Lost in Alternate Realities

I have spent as many hours as possible sitting in darkened movie theaters lost in alternate realities, and I have loved every moment of it. For a twelve-year-old boy, there was nothing better.

There weren’t many days spent in darkened theaters when I was that age. At age 12 we were living in Pointe Au Baril Station, Ontario. Our village, Pointe Au Baril Station, sits along highway 69 between Parry Sound and Sudbury. It is a small community of 300 people.

It had, and likely still has, a couple of gas stations, a liquor store, two general stores and a few marinas and lodges scattered over the North and South shores. We also had two churches, a small school, a bank, a Royal Canadian Legion Hall, and a privately ran post office/bait shop and a community center that had a few purposes. Dance place, meeting hall, and tourist information center being a few.

For me it’s most important purpose was the Friday night movie. Not quite a darkened theater. Enter the large hall with me. Sit down on a folding chair. There are always enough chairs. The old projector comes to life. The blank wall is filled with wonder.

This is also what comics did for me. I bought my comics at Higman’s Highway Market. Kennedy’s didn’t sell comics. I made my money for comics by cashing in beer bottles. The bottles were redeemed at Wing’s Shell station. No, We didn’t drink the beer … that came later.

With a summer tourist trade estimated at about 2,000 we had a lot of empties to cash in. My brother and I also had a lucrative sideline in frogs. I delivered lunches to construction crews, cut grass, tied boats, and shoveled snow. My younger brother Troy and I sold frogs to the local pool hall owner who sold them to sport fishermen as bait.

The frogs, the bottles, the snow and such helped to fill the blank canvas of a child. A mental landscape filled with Dr. Doom, a blind attorney, a playboy millionaire, and a collection of princesses, orphans, and misunderstood do-gooders. Many of those characters, and their worlds, were given form by Gene Colan.

Gene wasn’t the first artist I admired. At first I liked the cleaner lines of Curt Swan and Dick Dillon. Kirby leaped off the page for me, and then something happened. I found art that resonated. It stayed with me. It seemed to have a depth beyond the page. It flowed. It showed me a world beyond my own, and yet was reflective of that world.

Gene’s (if I may be so familiar) art allowed me to see a bit of wonder in my own reality. I didn’t need to escape as much as search.

Thank you for that clarity.

Passages strange,inevitable and regrettable

It’s completely in your hands where you want to place the items in the brief list I’m about to share with you. Is it a strange, inevitable or regrettable event?

My holiday is coming to an end this week and it seemed that I should make an effort to put words to digital paper. Our holiday was largely unremarkable and for the most part,enjoyable. Wyatt graduated from Kindergarten and will move into the first grade. I will continue for a third year with Singapore National Academy. Tefl Indonesia continues as before, but is in need of agents in North America and Australia.

Heart-breaking news as Adrienne Colan passed away. Adrienne is the wife of Marvel/DC comics artist Gene Colan
I didn’t know Adrienne, nor do I know Gene. I’ve had the pleasure of following Gene’s work over the years and took a moment in 1999 to send a short letter of appreciation. Gene and Adrienne responded. The responses were usually short, but always thoughtful. Over the next few years I sent an occasional note and received an occasional reply.
For Adrienne … Go in peace.

This time of year also marks 12 months since my younger brother Troy passed away. Before this gets too morbid, we were traveling through Central Java, stopping in Solo and Yogyakarta, and I was thinking how much Troy would have enjoyed the place. I’m posting a few pictures over at another site. Stop by and take a look.

All the best,Wayne