Thursday 10 May 2007

the eraser

In 2004 I got a fellow named Stewart McKenny in to work with me for a couple of months. He was good for me because he was a detail maniac. He would put so much more detail than I asked for that I then had to ask him to erase half of it for the sake of the composition, or worse, rub it out myself (Make room for me, Vinnie!). While he was rubbing away furiously, I observed that he appeared to be getting through his erasers at rather an alarming rate. An eraser would be good for a few hours then he'd have to discard it and start a new one. He explained to me that once the corners were worn off the thing was no longer of any use to him. Can't you take a razor blade and cut a new corner? I asked. Oh no, that never works. So, I said, in that case give them to me. And ever since that day, for the last three years, I have been using the erasers he left behind and have not once had to go out and buy one. I haven't seen Stewart in about a year, but today a package arrived in the mail, containing thirty three erasers, all with their little sharp corners worn down.

(The Eraser is one of my favourite old Batman villains. I revived him for DC in the first volume of Bizarro in a story titled Who Erased the Eraser.)

Batman #188 , 1966, © DC comics,


my pal mr j links me to Feiffer's MUNRO, animated short by Kim Deitch, 1960, youtube. This is brilliant, and Feiffer must surely have loved it.
(update... wrote Kim by accident there. should of course have be Gene Dietch... thanks to Connor Moran in comments for kick in the pants)

in comments here yesterday Bob Morales gave some links explaining the origin of the double V that Isaiah Bradley wore on his t-shirt in the Captain America yarn which I referred to here on May 4th.
"Shortly after America’s entrance in to World War II, The Pittsburgh Courier launched "The Double V Campaign" (Double V). Under the theme of "Democracy: Victory at Home, Victory Abroad" The Courier remained patriotic, yet pushed for civil rights for blacks..."
I didn't know that. thanks, Bob.

since I last looked at the Groth-Ellison fiasco at PW the Beat, some anonymous has weighed in with the wisest words on the whole affair, a longish post which ends:
"So, seriously, what is the point of this case? It’s only going to make things worse for Ellison. In fact, it demonstrably has: I never would have read a goofy Fantagraphics history of itself, if for no other reason than to avoid Groth’s smarm, and thus would not have read or heard about his digs at Ellison. My life would have been better for it. But now I know exactly the statements Ellison found objectionable, and I know them because Ellison publicized them to a degree previously impossible. Seriously, man, who wants to hear Fantagraphics talk about itself?
I suspect that I am in the same boat as many, many, many others."




Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

It's funny the things people who like you will do. That's what makes life as truly marvelous as it is. I can't think of a single friend that I keep, who doesn't delight me in some odd ball way from time to time. As for Ellison (who I think has a man crush on me C/:0=) someone who you and I both know, but I'll never say on line who, recently wrote to me, "Harlan's happy as long as he's getting attention." The man can't bare not being talked about, good or bad, I'd be willing to bet. He may even seek out this blog, by googling his name (hey, we all do it) and start ranting on it. He knows that more people would be reading about him if he did.

10 May 2007 at 01:40:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

Cute cartoon. Made me think of my little girl, and almost made me cry. So many things do though, when you have a baby.

10 May 2007 at 01:58:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eddie, do you ever see a day when you'll throw out all those old erasers, pens, pencils, brushes and paints, and get one of those tablet things that plug into one's computer?

B Smith

10 May 2007 at 04:17:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't watch Munro at the office, so I'm just going to have to hold on till I get home, can't wait though.
Thought some of your Blog's UK readers might like to know Michael Chabon, mentioned in the interview with Jody MacGregor, is appearing at Foyles Bookshop in London on June 7th (for free too).

Oh and by the way, Hi to my fellow anonymous post-er B Smith, for I am not he.

Ben Smith

10 May 2007 at 07:49:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or she.


10 May 2007 at 07:50:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Connor Moran said...

That Munro short, while delightful, is actually not by Kim Deitch, but by Gene Deitch, his father. The cartooning blood runs strong in that line, for sure.

10 May 2007 at 11:19:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Kelly Kilmer said...

It's one of my favorites too...

I also like on on page 9, his "The Explain Everything Book". Perfect for us smart-asses.

10 May 2007 at 11:26:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a story John Cage tells about when he and one of his collaborators (I think Terry Riley) received boxes of spices and herbs from a fan in China. The internal containers had broken open en route, so when the boxes were opened, it was all a mess. Cage, depressed, stuffed his box in a closet.

Riley on the other hand, sat down with a pair of tweezers and different size sifters and, grain by grain, began to separate the mess back into heir individual and appropriate containers.

He told Cage later, "Anytime you want to get started on your box, just let me know."

10 May 2007 at 16:37:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Aaron White said...

Anon. asked "Who wants to hear Fantagraphics talk about itself?"

Well, Tom Spurgeon is the author of the book in question, and he's always worth reading.

10 May 2007 at 17:43:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

The explanation for the double Vs.


That guy must go through a ton of erasers.

When I was a kid crawling through my dad's gigantic warehouse filled with old comic books (he owned several used bookstores), I never would read that issue of Batman because I thought the Eraser dude was lame. Marvel had an Eraser villain,too, although I don't recall his name (maybe it was "The Eraser"). All I recall is that he fought Giant Man and the Wasp and that I thought the cover was as lame as the Batman cover and refused to read it, also.

And you're talking about a kid who read dozens of comics a day. (It was easy to do when my dad owned so many old comic books.)

10 May 2007 at 17:53:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marvel had an Eraser villain,too, although I don't recall his name (maybe it was "The Eraser").

In my anticipatory defence, I'm embarrassed I know this...

The Living Eraser.

10 May 2007 at 20:48:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

Yes, that is embarrassing.

I often embarrass myself that way.

10 May 2007 at 21:59:00 GMT-5  

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