Monday, December 12, 2011

Gene Colan's "Missing" Art: Part Two



Were these pieces drawn by Gene Colan stolen or destroyed? Family members would like to know.

If you ever see any of this art of these offered for sale, please contact me, the Colan family, or Detective John O'Conner of the Nassau Police.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tough Questions for Tough Jews: Ross The Boss Breaks His Silence


The hard-rocking Hailstorm is a year old now, there’s continual web chatter regarding a Dictators reunion, and Ross “the Boss” Friedman is heading to South America for a number of shows. Ever the gentleman, Ross took a few moments to answer the important questions that everyone has been asking:

Cliff: A guy walks into a house of ill repute and says, “I want a punk girl.” And the Madame says, “We only have metal chicks.” Is this a problem?

Ross: House of ill repute? Never been to one! Hahaha! To me there’s only two types of music. What are they? Good and bad. To me, good is good, so there would be no difference in my mind. Besides, when the lights go out, who cares?

Cliff: Have you played South America before?

Ross: We played in Venezuela last summer in a baseball stadium.

Cliff: What are you listening to when you’re not playing music?

Ross: I tend to listen to my old favorites—classical, blues, old-school metal, punk and real country.

Cliff: With you on lead guitar, assemble the perfect band, dead or alive.

Ross: Great question. Hmmm… Geezer Butler on bass, John Bonham on drums, Jim Morrison doing lead vocals, and Jerry Lee Lewis on keyboards.

Cliff: And now the million-dollar question--You played with Andy Shernoff in May at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash. What’s it going to take to get the rest of the Beatles back together?

Ross: Sad to say, the Dictators as we know them won’t play in the very near future. But the new band “Manitoba” will make its debut at The Don Hill Benefit at Irving Plaza on December 15.

Cliff: And what a show that will be. Salute!

Harlan Ellison vs. Mediocrity: Part Three



I continue to get the occasional emails or queries in mid-conversation: “Have you heard from Harlan?” “So what’s with Harlan?” “Is is true that Harlan…?”

As if I’m my brother’s keeper. Which I guess I am.

But I prefer to leave all things Harlan for him to announce. He certainly has the outlets, between Rabbit Hole and his website. Besides, most of what the two of us discuss is fairly private.

I can tell you that when we spoke last week, Harlan was energized by his current projects and events. He talked about his “strong third act.”

So. Act Three:

“Possibly (he said, jocularly) the last chance to see Harlan alive performing his death defying life-story in the flesh.” Thus reads the flier I received on Friday inviting me to “An Evening with Harlan Ellison (Redux),” a reprise on his “public interview and rampant racontourage” at the Cinefamily Theatre last November, a sold-out event emcee’d by writer Josh Olson (another swell guy). The event, which any of you can attend, too—for the price of a ticket—is January 19, 2012, at 7:30pm at The Cinefamily Theater, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036; phone: 323-655-2510.

Act Three also includes a number of book releases and revamps. The one I look forward to most is BUGF#CK: THE USELESS WIT & WISDOM OF HARLAN ELLISON (Spectrum Books and Edgeworks Abbey, $10), 123 pages of Harlan quotes which, if you’ve ever spoken with Harlan or read him or heard him speak, promises to be priceless. Mencken had nothing on my brother.

It doesn’t appear that YR. PAL HARLAN, the book of Harlan’s web posts and e-letters that I edited a few years ago, will be coming out any time soon. But, as with all things Harlan, we never say never.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gene Colan's Stolen Art? At Last, A Clue


Out of nowhere, I heard from a friend of Gene's today. He had some photos that he wanted to share. Among them was a photo he snapped of Gene working on the Star Wars art (commissioned by George Lucas Studios) which eventually went missing.

If this art is offered for sale, please note that it is considered stolen.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Joe Giella Robbed - Comic Art Stolen


I am late to the party with this news but I just hung up with comic artist Joe Giella and wanted to share this immediately:

Joe had the following items stolen from his home:

* “Menace of the Man Missile”, pages 1 and 9. Pencils by Carmine Infantino.
* “Castle with Wall to Wall Danger” pages 7 and 8. Pencils by Carmine Infantino.
* Green Lantern/Green Arrow #107 cover. Pencils by Joe Staton.

Please re-post this notice to as many places possible. If you hear of this art being offered, please contact Detective John O'Connor, Nassau County Police Dept., Third Squad, phone: 516-573-6353.

