Wednesday, September 30, 2009
HARVEY KURTZMAN & MY MILLION DOLLAR CAREER
Well, I thought I was going to just drop in and write this down then take it "Over Yonder Wall".....but a funny thing happened on the way to the Open Salon forum today. I stopped in to read Skip Williamson's post and what he had hoped for over there, in terms of being a place of wide open celebration of mind and body, soul and spirit instead of being an editor's recluse, which it actually is for the most part. Having said that and after posting a comment basically agreeing that Open Salon is dead, I lost my whole train of Comic thought. Oh well, I guess I will just have to wing it and offend as many as possible over here on The Comic Book College Weeklies without trying too hard, I suppose?
But let's go back to the beginning, more specifically the title of this little diddy? What? Me Worry? and start from the beginning. As I was saying earlier (last week's FaceBook) I am inveribly, a direct descendant of the Comic Genius of Harvey Kurtzman. Granted, Harvey is probably turning over in his grave right now for making that assumption, not to mention I did NOT get written permission, but I think there are many witnesses still living who, would in fact, agree that Harv himself would approve of the entire premise of this article, giving him complete credit for inspiring and guiding some of the Universe's funniest moments of All Time....... God was that over the top? I know You thought some of it was pretty funny, but, of course, they would not believe me for saying it, but You if You said it.....well I guess that's another chapter for another time..........maybe folks will believe R.Crumb's Book of Genesis?
What else can you call it? Divine Intervention? Divine Appointment? Fate? A Gift from the gods? In truth, laughter is the best medicine in the whole World. The Word says somewhere though I never actually read it, that God loves a cheerful giver. I have laughed on so many occasioned to the Bank that it is not funny. So, what else can we assume that it is when your life has come into contact with some many of the right creative people because of the influence of this one man? Fact, Skip Williamson, Jay Lynch, Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton, all were directly influenced in their careers by Harvey Kurtzman. Fact, having embarked on an educational journey through an institution known as Culver-Stockton College on the banks of the mighty Missisippi in a little Midwest college town known as Canton, Mo, I met Skip Williamson. Fact Skip Williamson, for some strange and unknown reason took a liking to a rather obnoxious kid (me) from the suburbs of Chicago and introduced him (Me) to his friends Jay Lynch and Robert Crumb whom also took a strange liking or disliking to this kid from the Burbs (Me)?. Fact, this kid, (Me) became a Millionaire (Spent it all) later in life because of these encounters, as well a became a pretty good cartoonist/artist though I have to wait till I die before I can actually say that with some Authority. WTF?
All because of the these guys, and Dr.Williamson, Skip's father, my Humanities Professor, intersecting my life at several different but distinct times and places changing the way I thought of myself and those around me. Not to mention, when it was my turn to produce an artistic comic work, I had their invisible guiding influences helping me along. And even when there was no work , there was work to be done. Why? because I had become an comic book artist, and an artist can always find work, or some project he or she or Me can call "work" while we are waiting for the money to prove we are who we say we are, an Artist. (Mostly that is all designed for THE support group, who need some reason to put up with that terribly gifted individual in their life, the Artiste).
Originally, I did not understand, or even know there was a direct line of descendants. I thought it was all just the Invisible Hand of God Almighty that arranged all of this. (Maybe that is how it really did happen?)But for a long time, that was the only way I could envision how things evolved in my life, in those terms. But as I get older I began to see how the Invisible God works through people, in strange and marvelous ways, His wonders to perform????????????? As they say, and seeing the influence that these individuals have had on their generation and the one following and the one following them, you have to acknowledge that there is more going on here than meets the naked eye. Unless you don't want to "see" what is really happening, then none of this will make any sense to you anyway. As for the 1st Million dollars, really that was kind of easy once I decided to go for the throat. People just basically threw the $$ dough at me..."Here, they said...I want that"!!!!!!!!!!!!