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The Comic Book Sundays

posted on January 31, 2013

Red-skull        Captain America

Questions continue to come in about the comic book covers that I use from time to time in the Funky Sunday strips. It seems that there are a lot of folks in Funkydom who enjoy seeing the comics of their youth and the artists who created them paid homage in this way. So I thought I’d let you in on some of the thinking behind their selection.

When I arrived as a freshman at Kent State University, I experienced the usual traumas of being away from home and living on your own (more or less) for the first time. Once I was settled-in, I went looking for a place that sold comic books in Kent. Even though I had the vast resources of a university at my disposal, I needed to continue my comics education because I was still basically being home-schooled by Stan the Man Lee. There were only a couple of places in Kent that sold comics and both were quite a hoof. Making the journey often required the cutting of a class or two. The first place I tried was called the Kent Kozy Korner. It was the kind of small little drugstore/lunch counter establishment that was already fading from the scene, and was probably a year or so from closing at that point. It had one of those old fashioned comic rack/magazine stands, and when I walked in and saw the comics there, it was like encountering some long lost friends. While the place stayed open, it remained my source for all of the magic that was pouring out of Marvel Comics at that time. None, however, was more magical than this Jack Kirby/Don Heck cover showing the Red Skull becoming the master of the cosmic cube. That it’s a Kirby pencilling job there is no doubt, although the inking looks more like Dick Ayers or Syd Shores to me, but who am I to argue with the Grand Comics Database. What it certainly is is a masterful piece of work that exploded in my brain like a small thermonuclear device. The image never left me and was one of the first I thought of when it came time to give my due to the comic creating gods of my youth.

Sadly, instead of being designated a historic landmark, the Kent Kozy Korner was razed not too log ago to make way for a Speedway gas station… which doesn’t sell comics. However the memory of the Kent Kozy Korner does live on as the Komix Korner, the comic shop in the Funkyverse.

I’d like to close by thanking the Ohio Music Educators Association for the royal treatment this past weekend. It was the kick-off book signing for Volume 2 of The Complete Funky Winkerbean and I had a great time meeting with a lot of old friends and making some new ones as well. We’ve already made plans to do the kick-off for Volume 3 there next year. You should be able to order Volume 2 from this website in short order or you can go to Amazon right now where it’s already listed (and at a very nice price I might add). Also, some new book signings have just been added in the events section on this site. Check ’em out.

Auld Lang Syne

posted on December 28, 2012

I just wanted to take a moment here as things wind down to thank all of the people who helped make this 40th anniversary year a very special one. I’d like to thank the gang at King Features for getting my back throughout an incredibly hectic and busy 2012. Also the folks at the Kent State University Press for their hard work in support of Volume One of the Complete Funky Winkerbean. Had I known when I started out that a collection like this would one day exist, I definetly would have spent more time on the name. A shout out as well to my long time friends at C.L.Barnhouse, my other publisher, for hosting me at the Mid-West Clinic in Chicago during the holidays. I was great to spend time with old friends and a very satisfying way to tie a bow on this special year. Finally I’d like to thank Funky’s readers for coming out to the signings and for all of their emails and good wishes during the year.

Looking ahead, this coming year promises to be just as exciting. Volume Two is at the printers and we’ll be kicking things off like we did last year with a signing at the Ohio Music Educators conference in Columbus in February. I’m also very happy to announce that the good folks at the San Diego Comic-Con International have kindly given me a raincheck and invited me back as a special guest this year. I’m especially pleased about this because Comic-Con will be an integral part of a cool story arc in Funky that starts next year and wraps-up at the con in San Diego in 2014. So I’ll have a great opportunity for some boots on the ground research which is one of the many fun things about this job. Much more about all of this later. For now, I’d simply like to wish everyone a happy new year and the very best of years in 2013. At least we don’t have the Mayan Calendar to worry about anymore.


Akron Comic Con

posted on November 15, 2012

I just wanted to say a few words about the Akron Comic Con this past weekend. For a first time endeavor, the con organizers Michael Savene and Robert Jenkins pulled it all off in amazing fashion. It was the perfect comic con experience and it was great talking with all of the Funky readers who stopped by. If this first go at it is any indication, the Akron Comic Con is going to have a long and successful run.

For me personally, it was a thrill to meet the great Joe Staten. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long long time, and Joe is also helping me kick off a very cool project involving Funky which will be taking place next year. Can’t really say too much more at the moment, but I’ll be keeping everyone posted as things begin to roll out.