Tony Isabella just advised me that this story was broken weeks ago (I must've been sleeping) but it never hurts to remind folks.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The SideKick Foundation: A New Friend to Creators in Need



The Sidekick Foundation is a new confederacy that seeks to generously aid comics creators in need of financial and medical assistance. Sidekick’s board of directors and advisors consists of established, respected comics professionals who have agreed to support the organization’s initiative which, in its first year, shall be to donate 90% of all generated proceeds directly to those in need.

“Sidekick was established by Clifford Meth, whose work on behalf of comics creators in need is well known,” said Jim Reeber, president of Aardwolf Publishing and Secretary of Sidekick. “By adding the weight of some of the industry’s most respected names to his own, I believe Cliff can help more people than ever before and do so more effectively.”

“I’ve spent the last three years working for well-known charities and non-profits,” said Meth, a former Executive V.P. of IDW Publishing and recent spokesman for Kars4Kids. “Regardless of the cause, the one thing that always irked me was how much money goes to the overhead of charitable organizations. While it may be legal to only give away a small portion of collected proceeds, I find it ethically unacceptable. The Sidekick Foundation will not have a paid Director nor full-time staff. Most work will be done by volunteers allowing the foundation to keep expenses to a minimum.”

Sidekick’s Board of Advisors includes Neal Adams, Harlan Ellison, Joe Sinnott, Tom Palmer, Herb Trimpe, and Morris Berger (former president of IDT Entertainment and chairman of IDW Publishing).

“I’m particularly proud to have Neal Adams and Harlan Ellison with us,” said Meth. “Neal laid the foundation for art returns and his work on behalf of Superman’s creators is legendary, while Harlan Ellison is a stalwart champion of creator’s rights. With friends like these in your corner, you can move mountains.”

Sidekick will debut at New York ComicCon on Sunday, October 16. Artist David Lloyd (“V for Vendetta”) will be drawing for Sidekick at the Cadence table #3153 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. In addition, Clifford Meth and writer Don McGregor will be selling donated art as well as items from the late Gene Colan and Dave Cockrum, among others. Future signings and events are planned from artists Michael Netzer and Bill Messner-Loebs,

For more information, visit http://www.thesidekickfoundation.org/

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shapes of Things to Come (If We're Lucky)


The Yardbirds—first stop for three of Rock and Roll’s greatest guitar heroes—mixed blues and psychedelia into a unique soup that produced such classics as “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul.” While noted for launching the careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, it was Paul Samwell-Smith (bass), Keith Relf (singer/harmonica), Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar) and Jim McCarty (drums) who maintained the core. I plan to see Chris and Jim perform, along with new Yardbirds band members, on Wed., September 7, at BB Kings' in NY City (the Good Rats are opening). You can also catch the Yardbirds in a lot of other places through October.

Yesterday I caught up with Jim McCarty—far and away one of the most influential drummers of his time.

Meth: Is drumming work? It looks like work.

McCarty: (Laughs) I never really thought of it as work, Cliff. It’s not really hard work is it? The hard work is traveling around (laughs again). But I did once see an article about drummers having to be really fit. There was an experiment in England and they said Blondie’s drummer was as fit as a footballer. So I guess it’s work but being in a rhythm sorts of works itself.

Meth: You’ve been a Yardbird for what, 45 years? Did you think that was possible?

McCarty: I didn’t actually. At one point I worked for a stock broker in London and I was playing drums at night and on weekends. After a few weeks it was very tiring and I didn’t think it would last. I went to my boss and said, “I need to take a break. Can you keep the job open for me when the band folds up?” But it lasted a bit longer… I was going to become an actuary at the time. I was obviously destined not to do that but I always had a mathematical brain. It also helped with the songwriting, I think.

Meth: There was a bit of a break in there. How did you reform the group?

McCarty: We were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 but we didn’t get it together again until ‘95. I was playing in a blues band and we sort of built a place up. Jeff [Beck] and Paul [Samwell-Smith] would come and see the band but they didn’t sit in. Then Chris and I were approached by an agent and there was interest in putting the band back together. Jeff hasn’t played with us, nor has Jimmy [Page], but they’ve shown up at shows and played air guitar.

Meth: Air guitar. That's not work.

McCarty: Yes. [Laughs]

Meth: While you played musical guitar heroes, the core of the Yardbirds seemed to stay close knit. Who were you closest with?

