Friday, November 13, 2009

Marie, Wherefore Art Thou?

Marie Severin and I were still at the fairly early stages of her visual bio (text meets art portfolio) when, sadly, she took ill. Now she's harder to find than J.D. Salinger, so folks occassionally send me letters intended for her. Here's excerpts from a recent one (yes--I'll pass along the letter to her in its entirety):

Dear Mrs. Severin: Like a lot of other fans out there, I feel like I owe a debt of gratitude to you that I can never repay. I wasn't around when you were first drawing all the great issues that I've come to love. I didn't read all your issues of The Incredible Hulk 'til later on or know who to thank... At the time, I was a little kid with dirty knees reading much-loved copies of his dad's comics. Most of 'em were in pretty okay shape, but several were pretty shredded up after narrowly escaping a tornado in the 1970s... I didn't know growing up that it was your vision of these characters that did and still continue to thrill me and give me touchstones of happy times from my life as I grew up.

I think of all the work you've done, the stuff I got a kick out of the most was your work on Not Brand Echh... [It] remains a special memory to me of my childhood afternoons with my grandmother in the house my dad grew up in, reading his old comics... I'm constantly hoping that Marvel will release those stories as a nice hardcover in their Marvel Masterworks collection, or some other nice format. It's been way too long since fresh eyes have gotten to see those wonderfully silly stories.

I'll likely never meet you at a convention since I live in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and it isn't the vast metropolis it sounds like, so I'll never get a shot to thank you personally for your wonderful body of art. It saddens me that I won't get to shake your hand and look you in the eye with a dopey grin on my face and say thanks. This is the best I can do for now. But I have to thank you, all the same. All the journeys your stories have taken me on have given me many a happy moment reading and imagining. You're one of the maybe dozen people in your field that I can repeatedly re-read and re-read...knowing what'll happen when Hulk fights Sub-Mariner... or that Charlie America has a trashcan lid for a shield (of course!). And [on] the occasion when I find something by you I've never seen before, I'm thrilled that I get to see a whole new unearthed gem for the first time. You have such versatality in your work... zipping from humor to heroes to some stories that show how great a horror-feel you could have... Your moving, twisting, living characters practically make my own muscles stretch just by looking at them. You have continued and will continue to inspire and entertain people like me in all walk's of life by your herculean talent. I really do think that you're the greatest and I had to stop putting off writing this letter... Luckily I was put in touch with Clifford Meth who graciously offered to send this letter along to you for me... I dearly do hope you're enjoying your much-deserved retirement. For everything that you've done, some of which you may not realize you did, I just wanted to say thanks. --Matt S.


Joe Jusko said...

Couldn't have said it better myself! Marie is an incredible talent and one of the nicest people I've ever met. She did the layout for my very first Marvel cover (which in my 18 year old arrogance I altered to a much weaker composition). To have the chance to do that over.


Joe--Flattered to have to stop by. Your paintings are always crashes of thunder that make me stop and stare.