Bryan Stroud for Comics Bulletin: How did you end up at Continuity?
Larry Hama: My friend Ralph Reese was working there and told me that desk space
was available for 50 bucks a month. This was in 1973 or thereabouts.
Neal Adams was still in partnership with Dick Giordano then.
CB: What did you do there?
HAMA: I worked on freelance jobs with Ralph and picked up advertising
storyboard, comp and animatic work from Neal on the side, as well as
Crusty Bunker stuff.
CB: Who did you meet there?
HAMA: Sergio Aragones, Russ Heath, Carl Potts, Klaus Janson, Jay Scott Pike,
Bob McLeod, Pat Broderick, Joe Rubinstein, Joe D’esposito, Mike Nasser
(Netzer,) Marshal Rodgers, Terry Austin, Jack Abel, Mike Hinge, Lynn
Varley, Jim Sherman, Bruce Patterson, Frank Miller, Eric Burden, Cary
Bates, Vicente Alcazar, Sal Amendola, Greg Theakston, Bob Wiaceck, Bob
Smith, Cathy-Ann Thomas, and probably hundreds of others. I already
knew Kaluta, Wrightson, Jones, Von Bode, et all from Gothic Blimp
Works and First Fridays.
CB: How long did you spend time there?
HAMA: I kept my desk space there for something like five years. In the
beginning, I had the drawing table in the front room next to Neal.
CB: What did you learn?
HAMA: Everything. I was at the font. The single most important thing I
ever learned about drawing was from Neal: “stop settling.”
CB: Was there any payment for your work?
HAMA: Absolutely. There was a per-panel rate for storyboards and a complex
system of divvying up the Crusty Bunkers money. Advertising paid way
better than comics in those days!
CB: Legend has it you were the first to coin the term “Crusty Bunker.” True?
HAMA: Not true. I designed the t-shirt- actually, I think I penciled it
and Neal inked it. It was Kris, Neal’s daughter who came up with the
CB: Any particularly fond memories?
HAMA: Too many to recount here. I spent 12 to 14 hours a day there, seven
days a week for years.
CB: Did the gathering at Continuity start informally or through renting of
space by other artists?
HAMA: Neal encouraged people to stop by. (All the bad coffee you could
drink- it put me off Cremora for life.) The original Continuity @ 8
E. 48th St. (the building no longer exists) was only three blocks from
DC and nine blocks from Marvel at the time, so it was easy to make the
side trip if you were coming into town to go to either. National
Lampoon was close by, too. Warren was only two subway stops away as
CB: Was it pretty much a 24-hour operation?
HAMA: Pretty much. Most advertising jobs came in with a deadline of “yesterday.”
CB: Did you interact much with Neal?
HAMA: If you sit next to somebody all day, every day, you end up talking
about a lot of stuff. I owe Neal a lot. If he called me at 3:00 AM and
said I had to come help him get rid of the body, I’d have to show up.
CB: What, if any, benefit was your association there to future work?
HAMA: Everything. Neal got me my first DC pencil job by promising to ink
it. Working at Continuity got my foot in the door throughout the
entire comics biz. Neal’s influence on comics goes way beyond his
drawing skills. It’s largely because of his efforts that incentive
payments and other artist’s rights that we take for granted exist.
Neal also spearheaded the fight for Siegel and Shuster.