McCarty: I suppose Keith and I were very close back then. Me and Keith and Chris were the steady members. But there was tension because it was very hectic having to work the whole time. We weren’t making any money. Even when we were signed, the LPs weren’t selling well and royalties were poor—all the money was on the road so were relentlessly working and that created tension. It was clear that Eric and Jeff were destined to be their own bosses—they were people who found it difficult to be in a band.

Meth: But there was some sense of fraternity wasn’t there? You were too young not to have that idealized dynamic.

McCarty: Well, we would go to our manager and have meetings. I remember that Eric was very unhappy about the way the band was going and didn’t like the idea of doing “For Your Love,” which the rest of us wanted to do. He thought that was selling out. We loved it but he only wanted to do blues. We tried to do bluesly singles like “Good Morning Little School Girl” but they weren’t commercial enough to be big hits and to get anywhere you had to have a single. Now the music industry has gone full circle. The LP market is dead again and it’s all about being on the road, but back then it was all about singles.

Meth: You contributed to the writing on some of those singles.

McCarty: Yes, most of the songs were team efforts. “Shapes of Things to Come” came from Keith and Paul and myself.

Meth: Well, while we're on shapes of things to come, are you disappointed with where music has gone? The death of rock culture—and for that matter, the virtual death of everything else?

McCarty: I tend to think positively about where we’re going and I try to reflect that in my songwriting. There’s a change coming but the change is for the good.

Meth: What do you see in evidence of that?

McCarty: I guess ecological things, especially in Europe. People trying to get by without using un-renewable fuels… I sort of do see a better world coming, a growing awareness and growing consciousness of other people. I think it will be alright.

(c) 2011 Clifford Meth

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Simonson, Trimpe and McGregor Salute Gene Colan



Walter Simonson, Herb Trimpe and Don McGregor will join the panel I'm chairing at New York ComicCon (on Sunday, October 14) to pay tribute to Gene Colan's unique legacy. We're still hoping that John Romita and Joe Sinnott (and perhaps a few surprise guests) will join us, too. There will also be artwork and signed books from Gene Colan available at the event with some proceeds benefiting The Gene Colan Scholarship at the Joe Kubert School.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gene Colan Tribute at NY ComicCon


New York ComicCon has asked me to chair a tribute panel to Gene Colan at this year’s convention. As such, I spent the early part of this evening chatting with Johnny Romita Sr., Tom Palmer, Joe Sinnott, Roy Thomas and Don McGregor. Everyone loved Gene and has wonderful memories they’d be delighted to share—it’s really just a question of who will be coming to con. I’ve also reached out to Walter Simonson and David Lloyd, who I believe will have unique perspectives on Gene’s influence. Stay tuned.

Pictured: David Lloyd, Hank Magitz and Gene Colan at NY ComicCon 2010

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Honoring Gene Colan & Dave Cockrum


Dan Bertwell sent me the below letter and HERO assures me this is on the up and up. So I support these efforts and hope many of you will, too:

My name is Dan Bertwell and I am running two marathons within the first two weeks of October to raise money for the Hero Initiative. Comics were an escape for me when I was very young and I latched onto the X-Men, Colossus in particular, right away. I stopped collecting when I became a teenager (mostly for financial reasons) and got back into it while in my twenties. Soon after I returned I was saddened to hear that Dave Cockrum, who had created many of the characters and drawn many of the stories that I loved so much, had passed away. His family mentioned in his obituary that, rather than sending flowers, fans should make donations to the Hero Initiative. This was the first I’d heard of the charity.

The Hero Initiative is a non-profit with a very simple purpose: to assist comic creators in need. Like many people, I’ve seen the Hero table at various cons in the past few years, and I’ve donated some cash into the collection jars that they set up. Earlier this year I decided that I’d like to run another marathon but wanted this run to benefit others as well as myself. I decided to run for the Hero Initiative because I wanted to give back to the comic community.

The recent passing of Gene Colan cemented in my mind that I should run two marathons and dedicate them to Mr. ockrum and Mr. Colan and all of the creators that have brought so many great stories into my life. I’ll run the New Hampshire Marathon on October 1 and the Hartford Marathon on October 15 and I hope very much that anyone able to donate will do so by going to http://www.razoo.com/marathondan.

All told, between training and the races, I’m going to run somewhere between 500 and 600 miles. I hope that all that work can help out some creators in need.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ovie Mughelli is Making Comics

As reported here, Pro Bowl fullback for the Atlanta Falcons, will be announcing his own comics property later this week. The project is being developed in conjunction with writer Clifford Meth ( Snaked from IDW) and artist Michael Netzer (Batman, Superboy, Web of Spider-Man). Mughelli, who had a breakout 2010 Pro Bowl season, signed a six-year, $18 million contract with a $5 million signing bonus on March 2, 2007 with the Falcons, the largest contract given to a fullback in NFL history at the time.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ethics Versus Self Interest. And the Winner Is…?

