Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chuck Norris and Rick Lenchus...by Request

As noted here and there, I trained for many years with Hanshi Richard Lenchus. He gave me flying lessons (so to speak), my first blackbelt, and a second set of balls (the brass ones). The blackbelt prompted a letter of congrats from celebrated Sensei Chuck Norris, an old sparring partner of my sensei's... As a boy, no one ever frightened me like Rick Lenchus. And after that, nothing could.

Pictured: Aaron Banks, Rick Lenchus and Chuck Norris

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Selling My Orignal Comic Art...

Not selling all of it, but it's time to say good-bye to many pieces from my 30-year-old collection. You can see the art here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

George Harrison, my 1st Hero

“Everyone has choice
when to and not to raise their voices.
It’s you who decides.”
--George Harrison ("Run of the Mill")

Those words, elegant in their simplicity, were a clarion call to this small voice when, as an adolescent, I first encountered the quiet Beatle’s messages of responsibility to spirit and self. Years later, those same seeds strengthened my resolve in writing and releasing stories like “I, Gezheh” and “Wagging the Rebbe” and, more recently, “Wagging the CEO” (in BILLBOARDS), to say nothing of fighting certain battles.

Noting that a new retrospective of George’s songs has been released, I revisited the ALL THINGS MUST PASS LP this morning and came away, as always, cleaner and emotionally wrung out. I cannot recommend this album more highly...This message has been a public service announcement brought to you by the Spiritual Sky.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Breast Feeding While Drunk

A North Dakota woman pleaded guilty today for drunken breast-feeding and now faces up to five years in prison. And I didn't even know it was illegal.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Original Art Collection for Sale

When the going gets tough, the tough sell their comics and art. I'll be posting more pieces for sale over the next few months. In the mean time, have a look.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Cockrum / Claremont Reunion

Chris Claremont pictured with Paty Cockrum at Heroescon yesterday. Dave Cockrum was there in spirit (photo courtesy of Richard O'Hara).

Cockrum Scholarship at the Joe Kubert School

Neglected to mention several weeks ago that I was honored, again, to present the Dave & Paty Cockrum Annual Scholarship Award to a promising artist at the Joe Kubert School for Graphic Design. That scholarship continues to be funded by the generous Paty Cockrum via sales from Dave's personal collection, including his file copies. Comics are frequently added to the list of what's available check it from time to time. To see the list of what's available, click here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You

Nah--not here. France, England, the Middle East, Patterson, NJ, but not your neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Philip Jose Farmer's DARE Back in Print

IDW Publishing has released DARE by Philip Jose Farmer as part of the New Classics of the Fantastic series that I created and edited.

This new edition features a handsome cover by my friend, artist Dave Gutierrez, and a new introduction by me.

Rockaway's Garlic Run

Meanwhile back in Street Eden, tonight's 22nd Annual Gooch's Garlic Run benefits kids with catastrophic illnesses and helps parents pay for what insurance doesn't cover. Thousands of bikers left Rockaway at 6:30 p.m. with their police escort then headed up Route 80 toward Little Italy. Bikers plunked down twenty bucks each to register with money going directly to four area families: Daniel Gaudreau, 12, of Hillsborough, suffered brain damage following an asthma attack; Brendan Friedman, 9, of Hopatcong, was born blind and disabled; Christian Spalt, 7, of Rockaway, is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia; and Lauren Nicole Krysa, 13, of Lafayette, has spinal muscular atrophy. Last year's event raised $32K. The Port Authority said 1,500 are expected for tonight's event. That's my little town.

Why I Love The Good Rats and You Don't. Yet.

