So I’m all dressed up, I go out and there’s Schwartz and Flick and Brunner playing ball. I go down the street and Schwartz yells, “Hey, here comes Shep. Let’s choose up a game.”
I say, “No, I can’t play.”
“Whatda ya mean you can’t play?”
“No, I can’t play. I have important business.”
“Whatda ya mean important business? Forget the seeds today. Come on, let’s go!”
“I am not going to sell seeds. I have important business.” Well, you know. Love. First awakening and all that stuff you cannot turn aside.
I go down the street. I figure I’d better be careful. If I walk down the street to Patty’s house, that is really giving them my secret. So I go around the block, turn left, go down the block, go down the alley, and I’m faking it. I go down around back of the school and back of the Sherwin Williams Paint sign. I cut through a couple of vacant lots.
I’m trying to wait until it is time to go in and see her. I’ve got this Mickey Mouse watch which tells this great time with these two big hands with yellow gloves. But you had to play it like a golf slice. The trouble was that the minute hand was loose. If you giggled it a little bit it would spin around about nine times. You never really knew what time it was. So I would always judge it by the hour hand. It’s pointing halfway between four and five so it’s now four-thirty.
I go sneaking back down Cleveland Street and I see the ballgame is over and nobody’s playing. I figure they’ve gone down to Ashenslogger’s Store to get some root beer barrels or something. So I go sneaking along the street and man, the excitement! Fantastic excitement! Patty Remaley is gonna make fudge! At her house!
I’d never been to her house. It was kind of aloof, just because it was her house. It was a girl’s house. A Patty Remaley house. I’d walked past it practically every day of my life and I’d think, “Patty Remaley lives in there! Patty Remaley eats supper in that house! She walks around in there.
MORE APRIL FOOLED TO COME
Graphic Novels Part 2
Graphic novelists, some of them, don’t last long for some reason—there’s not the money maybe, or who knows why. Some have succeeded in graphic work for newspapers, magazines, and other publications. Some of my favorite graphic novelists are:
Will Eisner. Credited with inventing the term “graphic novel” for his work, A Contract with God. Frequently his page layouts, instead of a series of lined-up rectangles, integrates the images with flowing art. He usually worked in monochrome (except for the earlier The Spirit comic book series), but for me, one of his most dramatically visual books is Signals from Space (The color version seems not to have been done by Eisner).
Bill Sienkiewicz. I originally discovered graphic novels one day while browsing a comic book rack and finding the first comic-book issue in a short series called Stray Toasters. I realized that Archie and Betty was not the only kind of visual thing out there!
The first three from Stray Toasters.
On lower right, page+ from his illustrated “comic book” version of Moby Dick.
David Sim, who, with Gerhard, created an extraordinary visual, black and white, three-hundred-issue monthly comic-book in a series of “novels” starring Cerebus,—are you ready for this?—an aardvark who lives in our human world. As someone described it, “By the time the 6000-page work was completed in March 2004, Sim had delved into politics, theology, metaphysics, and a controversial examination of feminism and gender issues.” I’ve never seen such unendingly fascinating graphic manipulations, nearly page by page for many hundred pages! One volume focused on the final years of Oscar Wilde and another depicted Hemingway. A character in one novel looked exactly like Groucho Marx. The original pen drawing Sim and Gerhard did for me as I watched them draw it, is one of scores they did at incredible speed at a New York comic book store during a tour.
Part of a double page and an original drawing by Sim and Gerhard.
Two double-page spreads in sequence.
(One signed by Sim and Gerhard).
Dave McKean does extraordinary art in graphic novels, sometimes with his own story, sometimes written by others. Below are two of his covers. (He tends to prefer sepia and golden color schemes.)