The news wrinkle in the on-going coverage of Leiby Kletzky’s murder isn’t the fund that this child’s parents have set up in a valiant effort to combat grief by doing good. Instead, it’s the flap over whether or not Gerard Marrone, one of two defense attorneys representing Levi Aron (the confessed murderer), should have quit the case.

“The allegations were too horrific—it's not something I wanted to be involved in," Marrone told Eyewitness News. “I have three boys. One of my sons is seven. I looked at my own children, and there are no words.”

Unlike those Jewish attorneys from the ACLU who represented Nazi rights to march in Skokie, Illinois in 1978, or William Kuntsler (another born Jew) who defended Rabbi Meir Kahane’s murderer, Gerard Marrone (whose faith we can only guess at), holds his ethical platform higher than his potential earnings ceiling. The skeptics among us will seek less than pristine motives for Marrone recusing himself, but it seems clear to me that this man holds principiles above potential movie-of-the-week deals. He doesn’t want to help the beast Levi Aron. He doesn’t want to breathe the same air Aron exhales.

Sadly, it’s a Jew (or perhaps just a Phillip Rothian Jew) who takes public issue with Marrone’s retreat. Defense attorney Scott Greenfield, on his Simple Justice blog, attacks Marrone for stepping away. “He knew the allegations going in,” writes Greenfield. “He knew what he was getting involved with. He chose to do so, a choice which is admirable in that everyone, even Levi Aron, must be given a defense… But now, even though nothing has significantly changed, Marrone has made another choice… He's chosen to quit, to walk away from his client and in the process, to announce that he, as defense lawyer, is too sickened by his client's actions to remain beside him. This he cannot do.”

Does this blog post qualify Greenfield to join the ranks of George Soros and other Juddenrat who willingly sacrificed their fellow Jews for purely self-interest? Perhaps not. But we know where Greenfield’s values lie. Like Kunstler, Ron Kuby and other "defenders" of the justice system, Greenfield feigns sanctifying an ever-reinterpreted Constitution as if the tablet were given by a god that these men profess to not believe in anyway.

But the simple truth is the quest for fame, or minimally widespread popularity (a lesser fame to be certain) are also too enticing for men like Greenfield. Having one's blog quoted by major media outlets will likely raise his per diem. This type of lawyer can’t fathom walking away from his generation’s Lindberg kidnapping.

But men of good conscience, men like Marrone, raise the bar of human dignity by reminding us that all the hoopla surrounding this soon-to-be-much-publicized trial (which has the potential to make media stars of prosecutors and counsel alike) is just so much noise obscuring the real story. Because the real story is that of a family who lost a child, and the enormous swelling of empathy that’s coming from all corners, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Even from an attorney who just walked away from the potential of extending his fifteen minutes into a major career milestone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leiby Kletzky and The Rest of Us


I spoke with a friend this morning about the news coming out of Boro Park, which is too much for any of us to shoulder alone. It takes a village to raise a child, and to bury one.

I had called and emailed many people last night, my own grown sons among them. I begged that people perform extra deeds of kindness and spiritual charity to help balance the scales. Writing checks and dropping coins in pushkas and saying T’hillim (Psalms) is not enough—vital, but not enough. It is the rebalancing of realms that’s necessary. We live in a world where monsters dwell. Monsters who hurt children. And we need grace.

There is only one way to achieve grace, and it encompasses many smaller ways. And we need no preacher nor specific guidelines to understand what is called for. We need only place ourselves in the minds of those parents whose child went missing yesterday and did not return home. Their torment is unimaginable except to those who have experienced just this (may the Al-mighty spare them from further grief).

Had I lived anywhere near the area, I’d have joined the hundreds and hundreds who searched day and night for this little child. I considered driving there and joining them but I decided that the myriad search parties—all locals and many professionals—were sufficient. Instead, I gave an offering: I phoned someone that I have avoided speaking with for a decade—someone who holds me in colossal contempt—and apologized profusely for anything I might have done to offend them. It didn’t matter what occurred years ago; it didn’t matter if I considered myself the injured party. The important thing is peace. Peace is the vessel that contains blessings in this world. We learn these lessons too late.

