I work out a schedule w/ Ryan.

Anonymous said...

Hey! We didn't outright reject the Dot! I loved the actual comic! It's just being a theme based magazine we need to have comics match the theme. And I just couldn't think of a way to relate Superheroes doing dot-to-dots to Weather, Westward Expansion or Australia (our next 3 themes).

Anyway, I hope The Dot doesn't feel like the lonliest girl at the prom. Either someone else will ask it to dance, or we will someday.

It was great meeting you, you guys should come up and visit again.

Oh and

Town: Peterborough
Bookshop: Toadstool
Cafe: Aesop's Tables

Take Care,
Ryan (Moo-Cow)

eeTeeD said...

now that you are working with fantagraphics, please use your cartoonist super-powers and find out/ share info on cartoonist mark armstrong.

issue #2 of charlton bullseye had a story entitled rocket rabbit by artist mark
armstrong.

i was very impressed by his work, but was never able to find out anything about
him.

i know he went on to do the amazing spider-ham comic for marvel, and few small things at fantagraphics.


since he did work at fantagraphics, and you are now dealing with the people who published his work, you should be able to track down this mystery cartoonist w/o any problem!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, eteed and Mark! It just sounded like Ron was remembering fondly some personal experiences that he had in his youth and it had nothing to do with the decade. Did you guys sit around crying about the state of the world from 1970 to 1980? Did nothing worth reminiscing about happen in your lives during that time?

Marky Mark said...

HAR! I hardly ever talk to those FG guys, and when I do it is just to beg or whine or complain. And if Mark Anderson DID work at Fantagraphics, but is not currently WORKING at Fantagraphics, I doubt if they still exchange birthday cards, or if they even know how to get in touch with him, or even remember him. My cartoonist super-power is the power of FAILURE!

eeTeeD said...

mark ARMSTRONG !
even though he worked briefly in comics, people who worked with him are still active in the comic book industry. surely there are people out there who remember him, and have insights to share on this forgotten talent.

Benny said...

Pumpie! Pumpie! I just got in from Fairhope playing a wedding reception with volutptous bridesmaids and crab cakes.
I "followed the links" to the story of y'all going to the Todd Rundgren concert.

I WAS THERE!! I WAS THERE!! He was great the first half. I didn't give a shit that he was with a tape. That's the way he made his records! He was kind of goofy the way he would bend over at the waist and kind of lurch while he sang, and his black tights with blue amoebas on it were the GINCHIEST!

Then the second set Utopia came out. They were heavy, man! HEAVVVEEEEE!!
And speaking of HEAVY! There was a girl we went to high school with who was FAT, like SO FAT she wore bedsheets with holes cut in the top. And she was a hippie, too. She was at that concert, and I remember her kind of sitting on the arms of the chair because she couldn't get all the way in the seat. It was funny then. Kind of one of those "There but for the grace of God" kind of moments.

AND NOW I ARE ONE!


Your friend,
Benny

SRBissette said...

I loved the 70s -- drive ins showed insane movies, the horror that was high school ended ('73) and I savored my college years (two at Johnson State in northern VT, two at the Kubert School), where I made my best friends for decades. Heck, I had sex for the first time (and liked it), underground comix were still floating around, the Deuce was still festering (42nd St. to you), I published my first comics, brains/eyes/lives were ravaged by the likes of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, ERASERHEAD, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD/I EAT YOUR SKIN, Cronenberg entered the scene with some kick-ass movies, Stan Brakhage and underground flicks were roaming Vermont, I got to live for a time in New Mexico, had lots of peyote and mushrooms, bonded with my cartooning buds of yore, etc.

The '80s, man. Now, those sucked. Still, though, my kids were born, I got to draw SWAMP THING, horror movies were booming -- ah, every decade sucks and does not suck. That's just the fact of it.

Mark Armstrong said...

eeTeeD,what would you like to know about me? (Yeah, I googled my name.)

eeTeeD said...

mr. armstrong,
thank you so much for replying to my comment. i’m in shock. this is like a dream come true for me. you have no idea.
issue #2 of charlton bullseye is sitting here on my desk next to my ‘puter. i fib you not.
what i would like to know about you:
WHO- is mark armstrong? what is your personal/professional/educational bio/background?
WHAT- is the reason you stayed in comics for such a short time?
HOW- did you get your start in comics?
did you feel about the (what i would deem) inadequate inking that others did on your work while at marvel comics?
WHERE- are you “AT” as an artist today?
WHEN- will be seeing more of your work?
WHY- didn’t you finish the jack bunny comic you started at fantagraphics?

please let me say this to you:
your art has both touched and inspired me. you are an incredibly talented artist. i wish that you had stayed in comics, and that there was of more of your work for me to enjoy.

i should be asking/saying much more, but i find myself at a loss for words.

thank you for creating such wonderful art!

tom d.

