February 8th, 2008

The Zombie

The Like of Brian

February 6 -  Let me tell you something; Brian Payne is both a great artist and great person (Hi, Brian!).  You long-time WOMP-Blog readers may recognize him as being one of the Official Friends of WOMP, mentioned often in the last few years.  I've tried to tell you about his wonderful artwork (including his new daily Natty Dreadlocks and The Bear on-line comic strip and his brilliant 24-Hour Comic), but I think it's time that I said publicly that he is also a wonderful person.  For example, after my morose post yesterday, he sent this nice e-note to me...

I think comics needs cartoonists of your caliber. Do what you have to do but don't scrap the "career". You're far more professional than I ever hope to be. I still enjoy your blog too. My Millionaire Comic Book Character of The Day- Ted Knight a.k.a., Starman (not the anchorman from the Mary Tyler Moore show).

I tell you this not to sneak in a positive comment about me, but to illustrate what a thoughtful person he is.  Events of this last month have put me in a blue mood, and he must have sensed that I needed a little encouragement.  Thank you so much, Brian.  You make me want to try to live up to your undeservedly glowing assessment.  Now it's time that I returned the favor.  I don't even know what "professional" is anymore, but I do know that your artwork is unconventional, yes...but also beautiful, quirky, and perfectly suited to your sensibilities.  The messages within your work - which is always quietly meaningful and consistently sly in it's simplicity - connect with me because of your unique style.  If moving away from that is "professional," I hope you never do it.  I don't know whether the world of comics really has any need for me, but it definitely needs your voice, and your vision.  And I don't say that to just to pay you back for your kind words.  I've been a reader, fan, student, and dilettante creator of comic books for over thirty-five years (starting when I was six, as best as I can tell).  I've seen thousands and thousands of them, which I believe lends me some credibility on the subject.  I've been able to hone my appreciation for comics into something like a Geiger counter, and your work, Brian, really "clicks" with me.  I'm sure that you feel it could be better (what artist doesn't think that about their stuff?), but I wanted to let you, and WOMP-Blog readers, know that your work is ranked among my very favorites.  So, keep it up!  Now, I've got to toddle along to get some work of my own done, but, before I do, I wanted to get another "...Of The Day" thing going.  But what?  Every February, I'm tempted to do something with the whole Black History Month thing, but I always feel weird singling out comics characters of color simply because they are comics characters of color.  Still, there has to be a way to both recognize the contributions of African Americans while also avoiding being cheesy or offensive.  In that spirit, I've come up with what feels appropriate.  So, here's your first African American Cartoonist of The Day - Morrie Turner!

The Zombie


February 7 -  Hot jumpin' crud!  What a difference a couple of days can make.  Two days ago, I was feeling all blue and down.  Then I got a nice e-note from O.F.O.WOMP Brian Payne (see yesterday's post) which cheered me up.  That was great, but, when I re-checked my e-mail inbox, I was nearly floored by this e-response to my January 16th entry (which revealed that the top WOMP story of 2007 was Crusty Bunker Month) by comics legend Michael Netzer...

Where the name Crusty Bunker comes from.

As I remember, the name is based on something Neal heard one of his kids saying, such as, "You crusty bunker..." or some such phrase which Neal latched onto and later used as a name for the group... as he's known to do at times. Other such examples of word plays with Neal include his attempt to overcome the pain of a toothache without pills; "Transcending dental medication"... and the famous "Sliding down the razor blade of life." Which is still heard sometimes when Neal talks about the precarious human condition.

BTW, John, Crusty Bunker month is now immortalized in Wikipedia references. I found it there recently and added the credit and link to your source pages.

Best wishes,

Yowza!  Th-thank you, Mr. Netzer (I can't bring myself to refer to you as Michael, but I am this close to naming you as the newest Official Fish of WOMP....which means, uh...well, it's a long story).  Thank you for your information, insight, inspiration, and interest in me.  It all comes when I really need it.  Not surprisingly, I've been so inspired by two days of amazingly positive feedback that I'm getting work done at a very pleasant pace.  I'd better get back to it, too.  Before I do, I wanted to tease a couple of things that I hope to talk about in future posts; 1) I've been working on an interesting on-line project, which is just about ready to be revealed, 2) as strange as it sounds, I have to report on another up-coming project which is connected to Mr. Netzer, me, and (shockingly) The WOMP Staff, 3) I have some interesting info about this month's "...Of The Day Theme."  It'll all have to wait for now, though.  Here's your African American Cartoonist of The Day - Denys Cowan!