I entreated the Al-mighty to add my merit to those who prayed for this boy’s safe return. That was last night. Then came the news this morning, which was too much to contain.

We hang our heads. And we must content ourselves with knowing that random acts of kindness are done for their own sake. Rebalancing the world is a responsibility we all share.

There will always be monsters. The rest of us must maintain balance.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Silence


After Gene died, it seemed like a hundred other horrible things happened in rapid succession. But at 50 I am no longer inclined to list them.

Neither am I writing at the moment. I am reading extraordinary letters by an extraordinary man who left this world in 1996 and that seems to be enough. I am genuinely considering an exit from any sort of public life, including publishing.

I remain in touch with my friends--with sensei Richard Lenchus, Paty Cockrum, my pal Harlan, and with several writers, artists and musicians whose work and whose nature (like Michael Netzer, Richard Manitoba, Peppi Marchello, Steve Forbert and Don McGregor) are uplifting and make one proud to be part of the same species, though others work endlessly to cast shame on the lot. I am devastated about this missing child in Brooklyn.

I will be 50 and a half next month. I am back to counting half birthdays like a child. I'm not sure if I will ever seek to publish fiction again. It really wasn't fiction anyway. And the death of the book in America calls for a certain reverence by those of us who care enough to be reverent.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mark Staff Brandl: Call Him Doctor

I was pleased to hear that my long-distance pal, artist and art historian Mark Staff Brandl has earned his PhD with a creative dissertation on visual art and metaphor theory. Mark was awarded his PhD in Art History, magna cum laude, from the University of Zurich Switzerland on May 20, 2011.

Dr Brandl's book, Metaphor(m): Engaging a Theory of Central Trope in Art, presents his thesis that the formal, technical and stylistic aspects of artists' approaches concretely manifest content in culturally and historically antithetical ways through a uniquely discovered trope. Yes, that's a mouthful. But more importantly, to this small voice, is that Mark Staff Brandl is a mensch. His dissertation is now in the process of being expanded and translated into an art exhibition and installation with the curatorial advice of Markus Landert, Director of the Art Museum of Thurgovia Switzerland. Congrats Mark!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Goodbye Gene


Gene was put to rest today with dignity and tears, surrounded by family and friends and sent off with a military honor guard marking his service to his country during World War II. It was humbling and warming and memorable.

The lessons I learned from this fine man are just starting to articulate themselves. He promised me when I was young (with regards to my writings), "If you're willing to do it for free, you'll make it." Mull that over for a while.

More importantly, Gene taught by example the importance of being happy for happy sake. He was what Pirke Avos characterized as a rich man. He was happy with his lot.

Thank you my friends across the fruited internet for your kind emails and messages during these sleepless days. Your words especially, Harlan, are always balm in Gilead.

And thank you, Gene, for sharing your final moments on this planet with this small voice.

Cliff

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Advice From Gene Colan

This lovely note sums up Gene Colan better than any of us can.
Greg Hatcher--thank you for sharing this.

Friday, June 24, 2011

For Gene Colan's Memory (in lieu of flowers)


Following my earlier discussions with Gene, and one this morning with his daughter Nanci, I am setting up the Gene Colan Scholarship at the Joe Kubert School.

In lieu of flowers and such, if you would like to contribute to this scholarship in Gene’s memory, please make your check payable to “Joe Kubert School” and mail it to my attention:

Gene Colan Scholarship
c/o Clifford Meth
179-9 Rt. 46 West
Rockaway, NJ 07866

All checks will be delivered to Mike Chen, the school’s coordinator.

Gene Colan 1926-2011


On behalf of the Colan family, I regret to announce that my friend Gene Colan died at about 11 pm on June 23. Gene spent this last week in a quasi-coma state following a broken hip and complications from liver disease. He was 84.

I am terribly saddened to lose Gene. He was a gentle and deeply spiritual man, a bright light in every context, and those who knew him at any level were enriched by his warmth and generous nature. Below are some thoughts I cobbled together when he slipped from consciousness earlier this week.

I leave the historical perspective and details of Gene's significant career to my friends Tom Spurgeon and Mark Evanier. For now, I mourn.

