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New York, New York

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In early October, I was in Manhattan for the New York Comic Con, a three-day event that drew tens of thousands to the Javits Convention Center. I spent much of the convention behind The Library of American Comics section of the IDW Publishing booth, showcasing the LOAC line of books and speaking with fans, professionals, and members of the press who took the time to make us part of their convention experience.

It was gratifying to speak with fans until my voice rasped — it was delightful to have first-time meetings with persons like Melissa Singer of Tor Books and Nicky Brown, the granddaughter of pulp superstar Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson — it was a treat to renew acquaintances with great comics talents like Jim Steranko, Joe Kubert, and Don McGregor, but if forced to choose, the ONE thing that made the New York trip most special …

… Being able to hang with two of my oldest and best friends, Mike Dudley and Lee Weeks.

To some, Lee needs no introduction — he’s spent the past quarter-century as a comics artist of rare talent, dubbed by no less an authority than Walter Simonson as, “the John Buscema of our generation.” Mike may be less well known, but within our little social circle, he’s mighty important to us all.

Back in our teen-aged years, living in northern New England, it was Mike who took the initiative to create a state-wide comics club, scouring the letters pages of Marvel and DC Comics and fan magazine The Buyer’s Guide for addresses of other fans in his area. That club grew and expanded, lasting more than a decade (sustaining itself during the time Mike himself went off to far-off New Jersey to attend the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning). The direct-sales marketplace blossomed during the club’s lifetime, comics shops came to even our relatively-backwards state, and perhaps those of us who have stayed friends for thirty years would have been just as close had our contact run exclusively through those stores. But those monthly club meetings provided a continuity and a diversity — each gathering held in a different locale, many with a different after-meeting gathering at some area restaurant — that helped cement our relationships in ways that may not exist (or, at least, may be increasingly rare) in these 21st Century days of Facebook and Twittering.

Mike remains steadfast in his own times of trial and tribulation, and he’s loyal and compassionate to those in his life during their own struggles. Perhaps most impressive, he’s willing to take time out of his own busy schedule to spend a few days taking a road trip with the likes of me — no easy task, I’m sure, since I’m used to living alone and not interacting with others on a round-the-clock basis, likely making me not always the best of company.

Here’s Mike standing on the Empire State Building observation platform, 86 storeys above the sidewalk. It was only after we arrived on the observation deck that he revealed he’s squeamish about heights!

 

So here’s a public “Thanks!” to both Lee and Mike for helping make this trip to Fun City perhaps the most fun of all …

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Written by cnwl1

November 1, 2010 at 4:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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