September 15 - Had good day, I did. Delinio mucho caricaturo. Nice peoples, and many. Then WOMP Staffed with me at olde tyme railroade ride. Losta cool. Then eating, we did, at middle o' Iowa. Fried food is yum. Then sleeps I so must grab. So many tireds I have, that me think-brain has the trouble what with the smart making. I'm four-thirds in sleepyville now. Nite nite. Here "Crusty Bunker" of The Day - Terry Austin!
September 16 - YOWZA! Just as my month-long look into The Lives and Time of Crusty Bunker hits the midway point, one of those "Lives" has stepped out from the crowd (and the mists of time) to offer a comment! Yes, Michael Netzer (who was the Crusty Bunker of The Day for the 9th), has generously offered this -
Excellent and overdue exposition on one of comics' more enigmatic inkers, John. Your escapades are delightful and your research of the period fascinating.
Wow! I'd say that I'm speechless, but, well, we all know that's as untrue as it is inaccurate (I am, after all, typing this, not "speeching" it). As long-time readers of The WOMP-Blog may remember, Mr. Netzer, known as Mike Nasser back in the day, is one of my favorite artists of all time. I still see his Aquaman when I think of the character, I collected the oddball series Kobra based solely on his involvement, and his version of J'onn J'onzz inspired my decades-long fixation with drawing The Martian Manhunter. Assuming that Mr. Netzer was not being sarcastic, this is a crazy-awesome day for me...especially considering that Mr. Netzer may be the most ethereal, if not controversial, of all sixty-plus Crusty Bunkers. I remember well his sudden departure from the comics scene. I was just a kid, but I felt like I had lost one of my heroes...only temporarily, it now seems. In a move (and mood) that still confuses and confounds his pre-1977 acquaintances, "Mike Nasser" left behind the world of Neal Adams and New York City and comic book deadlines and Crusty Bunker (curiously, right about when Crusty "died"). Mr. Nasser went on a spiritual quest for peace that led him to the Middle East, home of his ancestors...and frontline in the conflict among three of the world's great religions. There, transformed by his experiences, "Michael Netzer" emerged from the cocoon, filled with a new sense of purpose, and a personal realization that, for him, it was all connected; comics, religion, conflict, peace. Yes, he eventually returned to comics (remember that cool Huntress series of the mid 1990's? That was drawn by Mr. Netzer!), but his latest calling has been to utilize the Internet to promote his vision of what comics could be. All of this may seem strange to some, confusing to others, and far from ordinary to everyone, but his message is something about which I've blogged here many times (and in energetic discussions with several O.F.O.WOMPs, especially Eric Gillitzer, many more times). On his web-site, this is how Mr. Netzer sums up his credo (presented in a form that echoes the "S" emblem on Superman's chest, I might add) -
"Within the myriad of communications systems,
divided and scattered on the face of world cultures,
one small beleaguered industry remains ever faithful
to the message of goodwill, courage and hope.
An industry and an art form that continues
to ferment the strong and bright hope
of the greatest creative minds
for inspiring and for saving
our troubled world."
I think he's right. For whatever else Mr. Netzer has ever done or said, I hope that history will prove him right. In my own, teensy-tiny comics "career," I've tried to promote that ideal, even before I knew that anyone beyond myself felt the same way. So, now my childhood hero has returned, becoming something of an adulthood hero as well. Plus, he wrote to me! How cool is that?! Thank you, Mr. Netzer, for everything! Here's your "Crusty Bunker" of The Day - Bob Wiacek!