Posts tagged Dave Cockrum

Kurt Busiek

New & Old Portraits of the Creators

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Kurt Busiek (above) is a new drawing rounding out his Wikipedia biograpahy. Dave Cockrum, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (below) are older drawings for various uses that have been adapted for Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Daredevil #43

Commission Collaborations

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Gene Colan and I are collaborating on a series of favorite cover re-constructions. They’re produced as a new line of original art from Clifford Meth’s Aardwolf Signatures. A website for perusing and ordering from Aardwolf Signatures will soon go live. Meantime anyone interested in more info or reserving this piece, can contact Clifford Meth (See contact form on this site).

Daredevil #43. Finished pencil. I’ve brought it to this stage and Gene will finish the Daredevil figure which is only laid out lightly. He’ll also tweak anything he feels necessary to achieve a unified look to the pencils.

There’s something about working over a Jack Kirby image that takes me to another world as an artist. Tasking at first until Kirby’s thinking begins to seep in. Once there, a re-discovery of his genius that simplified the most complex shapes and movements into a symphony of mythic proportions.

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The Clifford Meth Portfolio

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I’ve likely been staring at this blank blog sheet even longer than Clifford did at his. The Art of Responsibility and the Responsibility of Art is more than a clever twist of a phrase. It is also a shared sentiment that we both find ourselves immersed in, even when the throes of life nearly succeed at making us feel less artistic or responsible.  A shared sentiment that’s forged a friendship through years of intersecting pursuit in our distinct venues within the comics community and periphery.

Clifford Meth’s accomplishments as a writer, his efforts on behalf of comics creators and his humanitarian approach to solving problems are no secret.  Perhaps it’s this benevolent streak that’s also driven him from one professional pursuit to another. While employment opportunities fluctuate with seasons, one mainstay for Clifford has been the representation of Gene Colan and The Dave Cockrum Estate for everything concerning their art.  It is a promising and budding portfolio that I’ve watched grow from his deeply rooted conviction in the need for more fairness and justice for the comics creator community.

2010 was a very good year. A return to working with Joe Rubinstein on commissioned art and a return to a few high profile comics projects, capped by an invitation to the 2010 Detroit Fanfare. All heralding an upgrade from my  ground-base activity on the web for nearly a decade now. They also highlight the need for better access to more – and better organization in managing it.

So, I asked Clifford recently about the possibility that he’d also add me to his growing  portfolio. The answer came in the link above to his blog.  It is not an exaggeration to say that it took a few hours to recover from his talent as a delightfully devious wordsmith of the profound.

It is a pleasure and privilege to announce that Clifford and I are upgrading a dear friendship into an artist/agent relationship that seeks to maintain, together, the distinct momentum we’ve both enjoyed in 2010.  The arrangement also touches on a little more.  An announcement (and link to a new website) will soon follow, on the founding of Aardwolf Signatures, a new business framework for Clifford Meth and for the growing ranks of artists he represents.

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Dave Cockrum’s Futurians Return

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Last month Clifford Meth announced the return of Dave Cockrum’s Futurians by comics creator and publisher David Miller. More on this project was reported at Comic Book Resource’s Robot 6 blog.

David Miller, a true lover of Dave Cockrum’s creation, purchased the rights for this series and is producing it almost single-handedly.

In a video address for a fundraising drive at KICKSTARTER, his passion and sacrifice for the project dominate the plea to comics fandom for reviving what is perhaps the most prolific work of the late great Dave Cockrum, With nearly 6 weeks to go, the drive is way short of its announced goal. Visitors are urged to watch David Miller’s video address and get a feeling for the scope of the undertaking.

Everyone who contributes towards the success of the drive will be contributing to keeping alive the marvelous legacy of the legendary and dearly loved comics creator whom Dave Cockrum was.

For now, issue #2 of Dave Cockrum’s Futurians appears in the June solicitation of Diamond Previews, page 285. It was a special privilege for me to work with David Miller on producing the cover for this book and it hasn’t been easy to refrain from posting it here.

Everyone is urged to support this project in any way possible, whether by purchasing the book or by making a pledge at KICKSTARTER to help ensure its continued production.

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Meth on Meth

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Clifford Meth was back (for a while) writing his column, Meth Addict at Comics Bulletin. His first was a Steve Englehart interview.

He then wrote a second column which just saw publication, briefly, about how he spent last summer, weaving a story of his negotiating with Hollywood producer Richard Saperstein for film options to Dave Cockrum’s Futurians and his own Snaked properties.