You've heard me mention the Good Rats more than once--here, in my books, and when I'm hammered and dripping nostalgic. Here's some bits you might not know:

Hailing from Long Island, the Good Rats were a late-70s East Coast legend, driving fans wild at The Bottom Line in NY City, The Philadelphia Spectrum, The Nassau Coliseum, New Haven Coliseum, Hartford Civic Center, Rhode Island Coliseum, and occassionally at The Whiskey in LA and the Hammersmith Odeon in England. They shared stages with Rush, Aerosmith, Meatloaf, Ozzy Osbourne, the Grateful Dead, Kiss, Heart, and Bruce Springsteen. One member of Journey, after sharing the bill with the Rats, called them "The greatest rock band in the world." At worst, he wasn't far off.

But for some unfathomable reason, the Good Rats failed to break beyond their loyal East Coast following. Their song "Dear Sir," with the refrain “I’d rather clean the cages at the zoo than change my songs for you” (written for music impresario Clive Davis) is perhaps the best explanation. The band was relentlessly uncompromising.

To this day, Rat fans remain legion, following writer/frontman Peppi Marchello through various incarnations of the band, despite an almost conspiratorial effort, decades later, to keep their music (on Warner Bros. and other labels) off the airwaves. Peppi describes Rat fans as “everyone from bikers to dentists, captains of industries to the guys in jail for rape and murder.”

Listen to one of their classic concerts here courtesy of the brilliant Wolfgang's Vault. Or see one of The Good Rats' more recent music videos here.

There's a rumor that Peppi and I are working on a rock-and-roll screenplay together. Am I honored? Hell, I'm ossified!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Whorehouse Madrigals...Sneak Peak

I'd previously announced that my new short fiction collection from Aardwolf Publishing would be entitled A Structuring Absense. That's changed. The new book, slated for early 2010, will be called The Whorehouse Madrigals. Cover by celebrated SF/fantasy artist Kelly Freas and Christain Krank (who worked on SNAKED with me). Here's one of several cover treatments (left) that are being considered--still rough and unfinished but very cool. Also pictured is one of my favorite Kelly Freas' images from Astounding (and reused on Queen's News of the World LP cover).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dave Simons: The Tribute I Couldn't Write

Roy Thomas asked me to write about Dave Simons for the next issue of Alter Ego. I think that's the first time I've ever said no to Roy, an editor/writer that I respect immensely...but I told him I'm the wrong guy. I barely knew Dave.

Then, out of nowhere, I received the following from a friend of Dave's--as fitting a tribute as I've seen:

Dave Simons' middle name was Lloyd. It was his grandfather's name...and his grandparents lived up the road from me in Seelyville, Pennsylvania. Dave and I connected somehow in our middle teens, one summer when he was visiting his name-sake. We drew comics together, swam in the river, rode horses, played golf (Dave couldn't hit the doggone thing to save his life!) and dreamed of becoming comic book pros. Dave's dream came true.

I have many wonderful memories from those years which now feel like fantasy. Dave's first printed comic work (that I'm aware of) was a comic strip in his school newspaper called "Night Rider" (I have photocopies of some of them). NR was a motorcycle character, and Dave revisited his love for such characters in his later professional work on Ghost Rider.

His first printed comic work in Fandom (to my knowledge) was in my own fanzine, Comic Courier...and later in a zine that he and I worked on together: The Wonderful World of the Wild and Wicked West. I have that artwork still (and stuff we hoped to publish but never did).
Dave wanted to go to art school after high school, but parental pressure pushed him into the Coast Guard. He was stationed on Governor's Island off Manhatten and fell in love with the Big Apple.

Scientology got a hold of him...and took all his money ( I wrote him a song during that time, reaching out to him when it seemed that he was so lost). He took classes under John Buscema. He lived in a roach-filled apartment in Greenwich Village. He lived in a warehouse at the lower end of Manhattan. He fell in love...wanted to marry... it didn't happen. He was pencilling the first issue of Red Sonja during that time: beautiful pencils (ruined by Vince Coletta's inks!) He lived lots of other places...made new friends...kept drawing. He made his mark in the real comic book world--and beyond.

