Category Archives: Family and Friends

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

Eggs2015_0

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

Remembering England, 1979 Part 2

1979_07GBOxfordBlogOur second week in England (and Wales) began with a train ride from Paddington Station, London to Oxford, where we checked into our rooms at the Turf Tavern, a wonderful and very old pub tucked away on a back street. I don’t think they rent rooms anymore, but it was great then. In Oxford we visited as many of the famous colleges as we had time for in one day. Continue reading

Remembering England, 1979 Part 1

BritBulletin1In the 1970s I had a group of about a dozen good friends that I spent a lot of time with, one from grade school (Tim W, still friends), some from high school, some from Rutgers College, near where I lived in Highland Park, NJ, where those friends had gone to school. During 1978 we started discussing the idea of a trip to England together. I’m not sure who started it, but by a year-end party at my apartment, I agreed to be the one to make plans. As above, I put those plans into a series of six “British Bulletins” I typed up and mailed out to everyone interested. This was great fun, I think trip planning can be nearly as interesting as the trip itself. Those wanting to go waffled, and by the time I needed to make reservations in April, we were down to three going: myself, and two Lindas. Linda R. made her own travel plans from her home in Vermont, I booked charter flights for Linda C. and myself out of Newark, NJ for June 30th, and we met Linda R. in London. I had written to a few small hotels and bed and breakfasts at each of our trip destinations, and mailed out reservation deposits. Unfortunately, it was a time of great labor unrest in England, with many labor strikes and demonstrations. As we arrived at some of our rooms, we found they either hadn’t received our deposit yet, or it had just arrived, due to a mail carrier strike! But all the hosts were very helpful, and if they didn’t have rooms for us, they found them at a neighbor’s house, so that all worked out fine. Here’s my write up of the places I had made reservations: Continue reading