By Beau Smith
In Memory of Kirby Gee. 1961-2008
I’ve spent over twenty years in the business of comic books and entertainment. Like most everyone else that is or has worked in this field, I love it. I always have and I always will. During my career I’ve met a wide variety of people and I’m proud to say that 98% of them I can call lifetime amigos. This past week one of those amigos passed away. His name was Kirby Gee.
I first meet Kirby at the start of my career as VP of Sales and Marketing for Eclipse Comics. Kirby was working for Capital City Distribution down at their Louisiana warehouse. Our mutual friend Wayne Markley introduced us. Wayne also worked for Capital City for many years and is now with Westfield Comics. Kirby was a great guy with a great, dry sense of humor. I witnessed firsthand, many times, how he went the extra mile for customers. The boy had heart and wasn’t afraid to open it up for those doing well and those doing not so well. He had no bias when dealing with publishers. The little guys got the same treatment as Marvel and DC Comics. A few years ago we also lost Kirby’s counterpart at Diamond Comics Distribution, Jeep Holland. Both of these guys were characters in the best meaning of the word. They were friends you don’t forget and would never want to. They shared a passion for pop culture and comic books that lives in us all. They also knew this was a business and that you had to respect it. That’s a rare thing in today’s snarky world. Kirby Gee was “old school” in the way we should all want to be remembered. To me, Old School means experience, respect, tradition and the ability to be open up the door to the change that is always knocking.
I realize that most of you didn’t know Kirby or Jeep because they were “behind the scenes” guys or “before your time”. Know this, you would’ve liked them. They would’ve been your friend because they shared that passion for comics that is still deep in most of us. Remember that before snide message board comments, online gossip and over-priced comic books there were guys like Kirby and Jeep that just enjoyed comics and wanted to make sure you did too.
Kirby was only 47 years old. They always say that when someone not elderly passes on that they were “taken too soon.” Well, to me, it don’t matter what your age is. If you’re a friend, then it’s always too soon.
Think of the friends you’ve got and the ones you’ve had. Just make sure you think of them.
When Things Are UNIQUE
Recently at Mid-Ohio-Con, my longtime friend from Blue Line Pro/Sketch Magazine, Bobby Hickey, came to my booth all excited. He had a trade paperback in his hands. He told me “You’ve gotta see this.” After all these years I know that when Bobby tells me I’ve gotta see something, I know it’s got weight. I looked through the book and Bobby was right. I DID have to see it. Please keep in mind, not a day goes by that someone doesn’t write, email or send me something “I’ve gotta see.” I’ve seen a lot. It’s always nice when they’re right, rare, but sometimes it happens.
The trade paperback I saw was The Uniques by the husband/wife team of Comfort Love and Adam Withers. It’s a superhero book that collects the first three issues of the self-published series The Uniques. The title truly lives up to its name. It is unique in the fact that it has its own art style, witty dialogue and a very compelling story. That IS unique in today’s McDonald’s wasteland of super hero comics. The Uniques is that first kiss where the person you’re kissing doesn’t have bad breath. Your eyes kinda pop open and you know you want more.
We all know that most super hero powers, costumes, names and situations have been done and redone. What separates the retreads from the fresh stuff is how it is presented and the unique slant that can be added. Comfort Love and Adam Withers master that. Within these pages there is action, humor and most important, a compelling story. Reading The Uniques is like being on the ground floor of The X-Men by Chris Claremont and John Byrne again. Love and Withers have captured that feeling and sent it flying into 2008. They dialogue is sharp without saying “Look how clever I am”. The characters have depth with a back story that is unfolded like a well made map. This is a book you want to discover for yourself. This is a book you want to be able to turn your friends on to. This has all the potential of what the first season of the TV series Heroes had before they went all “DC Event” on us.
The Uniques have a great group of outcasts and misfits trying to navigate between those looking to stop them and those looking to recruit them. They are a team of seven older teens with a past to build from and a future to create. I strongly urge you to check out their website and order this stuff today. As you know, when I recommend something I don’t waste your time. I like you, but not enough to waste your time AND mine. If you want to be on the ground floor of a great super hero book…for real this time…then check out The Uniques.
As most of you that read Busted Knuckles, know I am a huge fan of the Sci-Fi Channel TV series Eureka. It has a great likeable cast and fun stories every week. Well, next month, December 2008, Boom! Studios will publish the comic book adventures of the world’s smartest city. It’ll be written by Andrew Cosby, the co-creator of Eurekaand Brenden Hay who has written lots of TV stuff that you guys like. (The Daily Show) The even better part of this story is that it will be drawn by Diego Barreto—Son of my good amigo and Cobb artist, Eduardo Barreto. Diego is an incredible artist that not only has his dad’s sense of tradition, but also adds his own flair that will make you an immediate fan. Check the book out as well as the TV show. You cannot go wrong. Here is the Diamond Distribution ordering number for it: Diamond Order Code: OCT083922.
