October 10 - "Forbidden" WOMP Character of The Day - Erlingston Codstric Nerdman, the Third! Ugh! Again with the stupid name?! At least this one was intended to be somewhat stupid. This is another character created at about the same time as Old Man Meriwether. The concept for Erlingston came from watching televised reports of some sort of trial. Looking back now, I think that the trial must have been about something pretty awful because the witness had a blue oval "blotch" digitally placed over his/her face, but I was more focused on the blotch than the testimony. For some reason, I identified with it. I imagined a nerdly character (perhaps like myself?) who, in spite of a peculiar and pedigreed name, was so blorkingly anonymous that his face was perpetually blotched-out whenever depicted. The readers would never know what he looked like, so they might more easily identify with him. Not a terrible idea, I suppose, but, after a couple of years trying to find ways to tell stories with close-ups of a frame-filling blotch, I saw the problem with Erlingston as plainly as the nose on my blotch. Still, of my "forbidden" characters, he is among those who might somehow still make a comeback. We'll see. Now, here's -
None Like It Hot - WOMP's 2007 FallCon Report
Part Two - After a few, sweaty hours, I finally gave in to my fanboy urges. Temporarily leaving Dorothy (The WOMP Staff...my wife...remember?) to watch the lonely WOMP table for a few minutes, I struck off to see what I could see. I hit a handful of retailers' booths, but I found that I couldn't stand in any one place for too long, or the sweat would again start to flow. Someone an aisle over from the WOMP table had an air-temperature reader on their cellphone. While I was walking past, they announced that it read "eighty-three degrees!" YOWZA! Unfortunately, this meant that I just couldn't dig in to longboxes in search of Crusty Bunker inked books, as I had planned. Undaunted, I instead sought out inker, and FallCon guest, Josef Rubinstein, himself one of the founding Crusty Bunkers! I found him busily signing a stack of comics. As I patiently waited for him to finish so that I could talk to him, I nearly passed out from the heat...but I was determined not to sweat! Finally, I had my chance to shake his hand and tell him about the WOMP-Blog's Crusty Bunker Month. He was very surprised, and a bit confused, by this, but he was also very forthcoming. "Ah, you should have talked to me! I could have told you all kinds of stories!" He went on to quickly give me the following Crusty Bunker insights -
- He was thirteen years old when he started as both Wally Wood's assistant and a Crusty Bunker. THIRTEEN! I was drawing Erlingston Codstric Nerdman, the Third, when I was thirteen. UGH! Worse, this means that he, my favorite comics inker, is only about five years older than I am!
- He was personally responsible for convincing legendary Jeff Jones to help out as a Crusty Bunker (who could resist an insistent thirteen-year-old?).
- He described how the Bunkers worked by talking about a particular collaboration (here paraphrased); "Frank Brunner had drawn Doctor Strange, and Neal Adams would ink a face, maybe, while I was doing the design on the edge of the cape. Then Neal would get to a hand and say 'I'm not touching that,' letting someone else, like Frank or Ralph Reese, tackle it." While describing this, Mr. Rubinstein made animated gestures, suggesting some of the energetic chaos of the event.
- He "retired" from The Crusty Bunkers when he finally struck off as a freelancer...at the age of SEVENTEEN!
I left Mr. Rubinstein with my sincere thanks and a promise to send to him a link to my month-long Crusty Bunker blatherfest (oops...still gotta do that). From one of my long-time favorites to one of my newest, my FallCon report continues tomorrow with information about a superstar of the future. See ya!