Clifford Meth

------------------------------------
My Friend Gene Colan

When I was in Morristown, New Jersey, in the early 1990s, there was a girl of about 12 or 13 who lived around the corner. Every time I saw her, she was out walking a German Sheppard puppy. I'd spot the pair every two weeks or so. But as the years passed, I realized the puppy hadn't aged. My young neighbor was blossoming into a young lady, but her little dog was like Peter Pan, or Jefty in Harlan Ellison’s story. Eventually, I inquired and learned that the young lady received her young dog from the Morristown Seeing Eye. After six months of house-breaking and bonding with the little dog, she returned it when it was ready to be trained to help the blind. And then she’d get another puppy and start over again.

It must be heart-breaking, I thought, getting to love something the way taking care of it will allow you to love, only to say goodbye so quickly.

I recall this as I sit to gather my thoughts on what it’s been like working with Gene Colan these past 12 months. It was a year ago tomorrow, on June 21st, that we received word that Adrienne, Gene’s wife of 45 years, had been found dead in their apartment.

Since Adrienne’s passing, I’ve managed Gene’s business affairs. It was really just an excuse to spend more time with my friend; I funneled commissions his way and reminded him what was on the agenda; arranged signings and occasional appearances and that was it. These tasks had been Adrienne’s.

Following their mother’s passing, Gene’s children and I concluded that the best thing for Gene was to keep him as busy as possible. But we needn’t have worried; Gene knew instinctively what he needed do to survive with dignity. He mourned his wife daily but never allowed himself to become depressed. Instead, he labored at his art board as often as he could, losing himself—or perhaps finding himself—in his work. At 84, with one blind eye and the other eye failing, Gene Colan continued to create art at its highest level.

Sadly, that ended a few months ago. Two tumors on his liver, which appeared more than a year earlier, had grown much larger. Gene phoned me one night literally gasping for breath. He was hospitalized and a few weeks later taken to Calvary, a hospice in the Bronx. Gene wouldn’t go home again.

But Gene never lost hope. He continued to talk about his plans for the future. Mind you, this was not a feeble-minded man. An occasional short-term memory loss notwithstanding (and who doesn’t have those after high school?) Gene was clear-thinking and real-world oriented. He just wanted to go home. And he believed that wanting to was enough. This had been a recurring theme in his life. Gene wanted a career drawing comics. He wanted to work for Marvel. He wanted to be the best artist in his field. He wanted to marry Adrienne the minute he laid eyes on her... Gene believed that if he wanted something badly enough, focused and stuck to his guns, he’d eventually get it. And he usually did.

“There isn't anything I have to be afraid of,” Gene said in his final interview. “Love is the answer.”

Each time we spoke at the hospice, Gene discussed what he was going to do when he got out. He remembered every promised, unfinished piece of artwork. He thought about moving back to Vermont. And there was still that livingroom wall he wanted to paint horses on. He wasn't deluding himself; he understood instictively the sublime magic of possitive thinking.

I didn’t speak to Gene on Saturday. Then Sunday was Father’s Day and my entire family was home for a change. I figured I’d catch up with Gene on Monday.

Today is Monday. On the Hebrew calendar, it’s my father’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of the day he passed. Art is long but life is short. And this morning Gene’s daughter Nanci told me that Gene fractured his hip over the weekend.

Gene had already been declining rapidly. Now, with this fracture, he was sedated into a sleep state and would not likely waken again. Without drinking, his already fragile kidneys would fail. His family and doctors decided there was no point hydrating Gene intravenously because if he did awaken, he would be in terrible pain and the morphine necessary to alleviate that pain would just put him under again.

“Seven to 10 days is the usual,” Nanci said. “Could be sooner or later.”

Newspaper people are in the practice of writing obituaries long before well-known people actually pass away. That’s the demand of the trade. My grandmother would have considered that an ayin horah. I guess I do, too. But I know that when I get that call, I won’t be able to write a blessed word for a long time. So I’m writing this now.

This is not a eulogy—it’s some thoughts about a man I always liked very much and grew to love; a pal I spoke with nearly every day because he needed help. Now, at the end of the road, I realize how much he’s helped me.

I knew this day would come but it came too quickly. It's been a rare pleasure working with Gene. He knew who he was—how valuable his contributions to the world of comic art have been—how prized it remains by so many. Yet he never felt less than grateful to anyone who’d even read a single panel that he’d drawn. Until he was too weak to hold a pencil, he put his whole kishkes into everything he drew—whether it was a $5000 commission or a small drawing for someone’s child. And he was never satisfied with his artwork but always eager to learn a little more, do a little better, try something new. At 84.

Gene would look at artists like James Bama and says, “Now that’s really something. Oh boy, can this guy paint!” He was a kid again looking at Milt Caniff renderings and floored by his friend John Buscema's work.

