Today I took a long bus ride to Manning Crossing Shopping Center with lunch chicken frustratingly lodged in my back molar, scratching my scruffy beard in anticipation of meeting Ty Templeton. He's the author and artist behind many things, including some issues of my beloved She-Hulk, the very probably awesome but hard to find Spider-Man/Human Torch "I'm With Stupid" story, and more. I was first in line to shake his hand and he got a chuckle out of my 'Kirk is My BFF' t-shirt. I monopolized his time from a bit after one o'clock until nearly 2:30, leaving his table occsionally to give others a chance, and to buy his 'Star Trek:Mission's End' comics, enter some draws, and drool over Doctor Who spaceships.
Ty (I choose to call him Ty, plus it's his name) calls Dan Slott 'Danny', speaks regularly with him by phone and says they help each other with story points. Ty's art is quite good, and I coveted his story pages including a Green Lantern page from 'Two-Minute Warning'. However, I didn't want to see my wife's reaction to the cost. He showed me his Hoverboy comic, and I showed him my Monkey McDevill #2 in the Tales from the Harbor anthology. He laughed at the strategically placed dialog balloons in the shower scene. He signed my copy of his 'Howard the Duck: Media Duckling' trade paperback.
I began my rant: "Howard's great... now, don't get me wrong..."
"You mean Steve Gerber," he interjected.
"No, David, although maybe I started that sentence badly... Peter David was writing She-Hulk at the time and your Howard the Duck was the best She-Hulk comic that month."
He laughed, thanked me, and said that when the She-Hulk sales plummeted, he and Dan had offered to come back to the title, but the execs wanted Dan on their higher profile Spider-Man.
Ty recommended lots of comics, including Gerber's 'Hard Time', spoke of Gerber's working through his final days: working for two years as his lungs slowly calcified. It seemed like a horrible way to go, but an impossibly admirable work ethic.
Ty showed me advance art for his Futurama-Simpsons crossover, and his older art for Looney Tunes his Pepe LePew story ("the world's most loveable date-rapist" he quipped).
He quoted Ringo Starr at some point, something about writing or talent which seemed profound to me at the time and which I can't recall.
He pointed out that Spidey-Torch was coming out in hardcover next month, and I said I was eager to read it but I had a moral objection to buying hardcovers: they take up too much space on my shelf. He had an objection as well, but it was that he felt comics were an art form meant to be impermanent, ephemeral, and hardcovers seemed to be trying too hard to seem prestigious. Or something like that. I'll admit, I can't say it as well as he said it, but you had to be there.
With only minutes to spare before my bus came, I saw Laurie B. draw a She-Hulk for a guy and intriuged, I asked how much?
"You can pay me if you WANT, but Jay wants us to sketch for FREE today."
Never one to turn down FREE, I requested one, too, but asked her to finish it in 10 minutes. As she sketched a cute She-Hulk ("Make the boobs smaller than the last one," Ty urged, "That'll save time.") I apologized for needing speed but I had pre-bought tickets to Wolverine:Origins. Ty's semi-silent review was thumbs down with raspberry. Laurie was more inclined to like it. Ty pointed out a certain division along gender lines and I commented that my wife was interested in it mainly for Hugh Jackman butt.
"Plenty of that," smiled Ty. "Plenty of shirtless beefcake."
"So if I was considering a movie to help me switch teams..." I trailed off.
"This is the movie that lets you know that would be o.k."
When I complimented Laurie's sketch "I wish I had your talent." Ty said "There's no such thing as talent. It's a made-up word to make what we do (he pointed at the three of us) seem like magic. You just need to practice. If you can put two lines together you can draw. If you can put two words together you can write."
"I just have to be less lazy," I mused.
So this is the day I got my first art collectible sketched live. (I was jealous of my friend Devin's batch of sketches from Calgary's Comicon, I admit it)
"Your FIRST?" Laurie B asked.
"You started me down a dark path," I said. "Thanks to you both."
"Enjoy your movie," said Ty.
"Keep an open mind," said Laurie.
The Wolverine movie was not as bad as I expected. And there's butt. My wife will be pleased.
Coming soon: STAR TREK!!!