RHoward said...

Hmmm...something smells fishy here. I can't help but notice that Mark Armstrong has only been a blogger since May 2006 (about the time someone inquired about him) and that he list no pertinent biographical info whatsoever...hmmm

Anonymous said...

rhoward,

I'm reminded of the time shortly after that issue of Critters came out with the airbrush cover I did. I walked into a comics shop that I was visiting for the first time, and noticed that the back cover of The Comics Journal was using that airbrush Critters cover as part of a house ad. I pointed out to the proprietor that I had done that artwork. The proprietor of the comic shop told me he didn't believe me--pretty much called me a liar. I didn't feel any need to argue the point. I didn't pull out my driver's license. I didn't have anything to prove to him. I just shrugged my shoulders and decided not to hang out at his store.

I'm giving eeteed the longer version of the answers to his questions in private emails.

Short versions, for everyone else:

1. I got my BFA in drawing at SMSU in the late 1970's.

2. Things didn't work out.

3. I got my start by doing fanzine stories. That opened the door to Charlton, and Charlton opened the door to Marvel.

4. Joe Albelo was my only inker at Marvel. Although he did add some muscles to Spider-Ham that weren't in the original pencils, and added some brick textures on one occassions, he was generally very faithful to the pencils--perhaps a little too faithful. The pencils tended to get kind of loose & sloppy as I struggled to meet the Marvel deadlines, and the pencils could have used some tightening. However, Joe was concientious in trying to preserve what was originally there.

5. My art skills are a little rusty at the moment. However, I took a refresher drawing course and a watercolor painting course about six years back, and proved to myself that I can knock the rust off within the space of a 16-week semester. At the end of those two classes I was doing artwork as good as, or better than, ever.

6. You will be seeing more of my work when and if I can ever find the time to do it. It might not be funny animal work, though.

7. I didn't keep up the serial I had started because I was fixiated on trying to get back into the mainstream companies. That, and some other stuff I don't feel like getting into on this forum.

eeTeeD said...

mark a,

many thanks for your e-mails to me!
#1- a quick question- didn't marie severin ink some of your work while at marvel?
#2- my caustic opinion.... i wasn't happy with the marvel staff's inks on your work. it just wasn't as good as your own inking.

Anonymous said...

#1 No, not that I recall. However, she did do some preliminary sketches of her own version of Peter Porker before I had a shot at the character. (I was not Marvel's 1st choice for that assignment.)

#2 Not everyone has the patience to ink in every blade of grass. Also, when I ink my own work, I continue tightening and refining as I ink. I was taught in school that artwork never reaches a point of final completion--it merely reflects the point at which you decided to stop. I put a lot more time and labor into the fanzine stories and the Charlton story than I had time for at Marvel. Marvel always wanted things yesterday. I was using No-Doze and diet pills to stay awake the full time I was at Marvel.

Anonymous said...

I should hasten to point out that Joe Albelo did ink "every blade of grass" that was in the pencils of Peter Porker stories. But when I inked "Rocket Rabbit," I added every blade of grass as I inked.

eeTeeD said...

mr. armstrong,

i hope you have been getting the e-mails i have been sending you. i can't send to your 2 addies for some reason.

Anonymous said...

eeteed,

I've been gotten your most recent emails sent to my work address. My home internet is still down. My work computer is a government computer that doesn't like web-based email.

And, lest there be any misunderstanding, there is something I should point out to anyone and everyone reading this thread:

Steve Skeates was always punctual with his scripts. I was always late with my pencils. Joe Albelo (my only inker at Marvel) had to work within the constraint of my chronic lateness, and probably would have produced better inks if I had met my deadlines. I was, and am, very satisfied with Joe's work.

One reason I haven't gotten back into the comics game yet is that I wanted to make sure I could crank the stuff out on a reliable and consistent basis before I made any fresh commitments.