Category Archives: Remembered

J.R.R. TOLKIEN and I

Dust jacket art by Tolkien.

I had a good friend in grade school, Mrs. Grady, the school librarian, who knew my interests. One day—I don’t recall the year, but around 1963—she handed me a copy of this book and said she thought I’d enjoy it. I not only enjoyed it, it was smitten! I loved everything about it, from the cover and endpaper maps with their fascinating calligraphy to the story, the characters, the illustrations, and above all, the entire complex world created by the author. Yes, there were some things I’d found in other fantasy works, but much of it was clearly new creation.

Of course I wanted to read more by Tolkien, and Mrs. Grady told me that a sequel of sorts, but a much longer book in three volumes, had come out in hardcover, but she had not read it or seen it yet.

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Early Comic Book Memories

This and all images © DC Entertainment.

I’ve been working on a family history project the last few months, and today it got me thinking about my earliest memories of comics and superheroes. The first superhero I encountered was on TV, “The Adventures of Superman” with George Reeves as the title character and a great supporting cast. We got our first black and white TV around 1955, it had a tiny screen no more than eight inches diagonally I think. The moment I saw this show, I was hooked. I began learning to read in the fall of 1956 in first grade, and at some point a year or two later, I managed to read on the end credits of the show that Superman appeared in magazines. I hadn’t seen one yet, but from then on I knew about comics, at least in theory. Continue reading

A Christmas Message from 1513 A.D.

Kirkpatrick Chapel, Rutgers University
Photo © Jon Oliver.

Longtime readers of my blog may remember this entry. I’m rerunning it today in honor of the season.

For many years I attended the annual Christmas concert at Kirkpatrick Chapel, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. First because I had friends in the choirs that performed there, later because I loved the music and it had become an annual tradition for me and my friends. When I moved to southern New Jersey I couldn’t get to it any more, and I miss it.

I’m not a very religious person, belonging to no church or other organized religion, but I did grow up in a church-going family, and what I always liked most about it was the music. Particularly choir music. For over twenty years the annual concert at Rutgers gave me a joyful chance to hear some great choral singing. Between the songs, there would be readings from the Christmas story in the Bible, and also another reading. I don’t know where the tradition began, or how long ago it started, but most of the years I attended, there was a reading from a letter written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo. A google search will tell you more about the historical figure, though there seems to be some uncertainty that he did indeed write the letter. Whoever the author was, I find it very moving, especially at Christmas.

Fra Giovanni letter

Many years ago I lettered up this document and gave it out to friends as a Christmas present. I thought I’d do the same for all of you this year, in the spirit of the season. There’s a higher resolution copy HERE which you can download and print if you’d like.

Thanks to Linda for reminding me about this, share it with anyone you think might be interested. And if you ever get the chance to attend “Christmas in Carol and Song” at Kirkpatrick Chapel, don’t pass it up. It’s a wonderful experience.

The First Annual Letterer Appreciation Day!

I’m not sure whose idea Letterer Appreciation Day was, but I first heard of it from letterer Pat Patrick Brosseau and letterer/font creator Nate Piekos. Of course I heartily approve, especially since the date honors the birthday of my late inspiration, role model and friend, Gaspar Saladino, seen here on our last meeting in 2014. Below are links to previous articles I’ve written about his work, in some cases just the first of multiple parts.

Gaspar Saladino 1927-2016

Celebrating Gaspar Saladino

Gaspar Saladino’s First Lettering for DC Comics part 1

NYCC 2014 with Gaspar Saladino and friends

NEW Lettering from Gaspar Saladino 2012

NEW Gaspar Saladino logo for JOE FRANKENSTEIN!

Toth, Saladino, Schwartz

The DC Comics Offices 1930s-1950s Part 4