According to Clifford, Saperstein was less than forthright with his dealings. Then Clifford discovered Sapperstein was trying to play him for a sap.

That’s when Meth got Methy.

Comics Bulletin owner and good friend of both Clifford and myself, Jason Brice, pulled Meth’s column after it was on for a day or so, fearing legal reprisal.

Clifford says at his site that the article is being picked up tomorrow by a bigger news site.

Comics Bulletin doesn’t list Meth Addict in its main columns listing, which might have nothing to do with this.

Harlan Ellison (scroll down) and Daniel Best are carrying the pulled column. Tony Isabella (Tony’s online Tips), Rich Johnston (Bleeding Cool) and Glenn Hauman (ComicMix) have chimed in as the story reverberates over the weekend.

This is the part that’s gotten everyone cheering in an uproar:

“Bad news, Cliff,” said the agent. “Richard’s not going to pay you.”
“We have a contract,” I said. “Of course he’s going to pay me.”
“No he isn’t. He’s pretty sure you won’t sue him. The fee is too small and you’d have to fly to Los Angeles to file for damages. Apparently this is how he does things.”
“Tell me this is a bad joke.”
“Sorry Cliff,” said my agent. “Welcome to Hollywood.”

I paused for a moment. Took a deep breath then exhaled. Then I took another one. “Don’t go anywhere,” I said. “I’ll call you right back.” Then I exhaled.
Thirty minutes later, we were back on the phone.
“Get a pen,” I said.
“I’ve got a pen,” my agent replied. “What is it?”
“Write this down.” I proceeded to read him Richard Saperstein’s parents’ names and home address. I spelled the street slowly so there’d be no mistake.
“What is this?” asked my agent, a nice young man whose heart was palpitating so audibly now that it came through the phone like tom-toms. I’d have worried about him but he’s half my age. Guy that young should have a healthy heart.
“That’s Richard’s parents’ address,” I repeated.
“Are you out of your mind?”
“Tell Richard his parents didn’t raise him right,” I said.
“Cliff, you can’t do this!” said my agent.
“Welcome to New Jersey,” I said.

Two days later, I received a check from The Genre Company, Richard Saperstein’s production company. I took the check to the bank. Eureka—it was good.

Jason Brice is good folk. He’s probably between a rock and a hard place with this.

Clifford Meth is one hell of a soldier for truth and justice.

Good to see the relationship between them withstand the turbulence.

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Have Peace, Eric

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Eric Aryeh Mahr 1955-2010

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At first it seemed like a mistake. An email from Joe Rubinstein asking if it was true that Eric Mahr had passed away, and if so, how. I couldn’t understand how such a thing is possible but looked around and found an obituary in the Buffalo News, yet still couldn’t see the connection. It’s not so uncommon a name, after all. I looked at Eric’s website, Mahrwood Press, and saw no indication. Emailed back to Joe that it must be someone else. Keep on checking, he said. I then visited Targum Press, where Eric was CEO. The front page obituary slammed into me like a ten ton truck with a payload of shock and sorrow.

No other news to be found on the web.  Maybe Clifford Meth knows, I thought, but Clifford’s shock was equal to mine. Maybe Sofia.  No.  Hearing the news wasn’t the easiest way for her to start her day either.  Eric’s gone and no one knows.

Stupid. How could I forget his Facebook page. Don’t do Facebook that much anymore, but there was the entire story on Eric’s profile. Countless condolences for Jody and the kids. An audio file of eulogies from the funeral that just took place on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  Eric’s older brother, Sanford, who couldn’t make the trip from the U.S. due to health restrictions, tells the story in a moving written eulogy recited by a friend at the funeral.

Eric and Jody flew to Buffalo NY last week to attend the funeral of Jody’s father… and another one of Eric’s uncle. Eric was very close to both. Way too much sorrow and grief for one family, one man, to suffer at once.  One funeral after the other.  But Eric was almost done.  Only one more eulogy for his uncle left to give.  His heart, ripped into shreds, pressed on with love, grief, memories and praise.  At the grave.  Pressed on so hard that it couldn’t press on anymore.  That’s when Eric collapsed.  Giving the eulogy at his uncle’s grave.  His heart.  His soul.  Collapsed at the grave.

Almost done. Way too much sorrow.

