Comic Art Friday: Nice people rock!

As most of you are aware, I celebrated yet another anniversary of my birth on Monday of this week. (That’s December 19, for the calendar-impaired.) That very day, I arrived home from a fun time touring the holiday sights of downtown San Francisco with The Daughter only to discover this beauty of a birthday gift resting on my doorstep.

The Black Widow (Golden Age version), pencils by comics artist Howard Simpson

It’s a surprise addition to my Bombshells! commission theme, drawn by the highly skilled Howard Simpson (no relation to Homer… I think) and commissioned by my friend and fellow comic art collector, Damon Owens. Yes, the same Damon Owens who was the “O” on my Thanksgiving list this year. And that was before I knew this was coming.

As I was pondering my half-century on this planet, it occurred to me how many nice people I’ve met during my 50 years. It’s easy to complain about the absolute jerks that one encounters — and yes, one does encounter them — but it’s equally easy to overlook the fact that most of the people one meets are actually pretty cool.

I’ve met a lot of nice people through my comic art collecting hobby — fellow collectors such as Damon, and comic creators, both artists and writers. I’ve commissioned nearly three hundred original pieces of comic art during the past decade — the 127 pieces that currently comprise my signature themes, Common Elements and Bombshells!, are merely the tip of a ginormous iceberg, as a quick perusal of my online galleries will attest — and perhaps another fifty or sixty inking jobs. I can count on the fingers of one hand the unpleasant experiences I’ve had in dealing with artists. I’d run out of space if I tried to list all of the positive ones.

A few artists — Bob Almond, Geof Isherwood, and Darryl Banks come immediately to mind — have become long-distance friends. I’ve had artists send me free drawings, sketchbooks, cards, and other gifts, just because they appreciated my custom. A couple — Scott Rosema and the aforementioned Mr Almond — have called me on the phone out of the blue, just to see how I liked the work they did for me. I’ve had great chats at conventions with legends of the business like Ernie Chan, Tony DeZuniga, Keith Knight, Ron Lim, Aaron Lopresti, and Bob Layton, and shared engaging correspondence with folks like Gene Gonzales, Val Semeiks, Bob Budiansky, and Luke McDonnell. Al Gordon gave me a personal tour of his studio. I treasure a wonderful letter that the late Jim Mooney included with some art I purchased from him. Guys like Mitch Foust and Michael Dooney send me little notes or sketches of appreciation every time I get new art from them.

There are countless more that I can’t bring to my aging mind at the moment. That doesn’t mean any of them aren’t important.

I’ve met nice people in every aspect of my life. I’ve met a ton of nice people through my voiceover work. I’ve met nice people singing barbershop over the past 15 years. I met some incredibly nice people by way of Jeopardy! — including such folks as Grace Veach, Eugene Finerman, Kate Waits, Leslie Frates, Beverly Spurs, Bob Blake, Bob Verini, Dave Traini, and the nonpareil Ken Jennings, all of whom are among the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’ve met nice people at church… though you kind of expect that. I’ve worked with nice people during both my freelance and corporate careers. I’ve met nice people at the supermarket, at restaurants, and in hospitals. I’ve even met nice people online — one of whom now shares my life.

I’ve been truly blessed by knowing so many nice people in my 50 years. I hope that in the next 50, I’ll meet even more.

And, I hope that I’ll do a better job of being one of them.

Oh, before I forget… the Bombshell! above features the original Black Widow — that’s the Golden Age character, not the catsuit-clad superspy who arrived in the 1960s and is portrayed in the movies by Scarlett Johansson. This Black Widow holds the singular distinction of being the first costumed, superpowered female character in comics history. Other costumed heroines preceded her (the Woman in Red comes immediately to mind), as did other superpowered women (i.e., Fantomah), but the Black Widow was the first comics female to combine both superhuman abilities and a recognizable uniform. She must have known that trend would take off. Perhaps that’s why her civilian name was Claire Voyant. (No kidding.)

In case I don’t get back here in the next few days, I wish all of you nice people a happy holiday season, whichever holidays you choose to celebrate.

Be nice to each other in 2012.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Comic Art Friday, Reminiscing, SwanStuff, That's Cool!

2 Comments on “Comic Art Friday: Nice people rock!”

  1. Donna Says:

    I am happy to have shared 33 of those 50 years with you Uncle Swan! Are you ready for me to be more up close and personal by residing on the same coast again?

  2. Sank Says:

    And blogging- You’re one of the finest folks I’ve never met.. but I feel like I come to know you pretty danged well over the last several years and for that I’m thankful.

    Merry Christmas my friend.


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