Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Saturday Afternoon Update:

This just in: Today's Brattleboro Reformer featured
  • this obit for my First Run Video friend and fellow employee Gary Cummins;
  • come spring, I hope to make it to the service.

    Play an old blue-grass tune for Gary, wouldja?

    Labels: , ,

    A New Home for This Vampire!

    Plus: Wild Doings Tonight in Utah!
    Sip & Sup Salt Lake Surprises!
    Be There or Be Unloved!

    And: Jesus Saves! Scores!

    Weekend Update:
    No Politics Today, Promise

    As I continue to labor, like some bloated pregnant collector ready to pop like a tick, toward passing my massive tons of shit -- a massive library of films, books, comics, magazines, and all manner of collectibles and invaluables -- out of the 50+-mile-birth canal that yawns, gaping, across half of my native state, it's sweet to know there's some kindred souls who understand this lunacy.

    Thankfully, the Center for Cartoon Studies is full of such kindred souls -- many of whom have helped Marge and I through this momentous move.

    In celebration of that fact, I wish to bring your attention to just one of these kindred spirits this morning, and the amazing event he has a hand in over in his own home state, Utah.

    Take it away, Blair --

    * Blair C. Sterrett is among this year's Center for Cartoon Studies freshmen class, and we bonded early on over our genetic predisposition to weird shit, and our attitudes toward archiving and pack-ratting. Blair is smarter than creaky ol' Bissette, though, in that he has collaborated on an archival collective with a plan that has long-term goals (with public access) as an integral part of its operation. This may free Blair in the long term from the kind of massive move Bissette is currently overwhelmed with, schlepping a half-century of pop cultural debris from one locale to another.

    Back in his home state of Utah over the CCS winter break, Blair has been a busy fellow. He and his cronies are, today, January 13th, hosting a momentous multi-media event entitled "Excavations."

    The particulars can be found over here,
  • amid the miracles of The Lost Media Archive website,
  • and has received some local press (Blair says, "We were just interviewed today by the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper"), but here's the overview Blair and his fellow Lost Media Archive fellow Tyrone Davies provided me via email and his posting on our beloved CCS board:

    The Lost Media Archive announces it’s first event of 2007…

    An exhibition of unearthed films, videos, records, and other forgotten media.

    On January 13th, starting at 7:00 pm, the Lost Media Archive will host a FREE multimedia film and audio event at the No Brow Coffee and Tea Company (315 E. 300 S. Salt Lake City).

    What is the Lost Media Archive?
    The Lost Media Archive is a Utah-based collection of mondo/kitch/cult/ephemeral/experimental/historical/
    obsolete/forgotten/unearthed audio-visual and textual documents. LMA is also a resource for those who cling to bygone media formats. When possible, the LMA maintains equipment and media for use by recordists and filmmakers. The LMA was founded by Blair Sterrett and works together with loaf-i productions and the Free Form Film Festival to arrange screenings, viewings, and concerts. The LMA also promotes and initiates the creation of new and unusual films, albums, performative projects, and book events.

    What will be shown?
    LMA founders Blair Sterrett and Tyrone Davies will exhibit numerous works on 8mm film, 16mm film, video, and frame-by-frame filmstrip, as well as audio recordings and rare books. The evening’s events will include screenings of many delightfully bizarre films and also demonstrate some of the benefits of “obsolete” media formats. What’s more, the two founders will describe how the public can become members of this archive and make personal use of the Lost Media collection.

    For more information visit
  • lost media’s temporary website,
  • or visit
  • or contact Tyrone Davies at

    Blair adds, "Here's a list of some of the machines and formats that we will have on exhibit:"

    Wire Recorder
    Wax Cylinder
    Windup Victrola
    Reel to Reel
    Frame by Frame Filmstrip Projectors
    Portable Turntable
    16mm Projectors
    8 mm Projectors
    Super 8 Projectors
    Slide Projectors
    Portable foldout Slide Projector Theater
    U-matic Tape Deck
    6 rpm record player for the blind
    Micro-Film Projector
    Stereo-scopic Viewer
    Fisher Price Movie Viewer
    and more...

