It cost me two dollars in American loot (two-sixty Canadian).

§ July 21st, 2021 § Filed under indies, original art § 4 Comments

At some point in the early 1990s, someone decided to hold a comic convention in our area, specifically in a large building at the Ventura Fairgrounds. It was also the same day as the usual giant swap meet that generally occupied the entire venue, so there were enormous crowds not there for the comic show that we had to navigate in order to set up our shop’s presence there.

Thirty years on I can’t recall much about the event beyond the inconvenience of trying to get in an’ out of there (especially during the middle of the day when one of us had to run back to the shop for something we needed). I do however recall three specific things (and one “maybe” thing):

1. Ol’ Forrest J. Ackerman speaking to a small but rapt group of fans, all of whom (Forry included) sitting on a bunch of folding chairs just kinda in the middle of the floor of the show, no separate room, nothin’ roped off. Just everyone kinda sittin’ there. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, especially Mr. Ackerman, a person I understand totally enjoying talking about stuff.

2. I bought a copy of volume one of the Action Comics Archive Edition for ten bucks in an auction.

3. The “maybe” thing: I believe it was at this show I picked up a group sketch by Evan Dorkin of the Pirate Corp$ cast for another ten bucks, from a fella who’d been active in the local comics retail scene at the time and was just trying to unload a bunch of his stock. Boy, I haven’t seen him in decades…I can’t even remember his name at this point. (Was it “Greg?” I can’t recall.) But I still have the sketch, framed and on display in the house! Anyway, if it wasn’t at this specific show, it was certainly around this time.

Remind me to scan and post that Pirate Corp$ sketch at some point.

And for 4) we’re back to a specific memory of this show, where cartoonist Mike Kazaleh was a guest, signing comics and drawing sketches for the folks who came to his table. Now, Mr. Kazaleh had then just started drawing for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics published by Archie, and that was the big selling point for his appearance at the show. As such, it appeared to be all TMNT all the time for him as he interacted with guests, drawing pics of Michelangelo and the other not-as-good Turtles, signing TMNT comics, and so on.

Now I was (and still am!) a fan of Kazaleh’s work, particularly of his creator-owned sci-fi anthropomorphic comic book series Adventures of Captain Jack. So, between waves of children hitting his table, I made my way over there, told him I was a fan, and asked if I could buy a sketch of Captain Jack.

Well, clearly he was surprised that there was actually someone there asking about something that wasn’t teenage or mutated or reptilian. He drew a quick but nice drawing in his sketchbook, ripped out the page, and handed it to me.

I said “Great! How much do I owe you?”

He replied “oh man, I’m just happy someone asked me about Jack. You can have it for free.”

Me: “Ah geez, I gotta pay you something.”

MK: “…Okay, how ’bout a dollar?”

Me: “Only a dollar? That’s not enough! …Look, I’ve got two dollars.”

MK: “Okay, sure!”

We had a pretty good laugh, and though I don’t remember the details of the other conversation we had, I do recall that I enjoyed talking to him. And yes, I should have at least given him $10, since that seemed to be the amount I was handing out at that show. If Mr. Kazaleh would like the additional eight dollars, I’ll happily send it his way.

Over the years, the sketch got stored away between some move or two over the last decade or so, where it stayed until I recently started digging through some boxes and pulling out some of my own old artwork. Now I have it out, and I need to find a frame for it.

And of course I’ve also finally scanned scanned it so I can show it off to you folks. I had to do a little brightness/contrast adjusting to maximize its visibility, as the art’s lines are pretty light. The actual paper is white, not this dingy color, I promise:

Isn’t that nice? I miss Captain Jack comics. I miss a lot of those ’80s/early ’90s indies.

4 Responses to “It cost me two dollars in American loot (two-sixty Canadian).”