August 23rd, 2008

The Zombie

Teacher's Pet

August 22 -  Oops.  Sorry about the brief hiatus.  There are only four more of my 1984-1985 teachers to tell you about, too.  Let's get right to it with...

Jane Kunzman - What?  You've never heard of Jane Kunzman?  Well, neither had I...nor had much of anyone else at the time.  Jane had just graduated from college (Columbia?  That seems right), and was working at the Joe Kubert School in what must have been her first teaching job ever.  Now, before I go further, I must first tell you about "the girls."  While we now live in a day and age where females account for about half of all of comics fans and professionals, back in the era of Thriller and Ronald Reagan, that was not the case.  In the entire one-hundred-plus population of the three grade levels attending the JKS when I was there, the girls numbered just four.  FOUR!  And only one of those girls was a first year student.  When the ratio of girls to guys was one to thirty, I wasn't even in the line to talk to the guys who were waiting for the chance to wait for the other guys who were lined up to be considered as possible dates for any of "the girls."  Not that I'd have had any sort of chance, but that's beside the point.  Imagine being a young woman, just out of school, who was teaching commercial design in that environment.  On top of that, Jane, in her mid-twenties, was younger than some of her students.  If she was nervous, she never showed it.  

I quickly scribbled this during class one day.  I gave the original, an over-sized piece, to Jane

She was a small woman, with neatly-kept jet-black hair and a friendly smile.  It wasn't like I was
smitten, per se, but, given the situation, you can imagine that I looked forward to Jane's classes.  She was a very good teacher, too.  Perhaps more so than her more tenured JKS co-faculty, she had an up-to-date understanding of exactly what areas of commercial art we needed to understand to enter the marketplace.  For example, she taught me about making artwork camera ready, examining proofs, color separations, and so forth.  Her assignments included creating logos and ad campaigns.  One memorable assignment required us to redesign the Monopoly board game.  At last!  I had always disliked the traditional board, and, years before there would be special edition versions, I was so ready to give it a modern (well, 1980's...) overhaul.  I produced a full size board, complete with back-side, black edge tape, and careful "Zip-A-Tone" lettering.  The basic concept was that Baltic Avenue should look like, well, an avenue.  The whole thing looked like an aerial view of some crazy town, complete with a backroad shortcut "directly to jail" and a bank drive-thru as you passed "Go."  On "review" day, in my humble opinion, I think that only Dan Lietha's looked better (curse him!).  While others had basically sketched out their ideas, only the two of us had produced full mock gameboards.  Jane noted, pointedly, that I was the only one who'd given any consideration to the back of the board.  As I blushed, my reputation as teacher's pet was cemented.  And I'll cop to it.  I enjoyed my relationship, such as it was, with Jane.  Never romantic (she was MRS. Kunzman, after all), we were, nonetheless, fairly close.  Of all my teachers at the JKS, I think I miss her most (Hy - you're a very close second). 

More later.  Now, here are your non-1C John's Joe Kubert School Classmates of The Day for - August 21 - Hilton T. Driver, and August 22 - Mark Bernal!