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Comics: There's a Whole World Out There

I was touched to see the outpouring of appreciation for IDW artist Franco Urru upon his death a few weeks back. Unfortunately, I was in the emergency room with MiAmor at the time, so didn't really get to comment.He was there because of a scary and painful inability to catch his breath, which we've since been assured was not a heart attack, however much it might have resembled one to a lay person. He's since received a clean bill o' health, so I'm calmer.

He thinks that the whole episode was brought on by a stress reaction to a number of recent losses. Part of his work is at a hospice, so death isn't unusual, but they lost two clients unexpectedly at a non-hospice facility last month. In addition, an elderly and long-ailing aunt finally passed away, leaving my M-I-L devastated. But the death that hit him hardest was that of Spain Rodriguez, a friend, mentor, and former neighbor who was a giant in the underground comix scene.

It's been funny reading the obits. The writers talked to a lot of people who knew him in his wild youth. When I first met him, he was the doting dad of a 6-year-old girl, the admiring husband of a documentary filmmaker, and the sort of guy who quietly embodied what it was to be an artist. All the aggression of his youth must have been channeled into his art, because I never saw a hint of it. He was always working on various projects — everything was interesting, everything was meaningful, everything was exciting. He was also interested in what everybody else was doing. He, and many of his compatriots, particularly Last Gasp publisher Ron Turner (still with us, thank the FSM), were encouraging and welcomed youngsters like MiAmor and myself into a sprawling artistic community.

I understand, mostly from talking to Trina Robbins, that not all of the underground artists were quick to accept women artists. However, I recently attended the opening reception for the 40th Anniversary of Wimmen's Comix show at the San Francisco Public Library, and it was definitely part of the scene. I contributed to a few of the later issues, and always felt like there was a lot of interest in what we were up to. (A few days after the reception, one of the few male contributors, Ray Zone, died suddenly. He had worked on the 3-D conversion of issue # 12.) The show will be up until Feb. 2013, if you're in town and interested in such things.

The biggest comics-related thrill of the last couple of months? Love and Rockets: A 30th Anniversary Celebration at the Cartoon Art Museum! This on-going title is the best comic you've probably never read, and the art on display takes my breath away. I am totally biased, as my friends and I bought quite a bit of art from Los Bros. when they were young and hungry. Some of it is now on loan to the exhibit. My living room walls may be empty, but my heart is full. The show is up until March 2013. The opening reception for that show was held to coincide with the APE (Alternative Press Expo) convention in October, and besides Los Bros., I also got to hear from several other interesting artists, notably Jim Woodring and Sergio Aragones.

Yes, I probably watch more television these days — because the writing is phenomenal — but I still love comics!

(This has been a rare non-Buffy post.)

This entry was originally posted at http://rebcake.dreamwidth.org/28897.html. Please comment here or there using OpenID.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
shapinglight
Jan. 3rd, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
I can't believe I missed this post! So sorry about Su Amor and such a relief to you and McDiva to know he's okay. Please give him our belated best wishes.

Your comics world stories are completely fascinating, btw. You should post about them more often.
rebcake
Jan. 5th, 2013 02:32 am (UTC)
Thanks for your concern! He was definitely better after a few hours, and has since been thoroughly checked out. It seems like he had an attack of "Devil's Grip" a muscle spasm in the back, behind the heart, that makes it hard to take a full breath and leads to panic, as you might imagine. Muscle relaxants set him straight. Now he's just embarrassed. He's such an emotional guy that I can't say that I'm surprised. Spain dying was a hard blow. MiAmor felt a real kinship with him...and vice versa. *sigh*
thedeadlyhook
Mar. 4th, 2013 05:53 am (UTC)
Sorry to have been out of touch for so long - my god, that's so scary about the emergency room visit! Really glad to hear it wasn't something more serious, although grief is plenty serious enough. My condolences on all your recent losses - the news about Spain was such a shock. So sad. My best to all the family.
rebcake
Mar. 5th, 2013 09:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks, sweetie! I've barely had a chance to think about it. McDiva is working on a show, MiAmor has an appearance this Thursday at the Cartoon Art Museum, and my to-do list seems to grow longer every time I blink. Spain's memorial is on the 16th, and I'm hoping it helps MiAmor to come to terms with things. I mean, he has, but it's bound to be good to share with other people that loved him.

I hope you guys are doing well! It has been waaaaay too long since we checked in.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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