By Beau Smith

Recently the master craftsman and long time comic book artist, Jim Aparo passed away. Word of his death was posted all over the comic book websites and readers as well as comic book creators all posted their sorrow that Jim had died. I read through the postings and was really pleased that there were so many people that admired not only Jim’s work, but the way he carried himself.

It was noted by Chuck Dixon on his website, that Jim was a devoted grandfather and had a wonderful dry sense of humor. This is the kind of info more folks should know about Jim and other comic book creators that have not only done incredible work, but also earned the name “legend” attached to their name.

All this got me thinkin’. In recent years we’ve had quite a few legendary comic book creators die. There have always been very nice words said about them and time and space dedicated to them in print as well as on the web. This is wonderful and well deserved, but it’s not enough.

Jim Aparo

I’d really like to see more attention to legendary creators given to them while they are still alive and can feel the love and respect that there is for not only their work, but them as well. We all seem to have plenty of time and space for the current belles of the ball, but where is the spotlight for the men and women that cut the heavy brush so that Jim Lee, Brian Bendis and Ed McGuinness could walk through the jungle of comics at a faster pace?

It would be wonderful for some of the legends of comics to get the attention they deserve. It would be even better if they were given the chance to do more work in comics. They’ve earned it. This isn’t charity I’m talkin’ about. No way. These guys can still put the pencil to paper and deliver like a dog proof mailman. There should be more interviews with these writers and artists of legend. Within their words, there is much to be learned. Lessons that a lot of up and coming writers and artists want to know. Lessons they need to know. These veterans hold a lot of knowledge that so many people need and crave to make their own craft even better.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned from Don Heck and Robert Kanigher. They not only gave me the inside track on how to tell a story, but they also warned me of the pot holes and assholes that would be gettin’ in my way as I tried to pilot my way through this business. Joe Kubert and Murray Boltinoff also gave me guidelines and on how to steer clear of bad situations. We’re all lucky that Joe Kubert is still here to hand that same info out to not only his students, but to the rest of comics as well.

It would be wise of us to listen when these lions of comics roar. The best pathway to the brain is a good open ear and an ego that’s put in park.

Do yourself a big favor. Search out these master craftsmen. Seek out interviews and some of their work. Demand that your favorite online and print news sources do more articles on these guys that put comics on the map. Take the time to find out about guys like Dick Dillin, Irv Novick, Nick Cardy, Herb Trimpe, Sal Buscema, Jose Garcia Lopez, Gerry Conway, and others. Find out what came before you and how they found their way. You not only owe it to yourself, but you owe it to them.

Batman And The Outsiders by Jim Aparo

If ya really love comic books and wanna be a part of em’, then I suggest ya start learnin’ your history and payin’ homage to those that built the road you’re walkin’ on.

Obey Mom Or She’ll Beat Your Ass

I wanna take a minute to thank all of you Knuckleheads that have been so kind to send emails and post well wishes for my mom, Shirley Smith, who has been in CT-ICU here at the University of Kentucky Hospital for the last few weeks. It’s still day-to-day and we’re hopin’ she gets stronger and is able to breathe on her own soon. For those of you that didn’t know, the surgeons removed an aneurysm that measured 8 inches around and 6 inches long. They had never seen one that big before. The operation was over 8 hours and they had to cut off the blood supply to her heart, lungs, brain, spine, kidneys and other major organs to do this. I won’t go into it any further, but as you can see it was a major deal.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago she has continued to “John Wayne” herself through this. She hasn’t taken a swing at a nurse in a week, but she has still given a few folks the finger when they come at her with one too many needles. It’s very tough to see her in a hospital bed for so long. I try and remind myself and her that all those tubes jammed in her are to make her better. It’s hard, but it’s what has to be done.

Thanks again for all the support. The whole Smith tribe really appreciates it and most of all my mom. When she gets out of this I’m sure she will be the first to back you up in your time of need.

Beau’s Mom – Mrs Smith to you!

I hope I have a fraction of her toughness.

No Rest For The Manly

Well, I’m gonna sign off for now. I’m here in my mom’s ICU room as I write this. She’s asleep for now strapped to the motor of morphine. When the pain gets even too tough for her she just grunts at the nurse and hisses in a creaky voice: “”Gimme the dope.”

There’s a lot to be said for bein’ a direct talker.

I’ll be here takin’ care of business. Goin’ on week three away from the ranch. I appreciate all the emails and postings. It makes me feel like I’ve got company here.

Thanks, amigos. Next beer is on me.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!

About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin