Friday, June 3, 2011

Autobiography Pt.9

       The guy was, and always will be to me, Marsh.
       Carl and I met Marshal Rogers in an Ossining Pharmacy on an early fall Thursday. I know it was a Thursday because that was the day the news-truck delivered the new goods. Carl and I were about to cash-out on the week’s latest take, and some guy over at the magazine rack exclaimed, yea, he really did…
       “ALL RIGHT!!!”
Carl and I bit the bait in a heart-beat.
       Who are you?
       What’s the big deal?!!!
       “Warren printed my drawing on his fan page!” and pointed hard to the six copies of CREEPY in his hand.
       The moment I met Marsh was the moment when he was finally published.
       Marsh was always very serious about his art. Quite dedicated, and I admired that. He was certainly out of the Kirby School, so we understood something about what drove us to work that way. Turns out he lived in nearby Dobbs Ferry, and Carl and I quickly visited him. At the time, Marsh was stocking nuts and bolts in some nut and bolt warehouse, and was dogging’ to break out.
       Carl and I had been kind-of-making-the-rent- between-SOS-phone-calls-to-the-folks. Still, it wasn’t a “Thanks for the dough, I’ll be back,” it was a business proposition. “Can you advance me four hundred dollars? I’m due a check next week and I’ll cover it?”
       And what really irked me was the idea that unless I lived at home, with short hair, my folks wouldn’t pay for my college education. I wanted to go to the school of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Out of the budget. And I’m looking around at my four brothers and know as if the Sun will rise tomorrow that none of them are going to college. The only son who wants to go to college.
       I remember walking through the late-afternoon living room, late in my senior year of high-school, and about four steps past him, and heading for my upstairs studio, Dad stops me with his voice alone.
       I turn obediently and he continues….
       “We’ll pay for you college, but you’ve gotta stop drawing this space-man shit”
       Now, many men and boys don’t understand the dynamics of the parting from the father, in your Senior year, with a job waiting for you at Marvel, parting. But there is a time when a young man frees himself of family shackles to seek his fortune, and for the most part, the father is unwilling to surrender his waning power, as the son resists it more.
       “O.K. Pop. No problem.”
       A parting of sorts, concluding a little too much eight-year drama.
       Grasping at straws, shortly after, the old man demanded that I cut my beautiful, wavy, chestnut-colored, hard-won, shoulder length hair, or get out.
       I moved out the next day.
       My mother never forgave him.
       Anyway, Marsh, Carl, and I spent a fair amount of time together in Bedford Hills. In particular Poker on Friday nights, which was played on the living room/studio floor, as we didn’t have a table and chairs, just pennies.
       The more “up-town” version of same was the weekly poker party at Frank Brunner’s apartment in far-away Ridgewood, Brooklyn. Frank had good taste in illustration, and had many wonderful examples which Carl and I ohhed and ahhed over. Frank’s wife Jan, also a Detroiter, hosted the party as efficiently as Miss Kitty would. Over the course of the evening, the “inner circle” arrived or departed, and there was always fresh change for the table. Included in the line-up of sharks were Roy Thomas, Berni Wrightson, Alan Weiss, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Steve Mitchell, Steve Englehart, and many others.
       It was fun being part of this new wave of comics people, and many of the friendships made during this time have lasted for thirty five years.

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