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It was a cheerful spring of 1994 when we first met. Eric called from Jerusalem asking if I was who he thought. Said he was a long time fan of my comics work, ardent comics aficionado and acquaintance of Neal Adams and his family in New York. We’d spend the next few years riding the bridge between the two distant worlds we both shared. The two worlds of comic books and Jewish heritage. Not an easy bridge to play on at all. Two worlds that don’t seem to share much in common, though we both knew how much in common they really shared.  So much so that we could hardly imagine a Jewish heritage without comic books or comics books without Jews.  Like me, Eric was raising a young family with heart stretched across the long divide between past and present loves and lives. Refusing to let go of either. Searching for ways to keep both worlds connected. Here in Israel.  Living only 20 minutes apart on the West Bank of our Jewish heritage… and our comics books.

Eric acclimated to Israeli life and culture quickly. Studied technical writing and secured a position with technology giant Comverse, and soon rose to position of marketing director of overseas projects. Though often on the road, he never forgot the neighborhood. Always thought of his friends. Several freelance design and animation commissions from Comverse that he directed my way were of the most lucrative and creative jobs I did in Israel during the 1990′s.  But that wasn’t enough for Eric. He wanted to work in comics and was intent on bridging the two worlds. By the turn of the millennium he found a way and established Mahrwood Press, beginning an outstanding line of comics books for the Jewish world. Comic books rich with thousands of years of the history and heritage of his ancestors .

During a visit to Israel, Joe Rubinstein talked about Eric approaching him to help illustrate stories for Mahrwood. Joe Kubert was already on board with a project. Eric was publishing one book after the other. It’s enough to simply peruse Mahrwood’s front page to see the rich array of books he produced, almost as a one man operation. He was publisher, editor, writer, coordinator, letterer and anything else that needed to be done to produce the books. It was the only way to raise such an operation from the ground up.

Though I contributed sporadically to Eric’s venture, my former partner Sofia Fedorov-Polonsky became a regular artist and colorist for Mahrwood press. Her Moscow art training and exquisite sensibilities went on to help define the brand name of books he produced.  In 2006, he conceived a project to help Israeli children displaced by the Second Lebanon War. Balm in Gilead featured some of the comic book industry giants, pitching in to help offset criticism against Israel and the financial setbacks the war caused its northern citizens.  Edited by Clifford Meth, it featured contributions by Neal Adams, Jon Bogdanove, Dave Cockrum, Jack Dann, Jeffrey Jones, Joe Kubert, Stan Lee, Robert Silverberg, William Tenn, Marv Wolfman, Michael W. Kaluta, myself and many more.  It was the landmark project that showed how Eric’s love and devotion for the two worlds he was ardently dedicated to, had fulfilled the ambitions he dreamed of  a decade before. Eric’s persistence and perseverance became a shining light in a world often governed by feelings of helplessness and futility.

In recent years, Eric supplemented his commitment to Mahrwood Press by also taking on the position of CEO of Targum Press book publishers, elevating the production quality and output of both enterprises simultaneously.

Eric Mahr’s unique contribution to the global comic book industry was only one side of a man driven by his convictions and commitments to his family, his people and his chosen profession. The other side, evident in the eulogies at his funeral, and well known to Sofia and I who were privileged to work with him, was the more indication of the special soul residing in him. A man with a heart of gold as big as his ambition. A giver at every turn. A father and husband cherished by family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There was not a time that Sofia and I met with Eric, that we didn’t talk on and on about the uplifting experience he left us with. About that soft-hearted man with a zest for life and a vision for tomorrow, to match the expanse of the worlds he toiled to bridge together and enhance.

The comics have lost a unique lover and contributer to its legacy.  The Jewish people have lost a visionary who’s left an indelible mark on its culture.

Our deepest condolences to Jody, the children Benjamin and his wife Shifra Hanna, Chava Sara and her fiance Moshe Yehuda Saposh, Raphael Moshe and Yosef Shmuel Alezer, grandchildren Moshe Yehosua and Sora Brucha, brother Sanford and sister Marilyn. May you be comforted from above with the peace of Jerusalem and Zion.

Michael Netzer and Sofia Fedorov-Polonsky
Ofra, Jerusalem, 2010.

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Family, friends and comics professionals remember Eric

  • Eulogies at the funeral – audio file.
  • Sanford Mahr‘s eulogy of his brother Eric in text format, telling of Eric’s childhood, their growing together and Eric’s last moments in his arms.
  • Clifford Meth‘s moving tribute to Eric at his blog.
  • Tom Spurgeon reports on Eric’s departure at The Comics Reporter.
  • Moshe Chaim Gress, artist and colleague, remembers Eric (from Facebook).
  • Hazon Yeshaya Humanitarian Network dedicates its hot meals nationwide to Eric’s memory (Word document).

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