Grimm Tidings

If it feels like the blog has been focusing a bit more on my picture-making 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 on my current computer and eventually archived up on the Interwebs, files amongst which I'm also finding old sketches and cartoons.

The 1995 drawing above right, a mock cover to the nonexistent Mr. K-a's Pal, Benjy Grimm done for CAPA-Alpha, was a riff on the cover of DC Comics' Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #102, 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 total mishmash post shortly after his passing, while CAPA-Alpha was described in detail even before that.

Mike pitched me an idea for what if I recall right 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 versus Marvel thing was happening. Mike was an admirer of Fantastic Four member Ben Grimm, alias The Thing, created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby; the character's motto "It's Clobberin' Time!" was at least one of his 'zine titles. He also appropriated a version of Steve Ditko's absolutist hero Mr. A as Mr. K-a for his contributions (which I'm sorry to say is a reference that if you don't get you'll have to research on your own, because this post is a fun trip but taking way too long). 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 me and him 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 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) that was a cop-out maneuver; Mike was valiant in preserving the humor of the situation, precious 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 a bit more precise with my lettering, but that's a whole other deal.

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

Cover to Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #102 © 1967, and characters TM/®, DC Comics. 
Mock-cover concept and most text © 1995 the estate of Mike Valerio. Mock-cover art 
© 1995 Brian Saner Lamken. The Thing TM Marvel Comics. Mr. A TM Steve Ditko.

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