Speaking of Archie and Plagiarism
Above is our 4th grade glass. Archie, Walker, and I are on the front row kneeling. Walker is a reader of this blog. Walker has taste.
Don’t get the wrong idea, Archie was one of a kind in his own shy way. I am speaking of my plagiarism.
I mentioned Archie yesterday in my post and kicked my memory some.
Archie and I (and about 28 others) spent the first seven years of our academic life together. As I mentioned, Archie was shy – if the teacher called on him. But he was also a good student, just quiet. When my buddies and I were making a racket in class you could hear Archie giggle, which sounded similar to a pigeon cooing.
Once Archie and his family lived on the north side of Marietta for a short time, which would make him out of our school district, but I think his parents probably talked to someone in the school board of letting him stay at Waterman Street School. I think he was there the entire seven years.
He lived next to my mother’s sister, who was a new bride, and her husband. On one of my family’s visits he and I discovered many arrow heads. They were real arrow heads – made of flint and all that kind of stuff, chiseled to have a point on one end and wide fish tail base. We had a jar full between us. I don’t remember what happened with my share of the arrowheads. I probably traded them off for whatever I was collecting a year or so later.
Another time he and his family lived in the Clay Homes, which was a low rental project – which I spent from age 1 to age 7 at. My grandmother lived there the same time Archie’s family was living there.
One time while my family was visiting Grandma I over next door in Archie’s bedrooms talking about whatever preteen boys talk about and going through his comicbook collection.
He had MAD comicbook #4. My life changed. I suddenly transformed into another being. More about that MAD (and plagiarism) later.
I sat down and read every page of that comic and I was reborn – or maybe re-afterbirth. The comic made fun of authority, trademarks, and it held nothing sacred – it was my kind of comic book. From that point on to present I just about looked at thing through MAD eyes… or my sense of humor changed anyway.
Here is the comic book that transformed me. The cover was illustrated by the editor, Harvey Kurtzman. Noticed his unique signature?
In high school Archie and I went our separate ways… it was a merging of all the kids in Marietta our age of five or six – maybe seven – grammar schools. Then it was a case of water seeking its own level.
We made new friends with similar interests. You probably can use another plumber’s metaphor here: Shit flow downhill.
I think sometime in high school Archie and his family moved to the county and he went to a county school.
When I got of the Navy in July 1965 Archie was my mother and father’s mailman. Mama had him a glass of ice water waiting for him everyday, and he would sit on the door step and take a break and cool off. We were glad to see each other. It was also the last time I saw him.
When I transferred to the Marietta Post Office about 16 or 17 years later Archie was working at Lockheed.
That was 42 years ago. I think he is probably still alive.
In MAD #4 I was very impressed with the first story, SUPERDUPERMAN, which was a lampoon on SUPERMAN. It was expertly illustrated by Wallace Wood – who gave it just enough whimsical non-sense. Of course, then reading MAD for the first time, I did not know Harvey Kurtzman wrote every word and was demanding just how the illustrations were to be…. Whatever his demands were, they worked! I was hypnotized.
Here are a few of samplings of the SUPERDUPERMAN story:
When I was flipping through Archie’s comics and MAD I should have been home working on a short essay using creative writing that Mrs. King, our 7th grade teacher assigned us. I kept procrastinating and finally, had it put out of mind.
But when I got home I had a new inspiration. SUPERDUPERMAN! I think I remembered the whole story, every panel and every panel. I sat down and wrote it – almost exactly as I read it. Mrs. King thought it was great. She had me read it to the class. Only Archie knew just how “original “ I was.