Meeting Harlan Ellison was a real treat! I got the impression he was a bit of a showman - liked to draw attention to himself, kind of like Ken but on steroids... He loved to tell the most amazing stories and the way he told them was amusing and so very funny. He said he once mailed a dead gopher to someone who really pissed him off and he sent it by surface mail! Nobody messes with Harlan - he once sued AOL and won.
The stories went on till after midnight, when he finally slowed down a bit. Meeting a writer of his stature was such a great opportunity for me to speak up, he was so smart and interesting to talk to, and his wealth of knowledge, humour and creativity was inspiring. I never felt he talked down to me in any way. I guess that's why I felt comfortable around him, enough to have an intelligent conversation and not worry about being judged. He was always interested in what I had to say, a boost for me, especially coming from a well-known writer like him.
The Einstein quote is on one of my favorites, I can totally relate to it. The educational system I was in during the 60s and 70s, did not fit me, nor did I fit in. I felt stupid as I failed the first three grades of elementary school - who wouldn't!
I'm re reading a book that had a huge impact on me called HUMAN INTELLIGENCE by Jack Fincher, it was on the reading list for Eric McLuhans class back in the late 70s. This book helped me come to the realization, that I was a right brain thinker in a left brain world. The book made sense, I was riveted when I read the book back then. Was it true, I was not stupid after all?!!
In the page above I wanted to show the frustration I felt when I went to the bank. I was like the Stephen Leacock character in the short story called, MY FINANCIAL CAREER - that's me! Math was one of the casualties of a bad education system that didn't work for me.
In the top left panel I wanted to show how Queen St. West in the mid-80's was becoming the trendy fashion area it is today. The zeitgeist was changing - Club Monaco and other chain fashion stores were displacing book stores and cheap eateries like Barney's. In the late 70's the area was still an affordable place to live for Ontario College of Art students like us, and a haven for local bands like the Diodes, Johnny and the G-rays, the Viletones, the Dishes, the Cads, and Martha and the Muffins, who all played at local taverns like the Rex and the Black Bull, and of course in the infamous Crash 'n Burn Club (which was managed by Ken's oldest friend Ralph Alfonso, who was also our room-mate for a time).
The biggest comic store in town was the Silver Snail, which remained in the area up until recently when the store was sold and the building was torn down. I took the photo above of the empty space were it stood for so many years. During the mid to late-80's alternative comics were coming on the scene and the Beguiling was attracting a new crowd, opening near Honest Ed's just as we were leaving Toronto to start our new life in Victoria.
The bottom panel shows us returning from an evening downtown - Ken's studiomate Paul Rivoche babysat for us and often drew bedtime stories for Alex and Raymond. We did the same, which the guys just loved - and it got me drawing more.