Christmas Greetings (that's 2006 done)
You can thank the ultra talented Al Bigley for the image you're seeing. Ain't it a stunner? Al is a class act and one of the nicest guys I know. Always happy to work on a project, always happy to have an email chat and just too damn good.
So, that's 2006 done for. Home and hosed. I know, there's still nine days to go, but I think it's safe to have a look back and reflect upon the year that's gone and see what's coming ahead.
Well, the number one highlight, easily, would be me finally taking the plunge and getting hitched. So far so good, I've not been told to go and sleep in the cat box just yet, so I must be doing something right. Congratulations flooded in from all over the world really, and colour me humble. As it stands the ceremony was everything I ever wanted to have, and if I could go back and do it all again I would. In a heartbeat. My other half is my muse, my everything. Without her I'd not do any of the things I do, nor would I have gotten to where I am now.
After that it was all downhill.
Norm Breyfogle, who stood by me in a very difficult time and gave me some very needed support. Norm - you're one of the greats. Same with Thad Branco, who saw through the crap that was being slung by a publisher and instantly threw me some ideas to work on. I needed that and it was appreciated more than I can say.
I hooked up with Alan Kupperberg earlier this year and we've been working off and on since then on a number of projects. The first fruits saw the light of day as we covered Alan's work on the Blue Devil book. We've done a similar look back on his Invaders run, that'll be appearing shortly. It's been a thrill to be able to host/maintain Alan's official web-site, and it'll be there for many years to come.
Alan Weiss entered my world, or, more to the point, I wandered into his. Alan is another one of those rare guys - brilliant, opinionated and insightful. Alan is one of the few guys I know whom I can phone and have a conversation lasting for over an hour that has nothing to do with comic books. He's the only guy I've spoken to since I left school who's told me things and then said to pay attention because he'll ask me about it all later, just to see if I was paying attention. I'd love the guy even if he wasn't one of the most talented artists out there in any era.
Worked on solving a number of mysteries when it comes to Australian comics with Kevin Patrick. He's one of the few guys I know who's as passionate about certain Aussie comics as I am. I'm sure there's been times that my other half has thought that Kevin and myself are a kind of demented version of the Hardy Boys. If nothing else Kevin has inspired me to drag comics out, hold them up and to be proud to write about comics that others have long looked down upon.
Had an old pal wander back into my life. This time around we're finding out the stuff we should have known the first time around. Age does temper people and while I can't speak for her I'm finding she's a very interesting person and someone I'm happy to call mah chum. Oh, and she ain't that old.
Started a project that I've always wanted to do - the History Of Newton Comics. One day I'll finish it.
Got offers to write more books - that's always good.
There's more, thanks to all the people I've spoken to/interviewed this year. Bob Almond. Mike Royer. Larry Lieber. Paul Neary - who lost his bet with me, but that's what you get when you bet on England to retain the Ashes. Ron Wilson. Danny Bulandi. Steve Mitchell. Joe Jusko. Steve Rude. Alan Grant and many more. Eventually I'll get around to transcribing all those tapes! Mark McKenna - Banana Tails is a killer! Bob McLeod. Jimmy Tournas - one of the best inkers I've seen in ages. Bill Schelly. Roy Thomas. Jim Mooney - who saw the book we did get canceled but we've now seen it get picked up by another publisher. Stan Lee. Joe Sinnott. Barry Kitson. Libby Titus. Tom Brevoort. Steve Gerber. Richard Howell. Mark Ellis. Tony Isabella. Al Bigley. Mike Netzer. Mike Pascale. Gene Colan. Clifford Meth - who's had some deeper lows than I have this year but will bounce back. Chin up chum! I know there's more of you, and if I've forgotten to name names, rest assured it isn't because I don't care. I'm just vague at this time of the year.
And then there's mah pals. The Friday Night Drinkers: Chadwick, The Doc, Tobias, Mich (when she turns up), Stevie, the Goatman and Davros. Without those guys I'd be a lonely man indeed and probably more insane. Kudos to Michael Baulderstone who has only now discovered the joys of sitting around, drinking booze, making fun of people and swearing in front of the pub. He's missed a lot.
I did have a lot of fun pointing out a certain artist who likes to swipe from Jack Kirby...if you missed it click the link. It's worth another look.
We'll all miss Colin Thiele, Peter Brock, Jerry Bails, Alex Toth and Dave Cockrum. Others on that list include Mart Nodell and now Jack Burnley.
2006 has been a year of incredible highs for me and some deep lows. I'd rather not go into the lows because as far as I'm concerned, once the clock ticks over on New Years Eve then all the crap that happened vanishes. Those people who've screwed me over and around know full well who they are. They can live with it, I'm going to keep moving onwards and upwards. Expect 2007 to be even better than 2006 (with one exception - I'm not allowed to get married again dammit) and may we all get only good things and the riches that we deserve.