Sunday, September 1, 2013

What Me Worry? Episode II The Brunswick, GA Saga Continues......

            Last week on Ramblings from the Tide: 
Our intrepid blogger drove the arduous 50 minute drive south to St. Simon’s Island to be the guest of a an old college friend as they attend the Jack Davis Retrospective and Panel. See what happens when things stop getting serious and start getting geeky.
 Oh, this also counts as a Photobomb Tuesday. (Yeah, I know it's not Tuesday. I thought we were past all that)

            Ok, so I left off last week where Trotter and I were about to enter the St Simon’s Theatre to see the Jack Davis Tribute Panel. We were patiently waiting outside in the lobby area as the VIPs entered. It was about this time, Nick Meglin walked up. Meglin was a former writer/editor for MAD magazine.

When it comes to celebrities and folks of certain prominence, I’ve always lived by the belief of just walking right up and introducing myself, say thanks for the good work, and beat a hasty retreat. If the celebrity wishes to converse more then we do. If not, I’ve had my moment and got my eventual story to tell. Meglin was in a chatty mood and it was awesome.

I opened the conversation, “Mr. Meglin, I just have to say thanks for all the great work you did at MAD. I can’t express how much MAD had an influence on me growing up and my humor.”

Mr. Meglin didn’t miss a beat,” Oh, I can’t take any blame for that, Sonny. That’s all on you.”

We both laughed. Before I knew it, we were involved in a full fledged conversation as if we were long lost pals. It went so well, the local cable access asked to tape us as we chatted. Meglin had made some joke about getting into trouble reading MAD in school which I said had happened. I also shared how my parents hated me reading MAD as a kid.

“That means we doing something right,” Meglin chuckled and went on to take his seat at the front of the theater.

Meglin, Pittman, Richmond.  Sorry, my cell doesn't have flash
Trotter and I found some decent seats near the front and panel started shortly after. It wasn’t the typical Q&A panel, I’ve attended in the past. The three speakers: Nick Meglin, who’ve we’ve already spoken about. Jack Pittman the former President of the National Cartoonist Society and Tom Richmond, current artist and editor for MAD magazine . Each of the gentlemen spent their time talking not so much about their achievements but on Jack Davis.

By the time it was over, it was quite a well deserved love fest for Jack Davis culminating in the presentation of a scrapbook with congratulatory sketches by some of the top cartoonists in the biz. From our third row seats, Trotter and I could see sketches signed by the current artists for Beetle Bailey, Blondie, and Dick Tracey.

As Mr. Davis exited the building to go across the street for the reception in the art gallery, the panel finally took questions. I asked if anything had ever been banned for being in “too” bad of taste. Richmond talked about having to literally “stop the presses” of the cover issue with Alfred E. Newman running a marathon and breaking the police line tape as if he’d won the race. This cover was coming out the day after 911 and MAD had the foresight to see how a series of crime scenes in NY might not be construed as humorous.

The Gallery who hosted the reception was very nice as were the people. I think what really stood out was the crowd. It was mostly older people but apparently, Davis used to reside here in St. Simon’s so it was more of a reunion with old friends than the art gallery suck ups I was expecting. People were very friendly and that was a good thing because the place was packed.
Trotter brought a copy of his calendar which won the Jack Davis Cup Art Contest and presented Davis with one as a present. Davis is a sweet old guy with horrible hearing so his granddaughter had to do some translating. I got to say the one word which sticks out about Jack Davis is gentleman. He is a true Southern Gentleman and was extremely gracious to everyone who came out form old friends to geeks like Trotter and myself. 
I pondered for a while on what I wanted to get Mr. Davis to sign when it hit me. Remember that Sugar Bowl insert from the 1981AJCI had mentioned? Mr. Davis recognized it and gave a little smile as he signed it to me. It was a bit of a thrill there for me to think a part of my high school memories had been signed by its creator. I just wish I had saved the Southern Bell sticker that I ripped off the pay phone at Six Flags which Davis had illustrated. (I said I was a fan)


Laurel & Hardy. Every YHC Alum should have this pic.....

This was a crowd favorite. It's from the 50s and one of the old EC Horror comics Davis had drawn

Wish I had gotten better shot because you can see Davis's Creative Process. This was a poster for Little Giants.

Probably my favorite of night. One of the few serious paintings on display.
TV Guide Cover from 1979 TV show, Soap.

I honestly don't see how anyone could have the heart to cut this cake....
Same w/ cookies but these were gone by my next round.
I don’t know why I didn’t stop to think the reception would also have food and cocktails but I was quite surprised by the spread. It was catered by donations from of all the local eateries and apparently, these guys are big fans of Jack Davis. I filled up on quite a few of the deviled shrimp and hot wings. The real stand out was the dessert table. This cake, as are the cookies, area all based on caricature self portraits of Davis.

My other favorite of the night was this. It was a combination eye dropper/toothpick loaded up with fresh mozzarella, basil, cherry tomato. The dropper was filled w/ balsamic vinegar which you squeezed as you ate the combo. You have to be careful though. I accidently squirted some down my throat and that was unpleasant as well as attention drawing.
The other artists were also quite approachable. Here is Tom Richmond conversating with
Trotter. I decided to hang back and listen to the two artists speak which was a wise choice because it got interesting. Richmond started telling Trotter the origins of Alfred E. Newman. Apparently it goes back to a dental ad in the late 19th century. Ol’ Alfie was the cover boy for a painless dentistry advertisement.  The “What? Me Worry?” bit was the company slogan.
AS this night began to wind down, People began pairing off and mingling. We bumped into Ryan, who is one of the Dinner4Geeks guys and buddy to our mutual friend Doke. As Trotter, Ryan, and myself began talking, others floated in and out of the fold. Many were thinking we were fellow artists.
I had no idea how many artists resided in St Simons but I had several conversations with them. Ed Hose was a very nice lady and extremely talented.  Please check out her work here. It’s very cool.
With pictures signed, and the crowd dispersing, Phase 3 was about to commence. Trotter and myself were invited to be a part of the Dinner4Geek’s podcast recording that week. The topic was 4 Core Comic Artists. So who did I pick? Find out in the stunning conclusion to the Brunswick Saga.



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