He and I lost touch. I tracked him down in California. Then back on the East Coast. Then no word. A phone call. A letter. Where was this guy? Then a couple of days ago I found him online! I saw pictures of him. I discovered that he'd been battling cancer. I saw that he had moved to Jersey City. I found his blog...an e-mail address...I sent him an e-mail...and then I revisited the site where I found his blog...and discovered my friend had passed from this planet two days earlier!

Dave and I were both born in 1954. I have missed him through the years---I miss him terribly just now.

"Life is a brief minute...eternity follows."

Mark Ammerman

Bullying Policies. Again.

A full 18 months after the incident, I still get email and comments about the great Kushner Academy fiasco that spawned this very blog. Like this one from Lawrence Duplessis:

"Thank You Mr. Meth. Your son's adventure has given me some hope. I've been seeing signs in my son's school of like treatment by some of the kids and an equal amount of ignorance from the school. My son is five and has just finished junior kindergarten. He attends an international school here in Indonesia. I teach at the same school...so I see the administration's foolish-posturing from two very frustrating sides. The school pays lip service to the problem of bullies, but offers no real solutions. Your solution was eloquent and timeless. Having dealt with bullies as a kid, and as a teacher, I know the best way is for the kids to sort it out...in an "as socially-acceptable" way as possible. I'll try to keep an eye on my son's progress and step in when I'm needed."

Teach him to fight, kimusubi. It will be easier than teaching him to hold back once he's capable.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Name Dropping at Twitter

Taught Marv Wolfman how to tweat today. He'll be sorry... Spoke with Peppi Marchello of the The Good Rats about our secret project... Bought strong beer but have no one to share it with except my 14-year-old.

Dreamed last night that I had become irrelevant. Then woke up and half of my integrity was gone.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dave Simons: Post-Mortem Guilt

When I'm still scribbling at nearly 3 ayem, there's usually something gnawing my kishkes. But Daniel Best just sent some balm via a comment at FaceBook: "Cliff, you did a bloody lot... We'd hit a slight brick wall when we started up; once you attached your name suddenly people took us seriously and began to donate a lot more items. Remember, I told you at the time, sometimes all you need to is give your blessing to a project and good things happen. Dave went from scraping for his rent to being a position where he didn't have to worry about his finances in a very short time--for that I thank you, and I know Dave appreciated it no end."

So it's still gnawing, but the Nexium is helping.

The Company You Keep

Spoke with Peter David today, traded email with Roy Thomas, then discussed music with Peppi Marchello for an hour. In the last few weeks, Ian Anderson, Bob Silverberg, David Lloyd, Steve Forbert, Harlan... I may not rank with the greatest talent of my generation, but I have the pleasure of knowing them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dave Simons: 1954-2009

I just learned that artist Dave Simons has died after a long battle with cancer. There's a nice tribute at Daniel Best's site. Daniel was the force behind getting Dave help when he really needed it and he stayed with Dave's situation throughout the ordeal.

"In my last interview with Dave," writes Daniel, "I asked him what his perfect comic book would have looked like. His reply, "Conan The Barbarian. Figures by John Buscema, costumes by Steranko and the whole thing inked by Wally Wood. Written by Roy Thomas, of course. Wouldn't that have been great?"

The extra attention that Daniel gave Dave went a long way toward Dave's quality of life, and the quality of his death. Lesson learned: There's not a damned thing you can do about cancer. But there's a world of things you can do when someone falls from grace.

So long Dave Simons--it was swell to know you.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Still unsure if these social networks have any value beyond the exit strategy that their founders may have in mind. In all events, I am now on Twitter and you can "follow" me at http://twitter.com/CliffordMeth. I will post occassional bits that may or may not be part of something larger that I'm writing. How's that for non-commital?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Somebody Up There Likes Me

The first review of Billboards has finally appeared.

"For all those still coming down from the high of the Obama promise to the Obama reality, Billboards will ease your descent. Clifford Meth deals in the
gritty details and never indulges in hopeful fantasy, but his fiction, especially this collection focusing on what’s wrong today, always provides the bracing slap across the face that steels us for tomorrow."