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St. Louis Shuffle

Drove 12 hours the first day. Pittsburgh to St. Louis. 8 hours the second day. St. Louis to Tulsa. Here in Tulsa now to pick up the girl. Listened to Electric Ladyland the entire time on loop.

Random Thoughts While Driving:

Frank’s Favorite Celebrity Encounters:
1. Sun Ra
2. Lee Perry
3. James Brown
4. August Wilson
5. George Clinton

(I got to talk to all of them except George Clinton. Sun Ra sang to me and held my hand.)

Frank’s Favorite Famous People from Pittsburgh:
1. Earl Hines
2. Billy Strayhorn
3. Mary Lou Williams
4. Gene Kelly
5. George Romero

Frank’s Favorite Bands Seen Live During High School:
1. Sun Ra (1988)
2. Operation Ivy (1988)
3. Rapeman (1988)
4. Unrest (1989)
5. Knifedance / Ignition / Laughing Hyenas (1989)

More Random Thoughts While Driving:

- The movie Due Date is basically a homosexual road movie. One last romp with The Bear before going back to the wife and being straight. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just sayin’.

- People who grew up without the Internet are the luckiest people in the world.

- Natalie Portman is pretty but way too skinny.

- Hairspray era Ricki Lake is my dream girl.

- The state of Indiana has the worst roads in the U.S. – especially east of Indianapolis.

- The only people who talk annoyingly on cellphones in public anymore are senior citizens.

- I’ve turned in my Hip-Hop card. It’s the new Muzak. It’s everywhere all the time. I can’t stand it anymore. Even the old stuff.

- Fuck Marvel Comics. I actually believed when Disney bought Marvel that somehow the Kirby family would get a deal. What was I thinking? Boycott Marvel! Canceled my subscription to Deadpool MAX and the new Daredevil. I got issue number one of DD before the court decision (nice art by Paolo Rivera). Wait, those aren’t Kirby characters? My viewpoint is naive? I don’t fucking care! Sorry friends of mine who work for Marvel – sorry stores where I shop and spend money – but I won’t be buying any more Marvel Comics. Ever. I won’t be drawing any comics for Marvel again. Ever. Give the money back that I made from this job? Fuck you, fanboy! I spent it on Jack Kirby back issues at Copacetic! And on weed so that I could calm down about how fucked up this industry is. Jack Kirby is going to murder us all in our dreams. And I don’t want him mad at me for taking part in any way – so I am boycotting Marvel.

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INTERMISSION FUNNIES by MICHAEL DEFORGE

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On the road again. Stopped in St. Louis again. Kevin Huzienga and his wife Katie put me up for the night. Dan Zettwoch and his new bride, Leslie, met us for dinner. Then we went over to Ted May and Sacha Mardou’s house. I was fried from the long drive and had a little too much to drink (surprise!) but I heard that I didn’t embarrass myself too bad. I think I knocked over a bookcase in Ted’s studio. Sorry Ted. New pages for Injury look awesome, bro! I insisted on seeing Ted and Sacha’s daughter even though she was sleeping. I felt like the drunk uncle who won’t go home after the family gathering. Sorry guys!

Had breakfast with Kevin and Dan the next morning. Nice old school pancake house. Dan is working on a new book. Said he’s drawing on yellow paper and using color – so white is a color. One long story. Sounds good. I think he said the format is going to be around 7 x 9 inches. Can’t wait.

Then me and Kevin went to check out this comics shop around the corner. They had a bunch of dollar comics so we spent some time going through the bins. I made Kevin buy the famous Trevor Von Eeden Batman Annual #8. And I bought a Comics Scene that had an article by Frank Miller about page rates back in 1982 and an article on the animator Don Bluth.

I like driving around St. Louis. As I’ve traveled back and forth across the States, I’ve noticed that St. Louis is where the houses begin to look like the East Coast when you are traveling East. So this time I was traveling West and was already getting nostalgic for the style of houses that populate ye olde Rust Belt. Soon rowhouses will be a distant memory. Soon black folks will be a memory too. This country sho be segregated.

While driving around we somehow got on the topic of how to create a mentoring program within comics. Like an real organization of resources that would let younger cartoonists learn skills from older cartoonists. Imagine if you, young cartoonist, could apply to a mentoring program that would put you into contact with some pros so you could learn your craft faster. How could we do it? I mean, what are all the out of work old timers doing? Couldn’t we round up some of them to teach kids skills that they won’t learn in art school? Comics is such a specific language that certain skills need to be directly transmitted by the elders to the youth if we want to maintain this art form. You know what I mean. Anyways, it was just talk between Kevin and I – but I’m writing this so maybe I’ll actually try and do something like this in the future. Feel free to steal our idea. Talk about it on Facebook. I hear that’s where all the old timers hangout.

I didn’t want to get back on the road so we went back to Kevin’s house to look at some of the comics I’d brought along. I busted out a short box of goodies and let Kevin have at it. It’s really fun to look at weird old comics with people who are conversant in the language and know what they are looking at. Kevin found this Gene Colan story that was inked and colored by Klaus Janson and went off on how great of a colorist Janson is. I concurred and Kevin went on to point out details in each panel that were interesting to him. Janson is a really bold colorist. I strongly suggest checking out the coloring work he has done if you aren’t familiar with much of it. Great shit.

I busied myself looking at Debbie Drechsler’s Nowhere issue 5 from 1999. What a beautiful comic. I love how the colors work in the pamphlet series. I know some people didn’t like the colors in the pamphlet series but I did. Too bad the collection of the issues was a printing nightmare that no one liked. I found it used somewhere for cheap and couldn’t bring myself to buy it because it looks so horrendous. I think Drechsler’s stopped doing comics entirely because of the experience. Kevin said, “Chris Oliveros will talk your ear off about that. It really was a nightmare.”

Fun to have a moment in between leaving Pittsburgh and arriving in the southwest. Kevin’s house and St. Louis has become a decompression chamber for me when I’m traveling this route. It was the third time I’d passed thru this summer and it was hard to leave. I think we both really enjoy talking shop with each other. He showed me the one copy he has of the new Ganges. It is “just beyond”, as I like to say. Beyond anything you could imagine. The printing was great and the story and art looked even greater. Can’t wait to read it, but I had to go. I hugged Kevin cuz he doesn’t like hugs and got on the road. See you next time, bro.

Over and out.

Frankius

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