My pal Gene was generous and funny and kind. He was exactly the type of man who should be drawing superheroes for young people to marvel at. Exactly and precisely. I’m richer for having known him. He was truly an original.

Seven to 10 days. It’s heart-rending growing to love someone that you know you’ll be saying goodbye to so soon, but worth every moment.

Clifford Meth
4:30 pm, June 20, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Russ Heath CGC Sketch Op - Part II



Here's three more Russ Heath sketches (bound for CGC) available now. Russ is only doing a limited number of these. Interested? Contact Chris Seminara at cseminara@akibia.com.

(Note: numbering below continues from previous post)


5. Capt. America with tank in background - $260 (sold)
6. Capt. America and soldiers - $270 (sold)
7. Woman with sword and werewolf - $210 (sold)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Russ Heath: CGC Sketch Opportunity






Joe Kubert asked me to work with Russ Heath and boy am I glad he did. Russ, at eighty-something, is still turning out the highest quality art... and at prices that are rediculously low. He is doing a limited number of sketches that I am witnessing for CGC's signature series. Interested? Contact Chris Seminara at cseminara@akibia.com. There won't be a lot of these.




Here's a few that are available now:
1. Capt. America with plane - $270 (sold)
2. Capt. America large bust with gun - $225 (sold)
3. Weird Capt. America battle scene with horse - $220 THIS IS THE ONLY ONE LEFT!
4. Capt. America w/ skeleton-like face leading the charge - $250 (sold)

Gene Colan's Garage Sale

There's some nice items that you may someday say, "Why didn't I buy one of those?" Click here for details.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gene Colan: Hope Springs


Had an emotional visit with Gene tonight at his hospice. He'd been out for his fresh air already today so he was exhausted and remained in bed for the few hours that I stayed. We spoke of many things: life and death, death and life, career, family, friends, G-d...

"If I could change anything, I'd have put my whole soul into saving Adrienne. I would have moved mountains to save her. That's the only thing I would do different... The best moment of my life was meeting Adrienne in Tanament, Pennsylvania. She was so beautiful--I couldn't believe it. That was my best moment. She was a knockout...

"My career? The process of improvement is slow, but I knew that I had something to offer. And Stan [Lee] knew it, too. He gave me a great opportunity. He's a first-class businessman. And he saw things in me that I didn't see. He would never come out and tell you that but he showed it in a lot of different ways...

"I'm not beyond fear. I'm fearful about death. Everything that you ever wanted to do just goes up in smoke. The idea of being put in the ground or put under the ground is frightening. Most people don't want to talk about it... But I've decided to change my way of thinking. What they're telling me is not acceptible to me. I've got a tumor and it's cancer. And that's it. But I'm thinking that whatever you are thinking can come true. If it's not a selfish thought. I lean heavily on G-d now. I wasn't always like this. There isn't anything I have to be afraid of. Love is the answer. And the way to get there is by trying to find good in someone you don't necessarily like. Prayer can't be selfish. You don't pray for a yacht or money--you work hard if you want those things. But if you pray for unselfish things...

"And if you're looking for an answer, just ask. You'll get the answer if the question is worthy of an answer."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Michael Netzer: The Dark Knight

Michael Netzer is such a special man that I sometimes forget he's an outstanding illustrator, too. The mood of Michael's art is never the same, and it's always right on target. Look at these recent commissioned pieces and ask yourself why you don't have something of Michael's hanging in your home.

Dave Cockrum Speaks from Beyond




As usual, Tom Spurgeon offers the most compelling round-up of bio and analysis at his site The Comics Reporter following the death of the extraordinary Jeffrey Jones. I have little to add other than I remain very sad about Jeff's passing. We were working on a book together for better than four years now called Silent Light (Jeff chose the title), which I now feel obliged to finish more quickly. I also suppose we'll find some worthy cause to benefit from this book's publication because now it will disturb me to make any money from this project in Jeff's absence. Jeff already created and signed several hundred tip-in sheets for it; Michael Netzer, our mutual friend, offered more than a year ago to write the introduction.

Yes, I'm avoiding the pronouns. It's not a judgemental thing at all. Gender reassignment notwithstanding, Jeffrey Catherine Jones always signed letters and emails to me simply "Jeffrey"--and on the phone continued to say, "Hello Clifford. It's Jeffrey." I knew the artist and writer (Jeff wrote beautifully) and had no regard, one way or the other, for anything beyond that. His/her personal life was just that.

