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.)
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