TIME, FRIEND & FOE21 Oct | '2016
Greetings Loyal Airmen, this past week the Air Chief has been thinking a great deal of time. How when we are young, we seem to believe we have an endless supply; that somehow we are immune to the aging process and it certainly can have no effect on us. We are immortal. Then we wake up one morning and realize in just a few short weeks we will be 70. Frightening, in some ways…yes. But then again life is always about the journey…from beginning to end.
The Air Chief attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, N.H. between the years 1960 and 64, being a fun part of the first ever graduating class. When we look back on those days, they were some of the best days of our life. We were taught by nuns and for they were exceptional, talented, gifted teachers. Recently the school website posted the picture above to sadly announce the passing of Sister Esther Mary, the lady on the far left. This past week she returned to heaven and her loving Creator. Now to be honest, we aren’t positive as to the woman on to the right of this photo, taken a few years ago, but we do know the smiling woman in the light blue jacket. We knew her as Sister Mary Raymunda and she taught us English for three years, freshmen (had her for homeroom..a real blessing), sophomore and senior. No other individual is more responsible for my lifelong passion for writing and story telling than Sister Raymunda. Last we’d heard she was in her mid-90s and still going strong. God bless you, Sister, and forever my heartfelt thanks.
Continuing our discussion of time and what it means, the Air Chief want to relate the story of the Captain Hazzard graphic novel which has now been TEN YEARS in the making. That’s right, we said ten years. A full decade ago, along about the same time we were starting up Airship 27 Productions and diving into the world of pulps, the Air Chief thought it would be a good idea to do a graphic novel version of Cap’s first (and only classic) adventure, “Python Men of the Lost City.” And so we adapted it to comic script form and began looking for an art team. Over a period of one year, we had two different artists sign on and then unprofessionally quit the project. Frustrated we kept looking and as fortune would have it, we ended meeting a terrific artist from Massachusetts, one Craig Shepard, who by the way, is the biggest Superman fan in the world. Anyways, Craig and the Air Chief hit if off immediately and when explained this 80 page script, he agreed to take it on. As time went by, Craig started turning in pages, while dealing with all the other things going on his life, as happens to all of this. After about five years, Craig had completed two thirds of the pages and we’d recruited a friend of his, inker Eric Lebow, to join the team as inker. Somewhere in all this, Craig actually turned in a cover, which you see above in glorious color. It’s a wonderful piece that we love dearly and we’ve shared it many times with our pulp friends, all we kept waiting anxiously to see the book completed and published.
Of course somewhere along the line, things got sidetracked and Craig stopped turning in pages. Years went by, we learned he and his family had moved to Florida; major life changes for sure. Then he popped up on Facebook, we reconnected and we inquired as to the status of the book. Craig, by now, had assumed incorrectly that we had given up on the book and didn’t believe it would ever see the light of day. We quickly assured him that was not the case and bit by bit, he started penciling new pages. Which all leads up to about a month ago when he finished drawing the 80th and final page of this book. Meanwhile, Eric, who is still inking away on the pages throws us a curve ball. He wants to know if there is any chance we, i.e. Craig, can redo the cover piece, as he would like to ink it and thus say he did the entire book, to include the cover. Hmm. What the hell? We’d already waited ten years. Chuckle. So we brought this up to Craig and lo and behold, he was all for it, saying it would allow him to correct a few things he wasn’t happy with in the first piece…and now add the character of Mary Parker, the female lead in the story, to the group shot. Okay, the Air Chief simply shook his head and thought, why not? And there, next to the old colored over, is Craig’s new version, which Eric will eventually ink and we’ll get colored up.
Sometimes the Air Chief shakes his head at young comic creators who are frustrated that their comic project is taking a few months longer than they wanted it to. And we think about projects like this 10 year old graphic novel and have to laugh. Time can be your enemy, if that is how you view it. On the other hand, rather than fight the tide, you can simply allow yourself to float and ride with it to where it takes you. In regards to all this, sometime early next year, all you Loyal Airmen will have to chance to buy this graphic novel by the Air Chief, Craig Shepard, Eric Lebow and Rob Davis on letters. It’s been a hell of a long ride, but in the end, we think you’ll consider it worth while.
Ron – Over & Out!