    Reel To Reel
    Accoustic (Pre-electric) 78
    Electric 78
    Edison Records
    Recordio Discs
    Paper Records
    Cardboard Records
    Metal Records
    Resin and Metal Records
    Glass Records
    Mini - 78
    45 rpm
    33 1/3 rpm
    6 rpm
    U-matic Video
    Large VHS for Broadcasting
    Frame by Frame Film Strips
    8 mm
    Super 8
    16 mm
    33 mm
    Mini – Cassette
    Laser Disc
    Mini – DVD
    Regular DVD
    and other stuff I can't describe

    If I were in Utah, I'd be there.

    BTW, Blair also noted this week, "Wow! Canyon Crest Elementary School in Provo is giving us a huge donation of film strips today!" So if you've got some pop cultural debris in need of a new home, you now know where to go. Don't send it to me; I've got enough!

    * The multi-talented Mr. Sterrett also plays music (including sweet saw, with which he briefly serenaded the CCS auction back in December), and
  • his band "The Nourishment" just released a new MP3 EP for all to hear place on their IPods -- right here: The Nourishment, "Shareholders' Annual Stock Report 2003."

  • Enjoy. Blair notes, "It's funny because when this was recorded back in 2003, it was to help explain why nothing had come out from us since 2001. Thus, the 1st track blaming our manager. Sigh, now at last this lost EP sees the light of day in 2007."

    And that ain't all. Earlier this week, one of Blair's collection rarities made an appearance on
  • 365 Days 2007; check out "365 Days #9" listing (Antonio Eugenio Martinez - Puno De Tierra/Volver Volver) for that mp3 treat!

  • Judging just from the sampling Blair has shared with CCS classmates and yours truly over the past semester, his record collection is extraordinary, ripe with oddities and curios.

    * Amid a week punctuated with wonders -- including a VT contact out-of-the-blue with vital information on A Vermont Romance (1915), one of the first feature films ever made in the Green Mountain State and among the elusive research plums for my still-in-progress Green Mountain Cinema book series project -- was this gem from the one and only Jamie Meyers, aka Reverend Jay, who I was lucky to come to know via his formative years in Brattleboro and our time working together at First Run Video waaaaaaaaay back in the '90s (remember the '90s?).

    As out-of-the-blue as the surprise A Vermont Romance info (from another source, mind you), James surfaced unexpectedly and sent me
  • "Jesus Saves! ...Rebound Gretzky! He scores!!!,"
  • noting:

    "I'm not sure what to say about this. I think it just speaks for itself.

    You've got to figure that Jesus is always the first one picked when choosing teams right?

    I mean you've gotta figure he's good for a whole bunch of goals/

    How about the kid tackling Jesus? I would think he's gotta be good to take down the almighty.

    And what if Jesus is one of the team captains? How would you feel if you don't get picked to be on his team? That's gotta sting."

    The Rev found the Jesus statue website via
  • this blog,
  • and thus all credit due has been given its due.

    * As the attentive of you may have already noticed, my ol' Massachusetts cartooning crony Mark M. (man of mystery, and not Mark Martin) already noted on January 9th amid the comments for this very blog,
  • "Holy Crap! Someone's selling Varnae the Vampire!,"
  • referring to the original art for the back cover of Bizarre Adventures #33 magazine that I painted back in 1982 to accompany Steve Perry and my Dracula story, "The Blood Bequest," which indeed introduced Varnae the Vampire as a new and original twist for Dracula's origin in terms of the Marvel Universe. Varnae was our contribution to the Marvel Universe, crafted with love but under Marvel's rigorous work-for-hire terms, and Varnae has since been elevated to the official pantheon. Cool; too bad we never get any credit for that, but hey, we knew the rules going in, having fought to preserve a 'thank you' nod to Marv Wolfman and Neal Adams on the credit scroll for "The Blood Bequest" which Marvel editorial vindictively removed (they were mucho pissed at Marv at the time).

