Stopping in the Catonsville Post Office this morning to mail off my LL Bean watch for a new battery, I spied a plaque describing the WPA murals on the walls, painted in 1942 by a man named Avery Johnson. Google is flooded with entries for an NBA star of the same name, but I found another entry for this artist (3rd row from the right, 5th image down) on a Java-tacular site put together by the University of Central Arkansas. More information as I get it.
Spaceman Spiff, Where Are You?!? The Cleveland Scene ran a story about Bill Watterson, the reclusive man behind Calvin & Hobbes. The story has no real new information, mostly speculation, but raises the question Why quit? Having dreamed of being able to create some kind of marketable artistic story for years, I have to say I’d probably try to do what he did and go out on top, instead of beating a dead horse for cash. Why does anyone have to make T-shirts and coffee mugs if they’re already rich? My guess is that his books still do a brisk business on Amazon to this day; how much money is enough? Interestingly enough, Berke Breathed has just started running Opus in the weekend comics pages again, and in a Salon interview he pokes at comics-as-licensing juggernaut, saving most of his jabs for Tom Davis, better known as Mr. Garfield—who hasn’t drawn his own strips for years. For Breathed, though, you get the sense that he has something to say again, instead of trying to cash in one last time—recent world events bring to mind the dark days of the early 80’s, when he was just hitting his stride.
My personal connection to this story: Back in ’87 or so, I attended my cousin’s wedding in Ohio and was fortunate enough to meet a thin, kind man in a yellow coat and glasses, who sat down and talked to me about cartooning. (Unsurprisingly, he looks a lot like the father in the C&H strips.) As it turned out, Bill Watterson lived across the street from my aunt and uncle, and used to hang out with my cousin. That Christmas I was given a signed copy of Calvin And Hobbes, which I still treasure, as I was told that he didn’t like to sign books too much. I have a lot of respect for him, because he had a clear shot at millions in revenue, and took the high road to creative expression instead.
Technology Giving Me The Finger. Last night I formatted the iMac and loaded Panther on the drive; upon reboot the hard drive has dissappeared completely, so I have to crack the case to figure out what’s going on. The PCMCIA adapter card for my CompactFlash media seems to be corrupting data—I lost all the pictures I took of Jen’s family visit last weekend as well as some other shots. I was able to retrieve the other stuff after plugging in the SanDisk USB adapter. And Office X for the Mac refused to run on this machine. It got to the end of the “optimizing font menu performance” thing—yeah, right—and then crashed. When I upgraded the version and plugged in my serial, it refused to accept the old number.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Word still sucks ass.
Class went well again last night, although one guy didn’t show and another is sick; I also bumped into Whitney and she introduced me to Jose Villarrubia, whose name I recognized but couldn’t place until I Googled him. Nice guy.
Dangit. Turns out I missed A Charlie Brown Christmas Again this year. Thanks for promoting that so well, CBS.