Artist Mike Pascale and I have been trading quips for more than a dozen years but that’s only because I like the cut of his gib. Or is it jib? And all this time that was without even knowing what a gib/jib was. So I looked it up. The lower lip of a horse is called its gib, and so is the beak of a male salmon. Salty Dog Talk: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions by Bill Beavis and Richard G. McCloskey (Sheridan House, Dobbs Ferry, NY, 1995) says the literal meaning of jib is a nose. Live and learn.

Pascale first came into my four cubits during a benefit auction we did for a fallen comrade and he’s never strayed too far. It would make it easier if he didn’t omit that odor. He did get terribly angry with me once for something I said or wrote, but I’ve forgiven him and he’s made up for it a dozen times over. Most recently, his tribute came in the form of inking Dave Cockrum’s illustrations for my novella, “Wearing the Horns,” a story that first appeared as a standalone chapbook from Aardwolf Publishing in 2003 and now returns with a thorough rewrite, along with 1,000 additional words, in One Small Voice (IDW Publishing), which shipped last week.

Back to Pascale, it pains me to report that, despite my best efforts and his own half-baked ones (if that), the old boy’s name is not yet as familiar as it should be to the preponderance of comic book readers. That, despite the fact that he’s a dynamite draftsman. Despite impressive work on Bru-Hed (Schism Comics) and numerous Aardwolf projects. Nevertheless, our Michigan-bred, California repatriated, Kubert School alum remains one of my go-to artists; he can knock out anything in a pinch, always on time, and he works smart.

I’d been hoping for two years that Marie Severin would eventually get around to finishing her mocked-up cover concept for my book-in-progress, Comicbook Babylon, but no such luck. Marie’s current health situation doesn’t leave room for complex cover work. Up steps Pascale. “I’ll do it,” he volunteered.

“It’s a complicated cover,” I told him. “Requires perspective. And real ink.”

You should see Pascale’s face when I say stuff like that. His gib gets all out of joint. Or is it jib?

Speaking of Cockrum (several paragraphs ago), Wikipedia recently noted that old Dave was thoroughly obsessed with Fawcett’s Captain Marvel. Indeed, when I commissioned a drawing from him nearly two decades ago and asked specifically for Gene Colan’s design of the green-and-white costumed Marvel Comics Captain Marvel, Dave couldn’t help himself: He returned a drawing with a word balloon coming out of Mar-vel’s mouth that said, “I still liked it better when he said SHAZAM!”

Many of the comics from Dave’s personal Captain Marvel collection (including WHIZ Comics, Captain Marvel Adventures, and Captain Marvel Jr.,) are now for sale as Dave’s widow opens the vaults and offers up Dave’s personal comics collection to the public. There’s some great Silver and Golden Age gems in there. Take a look.

© 2004, Clifford Meth

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