    Yep, Varnae -- ahem, I mean, The Primal Vampire -- is indeed for sale, and here's your shot at purchasing a primo Bissette original painting, suitable for framing and scaring the shit out of your household.

    Now, there's a history to this piece not discussed at the online eBay auction site (and one error in fact: this never, ever appeared in Taboo. It did, however, enjoy a reprint in The Year in Fear calender G. Michael Dobbs created, I illustrated, Mark Martin art directed and Tundra published back in '91).

    I'll not go into all of it, but among the tidbits I will share this weekend:

    * This art was originally published by Marvel in a slightly different version, rendering Steve Perry's and my original conception of Varnae. However, Marvel's archaic methodology of returning original artwork circa 1982, amid the hubbub over their refusal to return Jack Kirby's original art, was the blind alley, ass-backward mail-order form we lowly artists received from Marvel prior to receiving our original art. The form, a photocopy of which is still in my files, stated that the artist acknowledged the art still and forever belonged to Marvel Comics, along with all rights, in perpetuity, like, forever, man. And that if you signed the release, and mailed it back to Marvel, you might, maybe, get your art back (if you did not sign the form, no artwork; no tikky, no washy).

    Signing the form (as I knew the rules by then; there's a reason I did very, very little work for Marvel Comics in my career), I was pleasured about a month or two later with a package containing "The Blood Bequest" original art, including the Bizarre Adventures #33 back cover painting -- with a fucking hole the size of a quarter punched through the dead center of the painting and the double-page spread splash page. I kid you not. (The only worst treatment my original art ever suffered via a publisher -- other than the outright theft of Saga of the Swamp Thing pages, covers and pinup art from the DC offices -- was via Eclipse Comics, who similarly mangled pages of "Scraps," one of my personal fave stories I retain my copyright to. Sigh.)

    Now, I took the time to not only repair said quarter-sized hole inexplicably rammed through my art, but I also redid major portions of the back cover painting, changing it significantly so that it was no longer Varnae -- the Marvel Varnae -- and was now a slightly new painting, another variation on the primal vampire archetype Steve and I had conceived.

    So, that's what this painting is -- that's what saw print in The Year in Fear calender, and that's the original now on sale.

    * A friend begged me to sell him this painting back in '88 or so, and I reluctantly did. A couple of years later, he was going through some tough times, and chose to put the painting out for sale at a horror convention we both attended; thus, the Primal Vampire at some point found a new home. I've no idea what the route this painting went through might have been, but it somehow ended up with Texas-based Heritage Auctions about three years ago, and my Texas bud and fanzine maestro and cartoonist extraordinaire Jeff Smith (not, as he hastens to add, "the Jeff Smith," of Bone fame) let me know it was going up for online auction.

    Alas, that auction didn't find a buyer for the piece, which prompted me to abandon any and all plans to sell my own original art via online auction venues, if at all or ever, period.

    * Thus, the fate of this painting determined the fate of all my artwork: it stays with me and in the family, bunky, save for those precious few times I'm contacted by serious buyers. I haven't deviated from that decision. In the past decade, there's been only two buyers I've sold to among my circle of friends and associates, and one sale to a stranger that was worth the trouble -- being the last time I sold a page of original art back in the late 1990s. This went to a serious fan and buyer (who, coincidentally, was a writer and on the creative staff for Seinfeld). The price was dear, the sale was worth making, I shared the income with my kids, and I knew the art went to someone who dearly wanted the piece.

    So, here's the deal: This is a rare opportunity, for anyone who cares. You've got until January 18th to
  • bid on this Bissette original art, right here.
  • I've got no stake in this, get nothing for or from it -- but would like to see The Primal Vampire in a new home. I got a new home this year for Christmas, my Primal Vampire deserves a new home.

    Whoever buys/wins this art, and contacts me at, I will send you a signature card you can frame with the art, personalized to you (or, if it's to be a gift to someone else, signed to that gift recipient), which can be framed with the art.

    (Now to get to those sketches (now paintings) I still owe some very patient people... who have been waiting a decade for their sketches/paintings...)

    Have a great weekend!

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