Category Archives: Family and Friends

Murphy Anderson passes


Very sad to hear of the passing of artist and friend Murphy Anderson. He was one of the first artists at DC Comics whose name I knew because he was occasionally allowed to sign his work on stories such as “The Atomic Knights” in STRANGE ADVENTURES. I loved his precise style and crisp inking. When I started working at DC Comics in 1977, I met Murphy, and found him to be a terrific person, kind and generous, and full of great stories about the comics business, which he loved as I did. We soon discovered that we lived near each other in central New Jersey, and since I was commuting to the DC offices by train every day, I would often carry some of Murphy’s DC work in for him. Then, when Murphy was visiting the offices and was ready to leave when I did, he would give me a ride home in his large car (Lincoln perhaps?), and regale me with stories about working with Julie Schwartz and his writers, or on the Buck Rogers newspaper strip, or PS Magazine for the army. Sometimes he would talk about his early days breaking in to comics, too. We soon developed a friendship through helping each other and mutual interests. When my car was in the shop and I needed a ride somewhere, Murphy would often volunteer to take me, and I helped him from time to time on his freelance projects or DC color separations. When John Workman was the art director at HEAVY METAL, he asked if I had any ideas for the one-page strip he was running called “June 2050.” I asked Murphy if he’d be willing to draw something I wrote, and when he agreed, I made it an homage to his favorite newspaper strip and pulp character, Buck Rogers, with Murphy and his wife Helen playing the leads. It was the only time we worked together on a comics project, and great fun.

In later years, after I moved to southern New Jersey, I would only see Murphy occasionally at comics conventions, or call him on the phone infrequently. I’m going to miss his art, his friendship, his deep, friendly voice, and his kindness. Rest in peace, Murphy.

Family Visits

RussBoysEllenCMPSPBlogOn Thursday afternoon my brother Russ and his sons Nathan and Jayden arrived at our house with my mom for an overnight visit. They live in California, and we don’t see them often, so it was great having them. Thursday afternoon we had a fine time at the beach, and Friday morning we went to the Cape May Point State Park where we walked on one of the trails… Continue reading

John Workman Visits

WorkmanKleinYesterday we enjoyed a visit from John Workman, long-time letterer, artist and writer, and a friend since we first worked together in the DC Comics Production Department in 1977, where John helped me get started with lettering comics myself. John was brought down from his home in central New Jersey by another old friend, Ron Jordan, who took the picture above. We spent several hours reminiscing, talking about our careers, the people we worked with, and our lives inside and outside comics. A great time was had by all, including a pizza dinner on our screened porch with Ron, Ellen and the cats. Thanks to Ron for arranging this visit!

WorkmanArtHere’s John with a page of comics art he wrote, pencilled and inked for the story “Key Club” that appeared in STAR*REACH #2 dated 1975. I had already seen and enjoyed the story before I was hired by DC Comics, and I bought this page from John soon after we began working together in 1977. One of the many memories John shared yesterday, and one I’d never heard, is how the story came to be in that issue. John met a talented young artist at a convention in 1974, while he was still living in the state of Washington, and they were looking at each other’s work and comparing notes on ways to get into comics. The other artist mentioned he was working on a story for Mike Friedrich’s new independent comic STAR*REACH, the first issue of which had just come out, and suggested John submit a story to Friedrich too. John went home and produced “Key Club,” sent it off, and it was accepted, but John was quite surprised when it was published in the second issue of the book, alongside work by artists John admired like Neal Adams, Dick Giordano and Jim Starlin. Later, John learned the reason it was used so quickly: the story slated for that spot by the talented artist John met wasn’t finished in time. That artist was Dave Stevens, who never did finish the story intended for STAR*REACH.

John also recounted how his being hired by DC Comics in 1975 was due to his mumbling, a funny tale. John and his friend and fellow artist Bob Smith came to New York in 1975 looking to get work in comics. Larry Hama got them in the door at Marvel, and they managed to get an appointment with Gerry Conway, then an editor at DC. They had already met a few folks who worked at DC, and while they were in the reception area waiting, Bob Rozakis, one of those people, came by and asked who they were there to see. John mumbled “Conway,” and Bob replied, “Oh, he’s not busy, I’ll take you in.” As Workman and Smith followed Rozakis down the hall, John realized they were going PAST Conway’s office and a few minutes later, they were being introduced to Carmine Infantino, then the DC publisher, and an artistic hero of both visitors. John’s mumble had been heard as “Carmine,” and John said his knees were knocking, and he expected them to be quickly dismissed, but Carmine looked over their work, talked to them graciously, and told them John and Bob reminded him of himself and Frank Giacoia when those two friends were trying to get work in comics at the beginning of their careers in the late 1940s. Soon, Carmine was calling in other staffers, and before the visit ended, Bob Smith had inking work, and John had accepted a staff position as a Production Artist. “If it wasn’t for my mumbling,” John laughed, “who knows where I’d be today.”

It’s always great to see old friends like John, hope we can get together again soon.


Glass-blowing at Wheaton Arts

P1040485My mom is visiting us for a few days, and yesterday afternoon we went to Wheaton Arts in Millville, NJ where we enjoyed a demonstration of the art of glass-blowing the area is famous for. Here’s the set-up in the glass-blowing center, with the large gas-driven furnace at right, the work area for the glass artisans in the center, and seats for viewing on the left. Continue reading

Easter Eggs 2015


We’re at Ellen’s sister Ann’s home in way northern New Jersey for our annual Easter visit, and continuing the tradition of many years, yesterday afternoon we colored Easter eggs in a variety of unusual ways. This is a competition of sorts that we enjoy, and a creative activity, too. This year the egg decorators were Ann, Ellen, Zack, Ina, Todd and Tim. We each decorated about six eggs, so three dozen eggs total. I was having so much fun, I neglected to take any pictures during the decorating this year, but I’ll link to some past examples at the end of this post. Continue reading