October 3 - A decade! The WOMP Staff and I have been married for an entire decade, as of today, October 3. It doesn't seem like ten years (five or six, maybe). Still, I suppose I should do something special for her, right? Of course! Actually, I've got lots of stuff planned, including dinner and...gulp...jewelry. Yowza! Uh, on a completely unrelated note, I want to remind any of you WOMP-Blog readers from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that I will be selling...er, I mean attending the FallCon comic book convention this weekend. I'll have lots of new stuff for you to buy...uh, I mean look at. All at very reasonable prices. To "look at" it. Sigh. ANYHOO, back to the theme of "Forbidden" WOMP characters. Last night, I posted the name of Old Man Meriwether. While that means something to me, it probably means absolutely nothing to you until I explain just who the heck Old Man Meriwether is. To remedy this problem, which would otherwise persist all month, I have decided to temporarily invert the way I normally post the "...Of The Day" characters. Starting tomorrow, they will come at the beginning of the entry, instead of the end. Now, though, I'll get back to Old Man Meriwether. Already, as I've used his name just three times in the previous few sentences, you may see one of the reasons why he became "forbidden." His name alone definitely falls into the "Too Stupid" category. Created when I was about twelve, O.M.M. was one of a small stable of non-superhero characters that I attempted to develop. After several years of having drawn masked figures slugging each other, I guess I just thought I should try something else. The character grew from a sketch of a bald old man with a pointy long beard, whose face, then, resembled an ice cream cone. That's it. That's the whole thought process behind him. Many of my earliest characters came to me first as visual puns. I remember another who developed from the way that the closed-top numeral "4" reminded me of someone's legs as he leaned back against a wall, putting one foot on the wall as well. His name, not surprisingly, was Fourtney (a name so awful that it makes "Old Man Meriwether" sound positively Shakespearean). He never made it past that first drawing, but O.M.M. survived just long enough to make it into the Encyclopidia of John Mundt's Cartoon Characters and Names, an actual hand-drawn encyclopedia that I produced in about 1978. I quoted from it last night when I discussed Birilla. It's a great little bit of personal weirdness, as well as an invaluable tool into the mind of a thirteen year old kid. I still refer to it often (and expect to do so quite a bit this month). Here, for example, is what I wrote about O.M.M. -
Old Man Meriwether - old man in every body's past on the side of good.
I don't know whether you've picked up on that "side of good" thing. Back then, it was very important to me to categorize my characters squarely either on the side of "good" or that of "evil." There was no room for anything in between...except for when I described a character based on my cat, Grey Ghost, who was -
...on (I guess) the side of Grey Ghost (ussually good, but not always).
For those of you keeping score, that is the same cat who passed away right before I helped Dennis Jensen meet a deadline about fifteen years later (as I described in last month's WOMP-Bloggings). Grey Ghost, a blue-gray shorthaired cat known as "Kitty" for most of his life, was a great source of inspiration to me for nearly twenty years. He appeared in some of my grade school comic strips, in a special feature within Premium Comics #1 during high school, on the cover of the first mini-comic version of The Adventures of Monkey, and in T.A.O.M. #1 as part of a reprinting of that mini's cover. When he passed, though, I must admit that the joy of drawing him sort of passed as well. Plus, he was named after a copyrighted TV character from the 1960's, who, in turn, was based on a Confederate raider of The Civil War. The name alone carries too much unnecessary baggage. As a character, then, he joined the list of those who are now "forbidden." Tonight, I'll leave you with his name again as your "Forbidden" WOMP Character of The Day - Grey Ghost!