Then out of nowhere, I was pointed to a 1995 audio interview with Dave Cockrum and myself conducted at Icon-IVX in Long Island regarding Dave's Futurians and the beginnings of Aardwolf Publishing. This was a nice memory. Click the link--it's worth a few minutes to hear Dave's sweet voice again. Thank you Howard Margolin, who hosts DESTINIES - THE VOICE OF SCIENCE FICTION. His show airs on Fridays at 11:30 PM on WUSB, 90.1 FM, the radio station of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Hundreds of writers, artists, editors, actors, producers, directors, and musicians have appeared on the program since its debut in April, 1983.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jeffrey Catherine Jones


I was deeply saddened to learn that my friend, the artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones, passed away today. To make matters worse, I have no clue about the matters surrounding Jeff's death. We have corresponded for years and spoken on the phone many times; I was aware of certain depression and alcohol-related issues, but of nothing that was life-threatening. We spoke mostly of art and literature, not of personal matters. I have one of Jeff's original water colors hanging in my kitchen, a little cloud burst that's purple and sad yet deeply soothing. I'm so sorry that this dear and tortured soul is no longer among us.

Michael Nezter, our mutual friend, has a beautiful video of Jeff on his website here. Really worth watching.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Dave & Paty Cockrum Scholarship








New pics just in from Carol Thomas at The Kubert School (thanks Carol!)
As noted, the Kubert School in Dover, NJ, produces tomorrow's best and brightest comic artists. I had the pleasure of presenting this year's Dave & Paty Cockrum Scholarship to Brigid Allanson, one of the promising young talents at this extraordinary academy. Spider-Man artist Adam Kubert and his legendary dad are also pictured.

Note: When you purchase comics from the Estate of Dave Cockrum (Dave's personal comics), the proceeds benefit this annual scholarship.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don McGregor Honors Me

I grew up reading his work. He was one of my favorite scripters. What an honor to see the writer Don McGregor mention me on his blog:



Gene Colan has his beautiful daughter Nanci and her family, his talented son Eric, and the stand-up, talented writer, extraordinaire Clifford Meth around him. Me? I'm getting lost in night-time Brooklyn.

I've been meaning to get back to finishing the Notes and what I've come to think of as the SAWED OFF SHOTGUN MINI BLOGS. I went in to see Gene right after I came back from Rhode Island, in case I had to back up home for my Mom.

I went at dusk, and spent three and half hours with Gene, talking about everything from life, changes in our lives, comics, movies, and about the people I mentioned above who have been there for him in this difficult time. I hadn't been in the area where Gene was at the time in years--probably not since we filmed DETECTIVES INC. One of the first things I told Gene was that where he was was directly across the street from where the final scene for the film was done. And a few blocks up from where Gene was that night is where we filmed on an overpass to get the opening shot of Rainier crossing a busy, wide, night-time Manhattan Street. And while we were doing it, we could have turned the camera around and filmed thieves breaking the side window on the cameraman's car and stealing the equipment stored there.

I think Gene enjoyed the stories. And I certainly just enjoyed being with him. I left about 11:15. This was just after bin Laden had been shot, and the city was on increased alert. It looked like they had blocked the Battery Tunnel entrance, which meant you had to go onto the East Side highway.

I have written before that I am no Hawk of the Wilderness, but I thought, okay, I can take the ramp onto the Brooklyn Bridge and get home that way. Except the ramp was blocked off. Police cars were in front it. Armed police men stood at the side the car. I had to get off Houston Street. I knew if I could get to Bowery, I could get to the Main Entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge. This is one of those Manhattan Streets, that even when you're stopped a street lights, you can't see a single street sign telling you where you are!






Photo of Don and actor Robert Culp.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kubert's World


The Kubert School in Dover, New Jersey continues to turn out tomorrow's most promising new comic artists, and I had the pleasure today of presenting the Dave & Paty Cockrum Scholarship to Brigid Allanson, one of the promising young talents at this extraordinary academy. There were also new scholarships memorializing Dave Simons and Al Williamson (Al's son was on hand to award this one).

There's much better photos, I'm sure, including some with Adam Kubert and Joe actually smiling, but this was the only one that found it's way to my cellphone.

Note: When you purchase comics from the Estate of Dave Cockrum (Dave's personal comics), the proceeds benefit this annual scholarship.

My Friend Dave Cockrum

Everything about Dave Cockrum was extraordinary--his draftsmanship, his designs, his storytelling... and the man himself.