Sunday, July 20, 2008
Did I Err?? No...
I gotta post this. It's tugging at me.
I'm working on a book about the experiences I've had through my artwork, so the stories told here will be brief so if I DO finish the book, people will still buy it. However, I gotta show these pics and write about 'em.
One of the large parts of the book will be about the man above, Mr. Sergio Aragones.
Sergio began drawing for MAD Magazine in 1963 (if that's incorrect I'll fix later) up until now, missing only one issue as fault of the post office. He is a widely recognized cartoonist, receiving countless awards and portrayed in one award (I'll add the name of the award later).
How I was introduced by the great Aragones was flipping through comics of my cousins and brothers. At the age of 7, I picked up my first intro to Sergio Aragones' GROO THE WANDERER, and I haven't stopped flipping. It is about a mindless wandering barbarian who is quick with his swords and slow of mind. He tries to fight for good, but in fact he just tries to fight. I began drawing the gourd-nosed warrior instantly, and playing Groo (nobody knew what I was doing, so I played with trees. Really, I played Groo with trees as playmates). I learned how to read in part from Groo (and comics in general, a credit comic books don't get. They help to learn kids to read). I also learned of the legend of Groo through the writings of the Groo writer, Mark Evanier. He would tell stories in the letters page of how kind and how crazy FAST Sergio can draw. Many fans and friends speak highly of how fast Sergio can think and draw. I became fascinated by this fact and tried my hardest to learn to draw fast, just like my hero (did I just say HERO??). I will stop here in my brief history lesson and explain the photos above.
In 2007 the fans of GROO celebrated the 25th anniversary of GROO. The "Groo Crew" (which consists of Sergio Aragones( creator, plotter, artist), Mark Evanier (writer), Stan Sakai (letterer, creator of Usagi Yojimbo), and Tom Luth (colorist)) released a 25th anniversary book, after 4 years of a Groo-less world. Also in 2007 came a new miniseries, Groo: Hell On Earth. It also marked the return of Sergio to the Michigan based comic convention, the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan. Also attending was comic great Stan Sakai, letterer of Groo since 1982 and most notably the creator of Usagi Yojimbo. These two comic powerhouses are good friends and colleagues and were seated next to each other at the Motor City Con.
After almost 25 years of writing to the GROO GRAMS (the letters page for Groo to the creators), doodling Groo on any paper in front of me, and dreaming of meeting my idol, I finally came face to face with one of the men responsible for my becoming an artist. With me I brought a drawing I did for Sergio, two block prints for him, a copy of my comic M.I.A.: Mime In Action, a few things to get signed, and photos. One of the photos is shown in the photo above of a papier mache sculpture I did of Sergio and Groo. He seemed genuinely impressed and flattered. I also showed pics of each of my kids dressed as Groo for their first Halloweens. Unfortunately for them, they were all either one month old or one WEEK old when we dressed them. I also showed him my Groo sculpture I did 7 years ago, and he loved it, and told me "You know, I sculpt too! I sculpted this piece here", he told me as he pointed to a bust of Groo and his dog Rufferto. I had thought for years that someone else had done that, I told him, and was very impressed that it was he who did it.
I also bugged the hell out of Stan Sakai, another one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I will post that meeting soon, but right now my hands are cramping and my wife is glaring at me about being at the computer too long, so keep checking in for more pics, more stories about these two men called Sergio and Sten...er, I mean STAN (started rhyming. Sorry!) and my historical day with them!