Grimm Tidings


If you feel as though the blog has focused a bit more on my visual works recently,
well, it has. That's due in part to me simply having so much fun putting together those Pictogags. But this entry is due to me going through files to get old articles entered for digital storage and eventually archived up on the Interwebs, files amongst which I'm also finding old sketches and cartoons.

Superman lifting Jimmy Olsen by his straitjacket into a cell The impassively faced Mr. K-a in hat, suit, and tie lifting rocky Ben Grimm, Thing of the Fantastic Four, by his straitjacket into a cell

The 1995 drawing above right is a mock cover to the nonexistent series Mr. K-a's
Pal, Benjy Grimm
, done for CAPA-Alpha, riffing on the cover to an issue of DC Comics' Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, above left — dated June 1967, penciled
by Curt Swan, inked by George Klein, and lettered by Ira Schnapp.

I brainstormed the piece for/with a fellow member of CAPA-Alpha, a.k.a. K-a, Mike Valerio. Mike and this very picture were first mentioned on the blog a couple of years ago in a mishmash post shortly after his passing, while CAPA-Alpha was described in detail before that.

Mike pitched me an idea for what I recall was a month devoted to either writing about inter-company crossovers or producing intra-K-a collaborations, if not both, around the time that the big-deal DC vs. Marvel event was happening. Mike was an admirer of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby's ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing, alias Ben Grimm, of the Fantastic Four; the character's motto "It's Clobberin' Time!" was at least one of Mike's 'zine titles. He also appropriated a version of Steve Ditko's absolutist hero Mr. A as Mr. K-a for his contributions (which is a reference that if you don't get you're invited to research on your own). Mike presented me with both the cover that he wanted me to copy and the cover copy — what The Thing, in place of Jimmy Olsen, would be saying plus a torrent of strident text to stuff into Mr. K-a's mouth. I surprised Mike by drawing us in as the institution's security guard and doctor, respectively.

I dearly wish that I'd been able to accommodate more of what Mike wrote for Mr.
K-a's spiel. We planned from the start that parts of the massive word balloon would be obscured, but much to Mike's credit when I apologized for how it was laying out and suggested that we could fudge things — make the partially obscured parts nonsense and the totally obscured parts irrelevant, so that everything you saw could be read straight — he agreed with me that even in a silly context like this it seemed like a cop-out; Mike was valiant in preserving the humor of the situation, darling prose be darned, just as I was diligent in spacing out what wouldn't end up being lettered. I also wish that I'd been less sloppy with my lettering.

Here's a larger version of the art so that you can better read what is there.


The impassively faced Mr. K-a in hat, suit, and tie lifting rocky Ben Grimm, Thing of the Fantastic Four, by his straitjacket into a cell

Cover to Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #102 © 1967 DC Comics. Mock-cover concept and most text © 1995 Mike Valerio. Mock-cover art © 1995 Brian Saner Lamken. Superman and related elements, Thing / Benjy Grimm, and Mr. A respectively TM/® DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Steve Ditko.


Related: K-a Blam Huston, We Have Amalgam Nice Day for a Sprite Wedding

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