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ANCIENT HISTORY

Return with us now to 1991 and the San Diego Comic-Con (not yet “International”). I’ve been sorting out the contents of boxes in the below-stairs Book Grotto of the Harvey Manse, and I discovered a distinguished remnant of that Con, my first. In those antique days when nights are filled with revelry and life was but a song, I occupied a table in Artists Alley, which resulted in the aforementioned remnant of those halcyon times; a miniature 3" x 8" booklet of cartoons.

A guy named Roger May wandered through the Alley and invited some of us do a single-page cartoon (which would measure 3" x 4"). He said he’d collect all the cartoons at the end of the day and manufacture the booklet at a local copy shop, and then the next day, he’d circulate it through the Alley and elsewhere, selling it for $2 apiece. As far as I can remember, none us contributors shared in the rewards of this feeble financial enterprise. But we all got a copy of the booklet.

AlleyBooklet1

AlleyBooklet2

Surprisingly (or maybe not, once Roger saw what I was peddling at my table — “art prints” of cartoony lewd ladies), he gave me the centerfold. (Or maybe I asked for it as a condition of my contribution — centerfold and barenekkidwimmin somehow belonging together.)

I decorated the centerfold with the cute li’l bimbo who appears at the right end of the two bottom rows above. The Con met over July Fourth that year, so firecrackers were de rigeur. And my pin-up is “threatening” to light firecrackers that are the only things obscuring an unimpeded vista of her admirable epidermis. She, all the while, pretends not to know why all of us are urging her to light off those firecrackers. (Pant, pant.)

The drawing is otherwise littered with double entendre of every spurious sort; “going out with a bang” indeed — I should be ashamed, but I’m not, not ever.

Roger dutifully numbered the booklet’s pages, all 32 of them, only a few of which are reproduced here. Several notable ’tooners of the day (and some who persisted until today) are represented. Referring to the encircled numbers on each of the pages (panels), here are the cartoonists whose cartoons appear here (first and second rows, left to right: 4, Bruce Hilvitz; 23, Rich Geary; 24, Eric Talbot; 18, Chance Wolf; 9, Shel Dorf (founder of the Con); 25, Joseph Linsner.

Third row: 3, Dan Gregory; 5, Larry Welz (I was surprised to see this old undergrounder at the Denver Comic Con this past June); 16/17, Yrs Trly; then right to left across the bottom: Guy Colwell; and, back cover, Mark Martin.

Most of the cartoonists exploit the UG tradition of the comedy of shock or make terrible puns. Talbot’s anatomical gag is wonderfully hilarious. But they’re all delicious. And to think, I almost threw this treasure out when rummaging through all those boxes downstairs.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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