Friday, July 28, 2006

Bluto and I Collide in our Minds


The Publisher of EC Publishing Company was William Gaines. EC Publishing was originally Educational Comics started by William’s father Max Gaines. He died, and William took over the company to dismantle it and sell it, but instead, changed it direction and it soared to new heights. It published MAD comic book, MAD magazine, TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and a number of other horror comics, sci-fi comics, and two war comics. The name was changed to Entertainment Comics.

Harvey Kurtzman was the creator, editor, and only writer of MAD comic book and first few issues of MAD magazine. Harvey and William had a difference of opinion on percentage of the take – Harvey was fired – but went on to other great satirical magazines and “Annie Fannie” of PLAYBOY magazine.
Gaines died in 1992 and Kurtzman died in 1993.

Then Internet communicating was becoming easy and I since I was a devoted fan of Harvey Kurtzman I decided to research on-line things about him which lead me to all other kinds of avenues. This research also refreshed my interest in underground comic artists such as Robert Crumb and Skip Williamson.

Someplace, I think on the carrier Prodigy you could go to a specific interest group bulletin board and yak and yak and share your ideas and hopefully learn something you didn’t know. I guess it is similar to a chat room, but these were not live chatting. You leave what you want to say, and check later to see if you had anyone to add their two cents, and you do likewise if they have something up. That is how I met Bluto.

We had similar likes of underground and EC publications. He was willing to spend more money and time than I was on collections. He was single. I was and am married with family expenses.

After swapping emails for about 7 or 8 years we decided to meet. He would fly to Atlanta, rent a car, drive to Marietta and we would meet at ‘The Big Chicken”. It was planned that he was going to spend nine days with us. Nine days????

Several people reminded me that fish and houseguests smell after three days. I thought the best solution was stay away from boredom, stay busy! – I would make a list of things for us to do.

I think what was an added incentive for Bluto was that in the past few years I had made friends with underground cartoonist Skip Williamson.

There was an article in the local paper about Skip Williamson moving into town. I called him up to welcome him and he invited me over, which I went. I didn’t realize it until I arrived at his house that he bought his house from Stan who used to be my supervisor. Stan painted cars part time in his garage – which Stan needed perfect lighting to see how the paint was being applied, which was an idea studio for Skip. Over the next couple of years I went several times to visit and got to know his wife Harriet. She wrote a column about the local politics and it pretty much kept them on their toes.

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