Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The American Association of University Women first attracted my attention decades ago by the quality of its incredible used-book sales. While the AAUW is laudably devoted to such efforts as supporting education for women, I confess it was the lure of massive quantities of used books that drew me to the organization. This year, I'm targeting the 76th annual book sale of the Appleton, Wisconsin, branch; it's scheduled for October 25-28 in the Northland Mall, and high-energy sorting activities have been going on for many, many days. I'll be donating a considerable run of American Heritage, myself - thereby clearing some bookshelves and hoping to find a home for a publication I've loved but haven't consulted for some time.
But one of the delights of handling hundreds of discarded books is stumbling over unusual items - often, those of no interest to most prospective purchasers. Case in point: the shock I got when I picked up a tattered book titled Mr. and Mrs. Mouse. Credits on the title page are as follows: Illustrated by Ida Bohatta Morpurgo. English Version by June Head. Publishing information ran: Ars Sacra, Herbert Dubler, Inc., New York, N.Y. It was copyright 1943 by Herbert Dubler, Inc. And, yes, I'd absolutely had a copy - last seen probably 60 years ago. I hadn't been looking for it. It had never entered my thoughts later. But it evoked a double-take and an ensuing quick grab, followed by residence in my tote bag and an IOU in the cash can.
An online search has turned up little information. "Ida Bohatta" was apparently a popular German illustrator of children's books, and a Google search of images shows the book cover, where it's titled Mauschen Sorgen. So was the U.S. version in any respect outstanding? Well, after I finished reading it, I did, indeed, savor one entry - a poem accompanying this illustration - which I think became something of a family saying:
"I have the most astounding news,
The best you've heard for ages,
They're giving bits of cheese away
In pretty wire cages."
"Don't you be taken in, my dear,"
Said cautious Mrs. Grey.
"I never trust the humans when
They give their cheese away."
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
Ski's now Archie Comic Publications' Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development - and it is terrific seeing him again and - And if I don't post this right now, I'll miss the first panel I need to attend.
|Jim Lee and Family|
Thursday, July 12, 2012
|I grabbed the chance to give Jill Thompson|
a copy of our Parent's Guide to the
Best Kids' Comics. Her work is, of course,
Saturday, June 23, 2012
|Maggie Thompson, Don Thompson|
There was a reception in the Church Parish House following the ceremony - with sandwiches made by Mom, featuring her home-baked bread (Blue Ribbon-winning quality, per the Crawford County Fair). Mind you, she'd added food coloring to each batch, so the sandwiches were pink, yellow, green, and blue. (At least one guest - hi, Nancy! - took one look and opted to come back after she'd eaten at a nearby restaurant.) There was a follow-up celebration at the house - and then someone (Dad?) drove us north to Erie, where we caught the train to Cleveland - where we were to spend the rest of my summer vacation before we moved to Oberlin.
|Susan Thompson, Charles Thornton,|
Maggie, Don, James Broschart, Mary Curtis
(Oh, and a postscript: That wedding gown had been worn once before: when Mom and Dad married September 17, 1941, in Hudson, Ohio. Mom had sewn it for herself.)
Friday, June 8, 2012
|Ed, Mary, Betsy, and Maggie Curtis, Don Thompson|
Don, it turned out, was not only a fan of Mom's but also shared many other pop culture interests (before that term was even used). He and I talked pretty much nonstop on topics ranging from SF to fantasy to movies to radio shows to pulp magazines to detective fiction to comics to Mad magazine - and so on. He'd just finished his sophomore year in Journ School at Penn State, where he worked on the radio station and belonged to the SF club. And, yes, he was 21 and I was 14. (When this information was included in Dark Horse's Between the Panels, I was told, lawyers going through the preliminary draft circled it as a possible legal concern for publication. Hee!)
As noted, we drove him as far as our house - whence he continued his hitchhiking travel to his home. Next communication from him: a copy of Humbug #1 folded to fit into a #10 envelope with a note asking whether I'd seen it - which I hadn't. Over the next while, we wrote now and then, and he visited a few afternoons during vacation breaks. Again, nonstop conversation about SF, fantasy, movies, radio ... Yep, more pop culture chat. I graduated from high school, we started dating in 1960, and he graduated from Journ School. Mom even included him in the 1960 WorldCon "Best Group"-winning costume group shown here. (It's "The Five Fannish Senses": Dad as Sense of Science, Mary as Sense of Humor, Mom as Extra Sense, me as Sense of Wonder, and Don - Well, Don was 35 to 50 Cents, the price of science-fiction magazines.)
