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Jerry Siegel’s House

posted on August 4, 2008

Back in January BCC (before car crash) I was fortunate to be able to visit the Glenville neighborhood in Cleveland and the actual house where Jerry Siegel was living when he created Superman. Thanks to a knowledgeable guide and a generous owner, I actually was able to stand in the bedroom where Jerry, on a hot and sleepless summer night in 1933, created not only an icon for the ages, but an entire genre as well.

Out of that visit came a story involving Pete Roberts, the resident comic book writer in the Funky and the current resident in the apartment above Montoni’s. In the story, Pete visit’s the former Siegel residence and we find that the house still has some magic to share. I took a ton of reference photo’s the day I was there, so when you see the house in the strip, it’s the real deal. In fact, along with this blog, I’ll also post some pictures of the house in the archive section. Although DC Comics is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Superman this summer, my story celebrates Superman’s actual birth five years earlier.

The story kicks off August 11th and runs consecutively through the dailies and Sundays. I even got to create my own supervillan, and we get to visit him in the lair of the Lord of Late (gee, for a moment there, I felt like Stan Lee) in the August 17th Sunday.

Jim Mooney

posted on May 13, 2008

As many of you already know, I was in a car accident recently and the recovery process has hampered my ability to stay on top of some things… these blogs being one of them. One of the things I had wanted to mention was the April 13th Sunday which showed Les and Summer as Superman and Supergirl in a reprise of the cover for Action Comics 252. When the strip was about to be penciled, I had called Jim Mooney who had been the Supergirl artist supreme for most of the early run and asked him if he would like to recreate that cover for me. Even though he hadn’t actually done that original cover, Jim agreed to step in and reprise his old characters. The result speaks for itself and if you’d like to see it, it’s up in the archive section.

Sadly, Jim passed away a few weeks before the Sunday appeared in the paper. I had only known him from our phone conversations, but I had been a fan of his work when I was growing up, and had found him to be a true gentleman and a genuine pleasure to work with. It was a thrill to work with one of the legends from my youth, and to know that, quite possibly, that Funky Sunday was his last published work.

When I sold my comic collection last summer, I kept a half dozen books that had, for one reason or another, a special meaning for me. I plan to do some homages of those covers with my characters from time to time with the next one appearing on June 15th.

Finally, thanks to everyone who e-mailed about the strip being a Pulitzer finalist this year. Again, the above mentioned accident kept me from responding in a timely fashion, but I did appreciate your good wishes. You can check it out in the interview section along with a cool interview from Rambler Magazine.

And now it’s back to catching up on the strips.

Walks around Akron

posted on March 19, 2008

As many of you may be aware, I also collaborate on another comic, Crankshaft, with my partner in crime Chuck Ayers. In fact, in recent years, Chuck has also been working with me on Funky. In both strips, the milieu centers on the north shore of Ohio, with a lot of local sites ending up in the strips from Crankshaft’s trips to Cleveland to see the Indian’s play to Luigi’s in Akron, the pizza restaurant that I’ve totally appropriated (with the owner’s kind permission) to create the fictional Montoni’s.

I find that using familiar locales places the characters in an environment that helps to ground the work and keep it centered. The gazebo in the Westview town square, Les and Summer’s house, and the school where Les teaches are all based on real places. This makes the stages where the action takes place in Funky very comfortable settings in which to work.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is because Chuck, in collaboration with writer Russ Musarra, has recently published a book, Walks around Akron, which features various locales in and around the Akron area. This book expands on the locales that in many cases exist just off the page in both Funky and Crankshaft. All of the places that Russ writes about are illustrated by Chuck in a truly gorgeous series of paintings. The book stands totally on its own as collection of fine writing and art, but it also is fascinating if you’re interested in seeing the larger world in which both Funky and Crankshaft exist. If you want to take a look, “Walks” can be found in the book section of this site.