Not All is a Myth in this Book
Do you want to be a comic book writer? Do you have that urge to write movies, novels or maybe just for your own pleasure? If so, then I’m going to help you out. There’s a new book out that will put you on the path to your dreams. It’s The Scribbler’s Guide to the Land of Myth: Mythic Motifs for Storytellers by Sarah Beach.
This is 442 pages of inside tips, and mapped out paths to get you where you need to be as a writer of good stuff. Sarah Beach has a Masters In English and has spent the last 18 years writing and being a staff member on the TV show that makes us all a little smarter, Jeopardy. I’ve been writing for over 20 years and I can tell you that Sarah’s book filled in a lot of gaps I didn’t know I had. It’s a great book for how to layer and develop characters, situations and making a compelling story that your readers will truly enjoy.
This is an encyclopedia of incredible information that will enlighten the aspiring and veteran writer alike. Are you a writer hoping to deepen the mythic impact of your story? Do you feel that your Hero’s Journey has drifted off the track? The Scribbler’s Guide to the Land of Myth is the book that will help you enrich the mythic power of your story. A detailed explanation of the variations in the Hero’s Journey, an expanded list of character archetypes, and discussions of the symbolic meanings of time, seasons, weather and landscape, all make this book a useful reference for all writers. Author Sarah Beach applies her background in literary scholarship to the subject of mythic symbolism in stories, and provides an accessible and lively guide to the true nature of mythic resonance in storytelling. Using examples from film and television, she shows timeless mythic patterns at work in ways any writer can grasp. Organized on the model of tour books, The Scribbler’s Guide to the Land of Myth will help writers navigate their story through the symbolic possibilities. You can find it at scribblerworks.us.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Ka-Zar: Lord Of The Hidden Jungle #2
Marvel Comics 1974
Cover art John Romita, Sr. and Frank Giacola
Sometimes a cover says it all within its art. This issue of Ka-Zar is one of them. A raging tough guy, a curvy babe riding a sabretooth cat is just what you need on a cover to make it pop out at you. Ka-Zar, Shanna the She-Devil and Zabu are the stars here and they look great. This is one of my favorite Bronze age comics in the fact that it sports a John Romita, Sr. cover and the interior art is by my hero and long time friend, Don Heck. This is a fun issue and you can still manage to pick it up pretty cheap, depending on condition anywhere from $1.50 to $5.00. Well worth it.
Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Lindsay Price
I first noticed Lindsay Price on the TV series Becker. She was funny as well as stunning. Then she popped up on NCIS for a couple of episodes. She was dramatic and still stunning. Now she’s on some show called Lipstick Jungle. I don’t watch it, but I’m sure she’s still stunning. So stunning in fact that she’s the Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week…this week!
Make sure you check out the new issue of Captain Action from Moonstone. It’s out and it’s filled with some very cool action that I think you’ll really enjoy. The good folks that put this out have worked very hard to make this iconic action figure from my childhood has a place here in the modern world. It’s quality stuff from quality people. In case you haven’t heard, in an upcoming issue, Eduardo Barreto and I have teamed up to give you a retro Captain Action story that is one of most testosterone filled stories you’ve ever read. That’s a promise, not hype. I’ll toss you an advance look at the art real soon, so stay tuned here.
Later this month make sure you pick up my latest comic book Lost and Found From IDW Publishing. www.idwpublishing.com Conan/Punisher artist Gary Kwapisz and I have tossed the kitchen sink into the Bermuda Triangle to make this one of the wildest time travel/Sci-Fi/action/adventure books to ever visit Easter Island. It’s got Nazis, dinosaurs, astronauts, cowboys and even a sea monster. Oh, plus a whole lot more.
If that wasn’t enough then you can celebrate the new year with a project I’m in the middle of writing called Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars from IDW Publishing. Artist, Enrique Villagrán is drawing it and as you can see by this advance artwork, he’s doing incredible work. The book will be four issues and in bloody color. Did I mention it has Yeti vs. Bigfoot?
That’s just half of the bottle of beer. I’ve got a few other projects going on, but I can’t say too much just yet. I will say that one of them is a mainstream book and it’s big and green.
As always, I enjoy hearing from you, so keep those message board posts and emails coming. Until next week, Stay outta trouble.
Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!