So I started college at Oberlin in the autumn of 1960, and Don went to work for the Cleveland Press, taking the bus each weekend and staying at an Oberlin bed-and-breakfast (well, I don't think he got breakfast there, but you get the idea) each Saturday night. Till we got married June 23, 1962.
Hey, that means I get another anniversary this month! Hot diggity!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Yet at each shop, as I waved the introductory booklet at people, I was met with friend after friend who hadn't heard of the strip. I hope that, by the end of FCBD, at least a few people have begun to anticipate the release of the first collection. Cushlamochree!
"Crockett Johnson" was the penname of the brilliant David Leisk (1906-1975). His ongoing legacy is (or was until now) the Harold and the Purple Crayon books, and he also illustrated a number of other children's books, four of them written by his wife, Ruth Krauss. Those tended to feature characters slightly younger than Barnaby, whom he introduced as a daily-newspaper character in 1942. The concept of the strip was simple: Barnaby is a little boy who wishes for a fairy godmother; what he gets is Mr. O'Malley, a winged, cigar-chomping character who is never seen by Barnaby's mother or father or other adult. Not that Mr. O'Malley is invisible; coincidence simply continues to complicate Barnaby's life, as adults think he has imagined the ever-increasing fantasy elements of his life.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
|Artificial cat checks out the Crawlway|
Sunday, February 19, 2012
|Jerry Robinson and Mark Evanier|
(1) Plan ahead. Look at the convention map, the San Diego map, the convention schedule, etc. Note whatever is of interest to you.
(2) Don't let #1 stop you from preparing to seize the opportunity, if something that looks like fun offers itself. Years and years ago, Don and I realized that we were growing so tense over planning that we decided to relax at the next Comic-Con and just enjoy whatever happened. We had a resultant relatively stress-free event that was packed with surprise encounters we'd have never experienced, had we gone with an agenda so strict that it didn't allow us to take time to hang out with nice people.
(3) Consider what to pack. If you want photos, take your best camera; it's not as though you'll see these folks all together somewhere else. Not to be morbid - but this photo is the last one I was ever able to take of Jerry Robinson. (And I love my digital camera and have since added a telephoto lens to the one I had last year - but don't forget to stick some extra memory cards in your pocket. I actually had to walk half a mile back to my hotel room last year to grab one I'd left there, when I realized the one in my camera was full.)
(4) Sign up for Twitter and begin to follow people you care about. Then check it during the show. Sometimes, folks will Tweet about where they are, what they're doing, and what news they've learned. It's a pop-culture festival, after all.
What have I forgotten?
And, before many minutes had gone by, Mark Engblom reminded me of his invaluable tip sheet.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
|This was the moment of triumph, in which Stephen Thompson (right) announced Dan Cernikovsky as winner of the binge-don't-purge event.|
... And, indeed, crash it did. When will I learn to save, save, save? In any case, the house was filled with about 50 attendees - from as far away as New York City and Iola, Wisconsin. There were those who savored the food (which, yes, did include a black bean soup for the vegetarians in attendance), those who actually watched the Super Bowl, those who raced from room to room firing Nerf missiles (those racers, it should be noted, were among those still in grade school; none of those who were older came remotely close to the racers in energy level), and even a few who took photos (especially at the moment of the tiara-winning triumph of the attendee who earned the most points for chicken consumption).
Sunday, February 5, 2012
So here I am in Maryland, preparing to be surrounded by chicken-eating devotees. Some of them may even watch the game while gorging. Stephen and I went yesterday to the Popeye's from which the chicken will be picked up today (and let me recommend this particular Popeye's establishment; the gentleman was charming, if a bit bemused: the Takoma Park restaurant on New Hampshire Avenue).
I've already managed to incapacitate myself slightly in all this: a missed step led to a certain bruising, including a swollen right foot. But the way I figure is that it will let me all the more empathize with the Super Bowl players requiring icing during Today's Other Event. But, of course, that'll be secondary to the true excitement. Up with chicken!
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
|March 2011 (left to right): Katy Curtis, Maggie Thompson, Paul Curtis, Grace Thompson, Stephen Thompson, Valerie Thompson, Devon Jaruk, Roy Jaruk, Jonah Thompson|
When was the last time you reached out to your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins ...? This would be a great year to do it!